Recent Footwear Design & Development Graduate Turns Internship Into Design Position at Chinese Laundry
Kamaria Davis has made her childhood dreams of being a footwear designer a reality. The 2019 Grad, who was raised in Conyers, Georgia, a small suburb outside of Atlanta, has earned three degrees from FIDM: Merchandise Product Development, Footwear Design & Development, and her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Industry Studies with a Core in Footwear Design & Development. She turned her internship at Chinese Laundry into a full-time Clerical Design position at the company, and this is just the beginning. We caught up with her to learn more.
What was your path to FIDM? I had dreams of becoming a footwear designer from an early age. Once I entered high school, I started to prepare myself for my future ahead. I studied fashion marketing, graphic design, as well as several business courses. While in my fashion marketing class, I noticed a poster advertising FIDM and the various majors offered. I quickly asked my instructor where she obtained this poster and she suggested I contact the school. I was introduced to an advisor who jump-started my interest in FIDM. The rest is history.
How did you select your major? Unfortunately, there are not many colleges or universities that offer Footwear Design as a major. I was adamant about earning a Bachelor’s degree in my specific field of interest. I decided FIDM was the right choice for me as Footwear Design & Development is offered as a major.
What were some of the most valuable lessons you learned at FIDM? First, apply yourself. The best opportunities are given to those who work hard to earn it. Throughout my attendance at FIDM I won several scholarships and contests simply because I put in the effort needed in order to succeed.
Secondly, do the work for yourself, not for a grade. The grade received is just recognition based on the level of work put into the assignment. What we learn in college is meant to prepare us for the workforce. This concept is easily lost when there is an overwhelming amount of work to be done. While enrolled at FIDM, I continued to keep in mind that I’m here for my personal self-development and not for a grade.
Third, take your time. I do believe meeting deadlines are important. I also believe that mental clarity is important. While at FIDM I learned to balance the two concepts. There were times I stayed up until five o’clock in the morning completing homework assignments. I quickly learned that a lack of sleep is detrimental to mental health and should not be taken into consideration any less than completing an assignment. I have become a more punctual person because of this. I manage my time effectively to meet deadlines as well as take time to clear my mind.
You started at Chinese Laundry as an Design Intern and are now a Clerical Designer. What are your day-to-day responsibilities like? While interning at Chinese Laundry, I was responsible for updating current styles, applying colors and materials to styles, and aiding in CAD design. During design team meetings, we collaborate on trends and how to apply those trends to either existing styles or new designs. Adobe Illustrator is used daily and occasionally Adobe Photoshop is necessary to complete design tasks. Now, in addition to what is detailed above, I also aid in data entry as it pertains to the design team.
What do you love most about working in footwear? There is no better feeling than seeing a completed project online and in-store. The process from idea to a finished shoe is a lengthy process, but it is well worth it. For me, footwear is my canvas. I can freely create and design for a customer’s satisfaction. I love shoes! Everyone does! The idea of having someone fall in love with a shoe that I’ve created gives me the motivation to keep doing what I love.
What are your ultimate career goals? My ultimate career goal is to produce my very own collection. This does not necessarily mean I want to own my own company, but I won’t limit myself to that possibility either. There are several brands that I wish to work for including Jeffrey Campbell, Dolls Kill, Katy Perry Collections, and Irregular Choice. I intend to work for several different companies, all with their own unique sense of design.