Alumna Haley McMurphy Promoted To Associate Technical Designer at Stitch Fix
After Haley McMurphy graduated in 2017 with her degree in Merchandise Product Development, Stitch Fix brought her on as a contractor. Over the last two years the California native has worked her way up to a full-time role as associate technical designer on the menswear team at the innovative brand headquartered in San Francisco. We caught up with her to learn more about her fashion journey.
Take us through a typical day at Stitch Fix: A typical day starts with hunting down and organizing fit samples, and we’ll do a fitting. I manage the men’s knit tops category, so I’ll fit all knit tops on our fit model, and make any fit and design updates after collaborating with product developers and buyers. I build and update tech packs, do a lot of sketching, and work with flat pattern software to tweak any pattern updates. Also, we spend a lot of time checking out client feedback/data, to see what our customer is liking, and what we need to update. I am always sifting through data, whether it be seeing what percentage of size 3XL guys think our sleeves are too short, how many clients refuse to wear hoodies, or what age group loves a slimmer fit tee. There is always something more to discover!
What do you love about working there? I love working for a company that is always innovating and is changing the retail landscape. Stitch Fix is totally changing the way people shop, and it is a company that is really exciting to clients. The great snacks in the kitchen are also a plus!
How do you feel FIDM prepared you for what you are doing now? FIDM definitely prepared me 100% for my current role! After leaving FIDM, I felt I had all the skills I needed to succeed. Even with my current day-to-day, I owe my success to my education with regards to my sketching skills, tech pack creation, customer/market research, and overall perfectionism, organization, and work ethic!
Tell us a little about your fashion career journey: I always knew I wanted to work in fashion. In fact, I remember telling my second grade teacher I wanted to be a fashion designer, after cutting up my stepdad’s leather motorcycle jacket and gluing it into a makeshift purse! My parents always supported my wild fashion ideas, so going to school for fashion was my plan, early on. I’m still always learning—I’ve been taking classes on weekend mornings for the last year and a half at small local schools to even further hone my design and patternmaking skills. Personally, I have always been inspired by anything vintage and alternative. I am always having fun with fashion—whether it be upcycling an old band tee for myself, or doing research at work on how to fit different body types.
Why did you choose FIDM, and your major? Growing up an hour outside of San Francisco, I had heard about FIDM through word of mouth a ton throughout high school. It was in my fashion design ROP class when my teacher suggested it to me, rather than going to a traditional university for fashion. After meeting a few people who went to FIDM, I was really excited about attending. Originally, I was a Fashion Design major. I changed to Merchandise Product Development after a couple of quarters though because I feel it better suited my desire to work for an already established company. PD definitely was the right fit for me when it came to designing for an existing company, by learning how to interpret trends and design in different ways for different brand’s customers. The product development program also helped me expand my technical skills, like participating in fittings and building a really solid, detailed tech pack.
What is your biggest goal right now? My biggest goal right now is to continue learning how to best personalize fashion for everyone. I think personalization is the future of the fashion/retail industry, whether it be with fit, style, etc. The customer has all the power in fashion now, and the more brands can suit every person’s individual needs, the better!
Any advice for current students? Always be open to different kinds of opportunities, and take any chance you can to learn something new!