Cool Job Alert: Our Senior Design Director Takes You Behind-the-Seams
Last month, we gave you a look at the day-to-day of our Associate Print Designer, Aasha, who brings her passion for fine art to life on beautiful bebe dresses. This month, we’d like you to meet our Senior Design Director, Sue! Who is: (1) insanely talented (she’s previously worked alongside Alexander McQueen), (2) seriously awesome (she hails from the capital of cool—London, England), and (3) she’s got a workspace that’s just as inspiring as her personal style (that is, if you dig fashion tears, color swatches and racks and racks of clothes).
Here, Sue takes us on a tour around her digs on the 2nd floor of our LA Design Studio + gives you the dirt on everything from a typical day in the life of a Design Director to what you can do now to make it to the top of the fashion world yourself…
TITLE: Senior Design Director
STYLUST: Who do you work closely with on a regular basis?
SUE: As head designer at bebe I oversee the 18 designers on our design team. I work closely with them, as well as our VP, CEO and President. I also work daily with our R and D department (fabric and print development) as well as production, plus our in-house sample and pattern room (which we are very lucky to have).
STYLUST: What school did you go to and what degree(s) did you obtain?
SUE: I obtained a first class honors BA degree in Fashion Design from the University of East London—I’m British.
STYLUST: How did you get your start in design?
SUE: My first job after graduating was at Ghost in London, where I had previously interned. I then moved to New York to work for Daryl K and became head designer at Tocca. I also freelanced for Alexander McQueen before setting up my own namesake label in 2005. My first big break launching my line was designing a dress that Kate Moss wore to her 30th birthday lunch… And I became a member of the CFDA in 2008.
STYLUST: What exactly do you do now? Describe a typical day.
SUE: No day is ever the same at bebe! We work in a really fast paced environment, which I love. We’re currently designing Fall 2 (which will be in stores this September), receiving our samples from Fall 1, and conceptualizing for Holiday 2011.
STYLUST: What’s the best part of your job?
SUE: The best part of my job is when people are excited about our designs. Also, seeing girls wear our clothes really well and looking great in them.
STYLUST: Tell us about a few of your favorite designs for spring, and why they stand out to you.
SUE: This champagne silk jumpsuit, inspired by 70’s Halston, is so cool on. It’s super-chic yet easy to wear at at the same time. Then, the madame butterfly print is one of my personal favorites. It was a nightmare getting the colors just right, but worth it in the end! Lastly, I love this handkerchief hem dress—it’s an update to one of our Spring ‘11 runway looks and it looks really new and fresh. The hemline is an important trend for spring.
Below, from left: (1) Silk Halter Jumpsuit, $139, SKU # 176689; (2) Silk Butterfly Drape Maxi, $149, SKU # 176540; (2) Swiss Dotted Lace Trim Dress, $149, SKU #174636. Click to shop.
STYLUST: Do you have any parting advice to share with aspiring designers?
SUE: I would advise any aspiring designers to get a couple of great internships—industry experience is invaluable, plus it often leads to a job. Also, get as involved in the fashion world as possible… Read all the magazines, the fashion blogs and websites, go shopping, look at vintage, research fashion history, and be out and about!
Have any questions for Sue or requests for future job profiles? Comment and ask away!