Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
I’ve always loved fashion. I’m intrigued by how clothing can quickly transform a person’s appearance and mood. I chose Ryerson because I wanted a university experience with academic courses, while pursuing a design-based career.
Tell us a little bit more about what you do as a Design Assistant at Lululemon Athletica and the responsibilities your job entails.
The role of a Design Assistant at lululemon is to support the designers throughout the entire process of creating new garments. The work varies from administrative tasks, such as taking notes during fittings, to creative ones, such as research and mockup development. Design Assistants are also responsible for familiarizing themselves with lululemon’s fabrics, aesthetics, design methods and processes, and computer programs. This knowledge equips them to successful design their own styles as a Junior Designer.
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing your job and field?
Ryerson taught me the technical skills of design – pattern drafting, construction, computer programs and so on. This foundation is so important for design positions in any apparel company. I also learned a great deal about the design process from start to finish, including market research, sketching and execution. I consistently use this knowledge in my current role. Finally, I developed a strong work ethic from all those late nights! I always knew I wanted to pursue a career at lululemon. I admire the company’s commitment to quality and innovation in product, as well as their commitment to the importance of community, fitness and overall well-being.
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would change about your time at Ryerson Fashion?
If I had to do it again, I would take knitwear as an elective. I consistently work with them now and I did not have much opportunity to explore knits in the main design courses.
What does a day in the life of Amanda McGroarty look like?
I have definitely taken advantage of living in beautiful Vancouver! When I am not at work, I’m often hiking in the local mountains or biking along the Seawall. Spending time in nature keeps me grounded. I also love to cook healthy meals and practice yoga.
What do you find are the most enjoyable and challenging parts of your job?
My team is amazing; it’s inspiring to work with supportive and creative people everyday. I also love working on Illustrator – which is good because that’s where I currently spend most of my time! The most challenging aspect of my position, as with any design role, is the subjective nature of it. It can be discouraging when others don’t like your ideas, but so great when they do! You need to be able to handle constructive criticism, while believing in yourself.
Do you have an area of expertise or research you want to grow and learn about?
I’m interested in learning more about product development. Product developers are responsible for bringing the designers’ ideas to life. They look at design through a technical lens and figure out the best way to execute a garment from start to finish.
What is your favorite part about working in the Fashion industry?
My favourite part about working in the fashion industry, and specifically in athletic wear, is the innovation in technology and fabrics. New technology, such as laser cutting, embossing, and bonding, provides designers with unique tools and greater opportunity for creativity. Innovation in textiles continually advances products. This can transform a simple jacket into one that is water resistant, reflective or anti-stink. I’m very excited to see where these innovations are headed!
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in working with athletic wear?
Athletic wear is a combination of fashion, function and fit. For example, mesh paneling can be used to add texture and visual interest to a garment, while increasing ventilation for rigorous workouts. As well, besides looking stylish, the pieces must feel good on the body to provide maximum comfort.