Why did you decide to attend the Fashion Program at Ryerson?
My interest in fashion design spurred at the age of 3 when I realized my Barbie dolls were in desperate need of a new wardrobe. I had pursued visual art and design all throughout elementary school and high school until my instinct and research led me to believe that the Ryerson Fashion Program would be the right fit for the development of a design career. Fast-forward four years since graduation and I couldn’t be happier with my decision!
How did your academic experience at Ryerson help you with getting to where you are today? What led to your interest in pursuing Design?
The professors at Ryerson have been very supportive and knowledgeable in their area of expertise, so I got to spend a lot of one-on-one time learning the right techniques to perfect my sewing, drafting, graphic design, marketing, and illustration skills. I learned all of the different elements that make up the fashion industry, including some of the programs that I now use on a daily basis. Many schools do not have access to the type of technology that we were exposed to, so I am grateful to have acquired this knowledge first-hand. Luckily, Abercrombie & Fitch’s partnership with the school led me to their in-house technical design information session, which eventually ended up in an exciting work opportunity only a month after graduating with my Bachelor of Design. The decision to accept the job was impulsive and very clear at the time. When it comes to stepping foot into such a competitive industry, I considered myself quite lucky to score a position right out of school. Even luckier, I still love what I do to this day!
If you had to do it all over again, what would you change about your time here at Ryerson and why?
If I could re-live my experience at Ryerson I would come prepared with a more organized action plan to keep better track of my timelines. Much of the work I do now revolves around the concept of prioritizing tasks, well-kept notes, and keeping record of useful resources to help facilitate a busy workday. In school I had a habit of jumping from one project to another and my thoughts would become too scattered to pace myself and complete my work efficiently. Being more organized could have reduced a lot of the unnecessary stress and mistakes that came with the territory of getting much too close to running out of time.
What does a day in the life of Andra Bogdan look like?
I begin my workday with an early commute towards the Abercrombie & Fitch campus, which averages at 25 minutes give or take. The earlier the better, as I like to squeeze in a quick workout and freshen up before reaching my desk. The 9 AM scene is casual and pleasant: most people are ready to chat about the day ahead and tackle their list of priorities. At A&F we stress the importance of teamwork; the workload can be heavy and overwhelming at times and communication is a key factor in successfully carrying out what we’re set to achieve. I am primarily responsible for the development of technical packets and digital patterns to be provided to our vendor partners. My design and merchandising counterparts provide me with the conceptual and costing information I need in order to determine how a garment should be made. Our environment is relaxed but the work itself is fast paced–we are trained to multitask and communicate efficiently in the interest of simultaneously overseeing all of the different production stages of multiple seasons.
What is your favorite part about your job?
The people! The physical environment! The enthusiasm. These three aspects of my job often make work feel like play and keep me eager to show up and do the best that I can every day. As it turns out, Columbus is a very lively & youthful city filled with many diversely artistic people, so having these things in common makes it extremely easy to be more social and adventurous inside and outside of work.
Do you have an area of expertise you want to grow and learn about?
The more I learn about other areas of fashion design, the more I’d like to dabble in creative design and see how far my creativity can stretch. In technical design, I have many opportunities to solve puzzles–it is my responsibility to figure out the most efficient and production-friendly way of translating a garment design into the real life prototype. This requires day-to-day usage of mathematical equations, organization, and common sense, but I’d be interested in perhaps conceptualizing these designs someday and learning what the back work and research process entails.
What is your favorite part about working in the Fashion industry?
My favorite aspect of working in the fashion industry as I know it is that it never becomes mundane. Technical design isn’t just the relationship between a computer program and myself; it is a web of communication between my technical design team and our merchandising, design, sourcing, and vendor counterparts. We always work in unison to achieve the ultimate goal whether it is developing one particular garment or foreshadowing an entire season’s worth of garments.
What advice would you give a fashion student interested in Technical Design?
With the skills and knowledge you gain during the technical design program, you can fluidly adapt and morph to the various requirements of different jobs so long as you have the confidence and willingness to learn. Adaptation is key because different companies require similar skills and knowledge for the same position, but they may have different approaches to how this knowledge is used and communicated. I will also say that emotional intelligence is a crucial determining factor between receiving an offer and facing a rejection. Many employers nowadays prefer to observe how apt candidates are to cooperate, can effectively communicate with others, and can display the kind of problem solving skills that will keep them sharp and resourceful in such a fast paced environment.