Name: Alan Yiu
Title: Founder and Creative Director
Responsibilities: My primary role is designing and developing the men’s collection as well as overseeing the creative direction and strategies relating to the brand and product offering.
What was your path since graduating in 2001? After graduation, I returned to work at the contract manufacturer I was employed at prior to attending FIDM. When work no longer felt meaningful I took the opportunity to work on my business plan, and launched Westcomb at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City in 2005, with the mission statement to enhance human-powered adventures through innovation.
What do you enjoy most about your career and why? I think most of us can agree that seeing product ship to customers is very rewarding as it is the culmination of 16 months of sweat and dedication. Sitting on a ski lift and seeing the guy next to you who isn’t a friend or family member wearing your brand to me is a testament that you did something right. That feeling simply can’t be beaten.
Aside from the end game of selling, the product creation is equally rewarding. Every season you have new materials, new colors, and new objectives. I love the challenge we face as designers to distill a myriad of information from trends, style performance, customer feedback, etc., into a collection that is relevant and delivers on all objectives.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? Prior to attending FIDM I had already worked in the industry for a number of years after my undergraduate degree. One of my greatest frustrations at that time was not having what I viewed as “textbook” knowledge relating to apparel manufacturing. The factory experience while great wasn’t enough for me. Not knowing the proper construction techniques, terminology, and processes left me with a huge learning curve. FIDM was instrumental in bridging that gap.
What are your ultimate career goals? I feel extremely fortunate to have launched my own brand which fulfilled one career aspiration. The next collective goal I share with my team is to have Westcomb recognized as a leading apparel brand recognized for innovation, craftsmanship, and for being manufactured locally.