Monique Lhuillier Senior Fit Technician and FIDM Grad Paige Rangel visited the Los Angeles campus recently as a guest speaker for the Premiere Product Development Group, an elite group of FIDM Students with access to special guest speakers.
With a B.A. degree in Communications and Business from Arizona State, Paige Rangel came to FIDM to pursue the Professional Designation degree in Merchandise Product Development. She worked in retail during the one-year program at FIDM, telling the students that she didn't have time for an internship but she wishes she did. She encouraged all of them to do an internship if they can.
When she graduated, she started looking for work and landed her first job as a design assistant at the U.S. Apparel Group, a company that specializes in licensed apparel. It was there where she realized she really enjoyed technical design. She loved writing the fit comments. In fact, a fit model informed her about a job opportunity at Robert Rodriguez. Paige inquired about the position and was hired as their technical designer.
Soon thereafter, Robert Rodriguez was acquired by The Jones Group, and Paige was promoted to managing the work of four technical designers. She found that she was moving away from doing fit comments, and moving more in the direction of management. She worked there for four years, and she said she loved it, but once Jones bought them the environment shifted into more of corporate atmosphere, and she found that it wasn't for her anymore.
Through the Apparel News, Paige found out about an opportunity at Monique Lhuillier. She submitted her resume, interviewed, and was hired. She's been working there now for two years and loves it.
When asked what she looks for in technical design new hire, she joked and said, "Someone who does NOT want to be a designer," making the point that technical design is not about creative design but about coming up with creative solutions. She said she looks for problem solvers and motivated candidates.
Monique Lhuillier is a small company located in downtown Los Angeles. It's only herself, an assistant, and six pattern makers. There is no factory in China. Paige said they make everything downtown.
She explained to the students that once the design team is finished with a line, they walk the runway with it or do a presentation. The line comes back to the pre-production team. All photos and notes are taken, then the tech packs are then set up. Once that's finished, then they start on patterns. Paige uses the pattern and creates the garment in muslin first. She tries to keep each garment to three fittings, with an objective of getting a perfect sew by sample.
Paige goes to every single fitting and all the production meetings. "I babysit these samples until they're perfect," she said.
Finally, Paige presents the final sew by sample to Monique Lhuillier.
The students flooded Paige with questions about the industry and the challenges and rewarding parts of her career. The meeting ended with networking and the exchange of business cards.
Read more about FIDM Grad Paige Rangel on her blog: The Love Designed Life.