DESIGNER PROFILE – CHRIS LEYKAMviews: 0
What should everyone know about you?
CL: I am a footwear and apparel designer with a degree in Industrial and Interaction Design from Syracuse University. I am also an athlete and love staying active. I decided that designing clothing and footwear for like-minded people was the perfect fit my experience and interests.
How would you describe what you do?
CL: I am a freelance footwear and apparel designer.I create trend-relevant and fashionable “athleisure wear” for men and women.I design garments for everyone from the heavy weightlifter to the casual yoga class enthusiast.My clients range from small corporate to start-ups at the very beginning of their growth but have big plans and great ideas.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
CL: Ever since I was a kid, I loved drawing, painting, sculpting, and build. I need to create things with my hands and designer seemed like the perfect way to do what I love while creating useful objects that people could buy and enjoy.
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
CL: I have a steady group of clients I work with year round. But there are a lot of times when I am doing work for totally new clients. I have to first learn about my client and develop a relationship with them. But I then have to design for their brand at the same time. Its challenging but exciting as well because each time the learning curve creates different formulas and variables and out of that comes totally unique product.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
CL: Astronaut, set designer, or a Disney character at the parks.
How did you get started in design?
CL: My mother was an artist and art teacher. She would encourage my art and to always try to be creative.
What do you like about what you do?
CL: Wearing the products I designed.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
CL: When I say I design fashion they may automatically think dresses and heels.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
CL: Doing the same thing but honing my skills a bit more. Maybe have my own line as well.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
CL: I started doing athletic footwear at New Balance as an intern. I worked at Rockport for 3 years where I learned about mens dress and dress casual shoes. I am now doing a mixture of both but in the process I took on apparel and am combining the two disciplines in my services.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
CL: Learn from your mistakes fast, don’t make them again. But definitely keep making mistakes because that’s the quickest way to learn. As a designer, I am learning the value of standing behind your work. You need to market yourself all of the time to keep getting work and for people to notice you.
What advice would you give to young designers?
CL: Don’t be afraid of being crazy or different in your discipline. You can always tone it down or bring it back a little to be commercial but its the crazy and different that give a product its uniqueness and its soul.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
CL: Continue growing as a freelancer and hopefully working with some bigger corporate labels in either footwear or apparel.
What’s your motto?
CL: Daydreaming is productive and sleeping is a minor inconvenience.
Chris is a footwear and apparel designer with over 5 years of experience. His clients range from small corporations to start ups at the beginning of their growth with big plans and great ideas. He has a passion for sketching footwear and apparel. He primarily uses multi-colored inks with dip pens and photoshop as his medium. He has worked for New Balance, Rockport, Inpulse Active, and Hollow Rock.