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What should everyone know about you?
TG: I am a passionate Fashion Designer with an in-depth knowledge of construction, composition and color.  I have extensive experience developing and producing Contemporary, and Young Contemporary Sportswear, Updated Missy, Dresses, and Athleisure.  My background in Merchandising coupled with an MBA in Marketing provides me with a unique approach to the design process.

How would you describe what you do?
I am a Women’s Contemporary Sportswear Designer.  I enjoy and am great at putting a collection together from start to finish. I understand the importance of the new, however I also understand the importance of establishing and maintaining the overall aesthetic of a brand.

Why did you choose to be a designer?
 I loved fashion growing up.  I would look in fashion magazines and want those things instead of the things in the stores that my mom and dad could afford.  So instead of shopping, my mom would take me to the fabric store and I would pick out my fabric and right there design a dress.  My mom would make the outfit.  So I guess I was always a designer!

What steps did you take to become a designer?
 I first received my BS in Fashion design in Merchandising, which combined the business of fashion with cursory view of design.  Formally, I went to Drexel University to learn the technical skills to become a designer.  I also interned at several companies.  Because I knew I wanted to be a sportswear designer, I purposely searched for internships with companies that had sportswear collections.

Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
The best part of my job is seeing people walk the street with clothes on that I personally designed.  Nothing gets better than that!  The most challenging part of my job is getting the product to the consumer for them to buy.  This process is different from company to company and involves many partners.  But if you establish cross functional partners, this too can be done.

If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
 Well, I was a merchandiser and stylist before, so I guess I would go back to being a stylist.  Other than that, I’d probably teach design.  I love this industry so much.  It truly is my first love and I couldn’t imagine not being a part of this world in some way.

How did you get started in design?
 As a stylist, I started by designing clothes for my clients.  When I couldn’t find pieces in the market, I would design the piece for my clients.

What do you like about what you do?
 I love making women look and feel beautiful.

What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
 I think people glamourize fashion.  People think we work in these pristine offices with fabric at our fingertips where we draw all day. They don’t know that we do a little bit of everything.  A little bit of production, a little bit of merchandising, a little bit of sales.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
 I’ve been in the industry in one way or another for 15 years and I’ve been designing for almost 10 years.  10 years from now, I see my-self maybe heading up my own company or teaching new designers.

What sparked your interest in design?
 My mom would watch old Audrey Hepburn movies on Sundays.  One Sunday we watched Funny Face where she was “plucked from obscurity” to become the new face of a famous fashion house.  They showed her traveling to Paris for a major photoshoot.  Everything was so beautiful.  I just wanted to do that!

How has your work evolved since you began your career?
 I think my view of design in the beginning was always centered in making beautiful clothes for real women.  That hasn’t changed.  I just believe that I work much smarter, not harder.

Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
 No.  I love to dress up!  So If it works with the look I’m going for then I wear it.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
 I am fascinated that women are embracing clothing that isn’t always fitted and body-conscious.  They are just wearing beautifully made clothes.  I hope this trend continues.  It will allow for more creative shapes and forms in mainstream design.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
 The biggest lesson is that you never burn your bridges.  When you make your exit, make sure that you have good report when you leave.  This industry is very small and those relationships may be the difference between a job and your dream career.

What advice would you give to young designers?
 Continue to be a student of the industry. Not just studying the runways but studying the business.  It will be your biggest advantage.

Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
 Treat others with kindness and it will be returned to you in kind.

*All photos are courtesy of One Jeanswear Group, except for the photo of the two women in the Red and Black.

Twyla Grider is a Contemporary Women’s Wear Designer.  She has been designing sportswear collections for over 8 years.  Her resume includes designing for such brands as Robert Rodriguez, Jessica Simpson, Tommy Hilfiger and Tracy Reese to name a few.  Twyla’s experience spans several categories making her an expert in building a collection.  she is also an experienced Merchandiser.  Prior to her career in design, she spent 9 years in Apparel Marketing, Merchandising, Styling, Image Consulting, and Retailing. Twyla’s work has been featured in Women’s Wear Daily and O Magazine among other fashion publications.  She has been able to achieve such accomplishments through a keen eye for trends, stellar technical skills, and relationships with cross functional partners. When she isn’t designing, or watching Auburn, Twyla enjoys watching Audrey Hepburn movies.  Her favorite two are Funny Face and Breakfast at Tiffany.  How fitting!

Learn more about Twyla: