DESIGNER PROFILE – Laura Benderviews: 0
What is your employment status?
LB: Employed full time at Jakett, and doing freelance technical design as a side hustle
What is your official job title?
LB: Designer / Technical Designer
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
LB: I am a fashion and technical designer specializing in leather jackets and other sportswear for the young contemporary, contemporary, and updated missy markets, with experience in cut and sew knits, sweaters, and wovens for the missy, junior, and children’s markets.
Describe what you do?
LB: I am responsible for the design and technical design of 4 lines of leather and suede jackets and other leather sportswear, from initial trend research through fit approval for production.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
LB: I’ve always been interested in solving complex challenges and figuring out how things are made.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
LB: I got a BFA in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and interned in the design studio of the textiles and apparel department of Bangladesh’s largest conglomerate company, Beximco. Early in my career, I worked as an assistant designer, and then as a technical designer, doing freelance technical design on the side, until I was able to transition to my current job which combines both design and technical design.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
LB: The best part of my job is developing new styles and really thinking through every minute detail of a new style.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
LB: If I weren’t working in fashion, I’d be designing pet apparel and products, and if I weren’t a designer, I’d be a researcher in either sociology or psychology.
How did you get started in design?
LB: My first internship after college was designing samples for a fully vertical apparel and textiles factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh that specialized in denim.
What do you like about what you do?
LB: The magic of seeing your ideas come to life and become tangible objects never really fades away.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
LB: People have a very romanticized view of fashion design – the reality is that you spend much more time with excel spread sheets than a sketchbook.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
LB: I would love to have my own line of pet products and apparel.
What sparked your interest in design?
LB: I was initially horrified to get ‘fashion designer’ as my top result on a career aptitude test in 8th grade, but when I got honest with myself and realized that I had spent years sewing, upcycling thrift store finds, and sketching looks, I realized that fashion might be a good fit for me after all.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
LB: With more experience comes more creativity and a greater willingness to think outside the box. I’m also more confident in owning my design decisions.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
LB: I have strong features and a bit of a sallow complexion, so I avoid wearing white, warm neutrals, or pastels. Bold colors, rich jewel tones, and graphic black suit me much better.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
LB: Lately, I’ve been reflecting a lot on how heavily fashion has “borrowed” from the dress of working class and blue collar people, while often alienating them as a customer base.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
LB: Not to be afraid to advocate for myself, my work, and my colleagues.
What advice would you give to young designers?
LB: Get paid for your work. Do your research and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and your worth.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
LB: I’d like to expand my portfolio with more personal projects, and fine-tune my 3-D design skills.
What’s your motto?
LB: Everything you learn has a purpose. Everything you do affects everything and everyone else.
Laura Elizabeth Bender is a fashion and technical designer specializing in leather jackets and other sportswear for the contemporary, young contemporary, and updated missy markets, with experience in wovens, sweaters, and cut and sew knits for the women’s, junior’s, and children’s markets. Originally from Clearwater, MN, Laura earned her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and interned in the apparel and textiles division of Beximco, Bangladesh’s largest conglomerate company, before moving to New York to begin her design career. When she’s not working, Laura enjoys fiber crafts of all kinds (knitting, weaving, sewing, and fabric marbling, especially), listening to podcasts, and falling in love with every dog that crosses her path.