After a couple of years into my first job, I started to crave the opportunity to challenge myself in a new department. While Outerwear felt like a pinnacle product to help create for the iconic brand, I was acutely aware of the risk I was taking by pigeonholing myself into this niche. Many brands don’t even offer Outerwear garments, and if I wanted further opportunities in the industry, I knew I needed to branch out.
At the time at ANF, our “sister” team under the same technical design management group was the denim department. I started to ask about a transfer to their team, but knew it would take some time to figure out the transition. A natural intermediate step for me to take then was to have a hand in creating some denim jackets. I’d get the chance to learn more about this versatile fabric while sticking to my department and current set of skills. It felt like a perfect match.
The best part of working with denim is learning about the hundreds of creative ways to give the fabric some personality. You can abrade denim, bleach it, sand it, paint it, wash it in countless ways and bring it to threadbare patches (to name just a few techniques). Our Research and Development building at the New Albany campus had ways for us to experiment and try any and all of it! We had so much fun working with the teams in R&D to come up with each garment’s unique denim treatment.
As I became better in these methods and started to show my creativity to the group, I was given the opportunity to help with the Hollister and kids’ denim jacket projects as well. They were all wonderful collaborations with the lead technical designers of each brand’s Outerwear line, and this was an amazing time in my career to learn from so many talented women around me.
Just as my transfer was about to go through to the denim bottoms team, I ended up leaving Abercrombie for my next opportunity. It always felt like my career could have been such a happy one if I’d stayed and grew within the ANF family. But my husband and I always wanted to live outside of Ohio, and that was a dream we prioritized after our first few years together. Luckily, in my next role at Fossil, I had ample opportunities to continue my education in denim and even more.