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Advertising (now Integrated Strategic Communication)
Fort Campbell, KY
Senior Global Creative Director at Under Armour
Top played song on your playlist?:
Suedehead by Morrissey
Where has your CI degree taken you?:
Immediately after graduating, I started working at Saybrook Advertising in Lexington where I designed print ads for mostly equine clients. From there, I was lucky enough to work at The J. Peterman Company (also in Lexington) designing and laying out the catalogs. This first taste of the apparel business was when I realized I wanted to stay in this specific field.
I eventually moved to Columbus, OH to work for Abercrombie & Fitch as the In-Store Marketing Designer. I designed store signage, shopping bags, fragrance packaging, etc. While in this job, I sat in the same area as the t-shirt graphic designers. I absorbed as much as I could about what they did in their day-to-day and eventually began contributing in that realm by designing graphics and providing inspiration reports (competitor research and market trend analysis). Taking this on (on top of my already busy job and without even being asked to) would prove to be a wise decision.
After four years there, I moved to Los Angeles to work for a company that catered to a wide range of apparel brands. It was here, through work connections, that I was able to meet and collaborate with Justin Timberlake to help launch his clothing line, William Rast. After about two years in LA, the HR director at Abercrombie called and asked if I would be interested in coming back. They were looking for a concept designer for graphics and he said that my name kept coming up as a potential candidate. This all stems from my first stint when I put together those inspiration reports for the graphics teams. I had the choice of staying in LA or moving to NY. Since I had never lived in NY and always wanted to, I chose NY.
I spent the next three and a half years in NY as the Senior Concept Designer for all Abercrombie brands [A&F, kids, Hollister, Ruehl (RIP), & Gilly Hicks (RIP)]. In this job, I was solely focused on graphics; setting the seasonal tone and voice for the graphic language.
In 2008, I was hired by Converse (owned by Nike) to be the Director of Apparel Concept Design. I worked with the VP of Apparel Design and the Design Directors to lay the foundation for what our apparel would look like each season. My focus was on all key categories; men's/women's, knits, wovens, denim, outerwear, dresses, etc.
In 2012, the company asked if I would take over the graphics departments to help inject newness into the line and to help bring some cohesion between apparel, footwear and brand design. It is quite common for people at Converse/Nike to transition into different jobs within the company. It helps to make everyone more well-rounded, as you can imagine. Around the end of 2012, the brand design team had been without a Design Director for e-commerce for almost a year and a half. I was approached and asked if I had any interest in taking on that role. I had never done e-commerce design and was told that it was not an issue. More importantly for the company, I understood the consumer and the brand voice. I've always believed that you grow by taking on things you don't understand. It helps to keep you from being stagnant and comfortable. I jumped in with both feet and never looked back.
In 2014, the same HR director who approached me in LA (he has his own recruiting firm now) called again with another potential opportunity: Under Armour. A brand I had my eye on for many years. A brand that only had one way to go: Up. I've been here for about a year and could not be happier.
What is your favorite thing about your job?:
The limitless potential to build a world class design team, grow the company and inspire others to create and innovate.
What¹s the most valuable thing you learned in CI?:
Without question, working as a team and collaborating on creative solutions. Ideas can come from anyone and anywhere. I have a meeting with my team every week and I ask every single person (from Designer 1 to Art Director) to show me something that inspires them. It could be a competitor website design interaction, how they shot their apparel laydowns, a movie, sound design, furniture design. Anything design related. It's all interconnected at the end of the day.
What advice would you give to current CI students?:
Adapt. When someone asks for your help, even if they ask you to do something you're unsure you can do, try. Become someone that people can rely on to get things done, no matter what. If it helps you grow your repertoire, take it on. Don't be a one-trick pony. Stay hungry.
Never, ever burn a bridge. You never know when you may need a favor from someone.
And always believe in your ability to change the future.