At the age of 3 Deborah knew that she was going to be an artist. Having always been encouraged to pursue her talent by her family, teachers and friends, while growing up.
She took private art lessons since she was about 10 years old studying; color theory, nude drawing, painting, and print making lessons that she absolutely loved.
In her family they often went to Gallery openings, Craft Fairs, and Museums. The first Museum she remember was The Met, she was 3 or 4 at the time and felt so in heaven.
By the time she was ready for collage she had decided to attend College for Creative Studies. One of the first Arts and Crafts movement private colleges in the country. She majored in Textiles and Minored in Metals. It was a fantastic experience, but she felt a need to travel so took a couple of years off and traveled through Europe, tantalized by the history, arts, and culture.
Upon her return, she transferred to University of Michigan to finish my B of A. As soon as she graduated she moved to NYC and began her career…
What should everyone know about you?
DG: My career began in New York City working as a colorist for a leading domestic textile mill. I was later recruited by the largest vertical print house in Los Angles and was relocated here. My career has spanned over 25 years, having designed textiles mainly for the garment industry that have been produced worldwide; China, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Egypt as well as America. I have also deigned textiles for upholstery, area rugs, hosiery, towels and bedding.
How would you describe what you do?
DG: I start designing my lines by doing vast amounts of trend research. I take into consideration media apps, haute couture shows, advertising, retail, even music festivals. This leads to my making trend boards, per season and delivery. I take my boards to my main client base to get feedback as well as discussing the themes and colors that I will be utilizing for my line. I then break down the categories (florals, ethnics, geo’s, etc.) and begin designing…I started in the industry old school drawing and painting, now I do all of my designing in Photoshop and Ned Graphics.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
DG: I have known that I am an artist since I was 3 years old. I come from 3 generations of artists, literally growing up inn galleries and museums. Too, the maternal side of my family are huge collectors of haute couture. I would say that I am genetically predisposed to being a designer.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
DG: I attended Center for Creative Studies (now College for Creative Studies) in Detroit, missing my first day to attend my high school graduation. They did not offer a major in clothing design, so I decided to major in textiles with a minor in metals. I took a couple of years off to travel Europe before transferring to University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Upon graduation I moved to New York City to start my career.
Best/Most Challenging part of your job?
DG: The best part of my job is that I am paid to draw and color all day. Thinking about shapes, color theory, and balance of each design. The most challenging aspect is crazy tight deadlines that forces me to work at a furious pace.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
DG: If I weren’t a designer I would live on a farm, I really love animals and gardening.
How did you get started in design?
DG: I was fortunately hired by my mentor Acharee Apibunyopus who was the stylist in the confined division for Lida, Inc. We worked with all of the top designers in New York City; Betsey Johnson, Calvin Klein, Perry Ellis…She literally taught me everything about textile design, coloring, mill direction, strike-off corrections. I owe so much to her.
What do you like about what you do?
DG: I love when designing how it all seems to magically come together, from a concept to a beautiful final design that I look forward to making many color-ways with.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
DG: First that someone actually designs textiles! So many people not in the industry just don’t even think it’s a vocation and I am asked how I do it.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
DG: Ideally running my own textile company.
What sparked your interest in design?
DG: My love of fashion and fine art.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
DG: I started out drawing or transferring existing designs on to Bristol and painting with gauche or luma dyes. I was horrible! I was nervous so my hand would tremble. I really am grateful that my boss saw some potential in me! I later became a head stylist and art director. I love mentoring younger designers and encouraging them when they aren’t sure about a project. I also design alongside them, now primarily using Photoshop and Ned Graphics (both self-taught).
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
DG: I have to admit that I have an exceedingly high taste level so generally I avoid mainstream brands.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
DG: I am fascinated with haute couture, a few houses in particular: Etro, Cavalli, Alberta Feretti, Chloe, YSL, Gucci…I could go on, but these labels are the ones that I covet the most. I take inspiration from there runways and utilize their themes in my collections.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
What advice would you give to young designers?
DG: Listen and believe in yourself.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
DG: Unionizing our industry. It’s a dirty little secret that most designers are not treated with dignity. In most cases not given health insurance, paid sick days, or paid vacations while we make the owners of the convertors millions upon millions with our talent.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
DG: If you call being hyper organized a superstition, that would be it.
What’s your motto?
DG: Walk the talk
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