StylePortfolios: Alyssa Kaplan
What is your employment status?
AK: Employed full time by Farallon Brands, freelancer on nights & weekends
What is your official job title?
AK: Senior Designer
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
AK: A fast-working design superhero with a strong emphasis on nursery/kids/teen bedding and apparel.
Describe what you do?
AK: Using current trend and color information, I design prints and placements for mid-tier, OPP and Australian markets at mass retail. I work primarily in Illustrator to develop a main theme with supportive coordinate prints and match back accessories.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
AK: Even as a kid I always expressed myself through color and creativity. (Much to the dismay of my pharmacist father, who hoped I would follow in his footsteps) Sorry Dad!
What steps did you take to become a designer?
AK: I took every possible art elective in high school, then majored in Illustration at Syracuse University’s School of Visual and Performing Arts.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
AK: Having been in the nursery decor industry for 17 years, coming up with innovate ways to illustrate the same core themes can be a challenge. I have probably drawn over 500 elephants!
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
AK: A museum curator or an event planner
How did you get started in design?
AK: My program at school had a strong emphasis on painting, it was right before things went really digital. I taught myself Illustrator and focused most of my senior portfolio projects to vector based art. All my professors thought I was crazy, but I was the 1st one to get a job after graduation!
What do you like about what you do?
AK: I draw cute animals and witty puns for a living, the R&D aspect is always a good time. When I get to see thousands of customers enjoying my designs that’s especially rewarding.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
AK: Some assume I just wave a magic wand and perfectly finished artwork appears. But it’s definitely a more detailed process.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AK: I would love to still be doing this. I’m very interested in exploring the pet accessories market. I think as long as I stay current with new software my skill set is relevant in a variety of creative platforms.
What sparked your interest in design?
AK: Good design appears effortless and fluid, but anyone who’s ever tried their hand at creativity knows that its a sometimes messy, complicated, beautiful cycle. I love being involved in the process from A to Z.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
AK: I hope so! My art style has always leaned toward bold and graphic, which is well suited for the kids market. I’ve dabbled in women’s sleepwear and handbag prints, which are a bit more sophisticated. Having traveled overseas to China many times, I also have a better understanding of the manufacturing process – which I try to intentionally design into.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
AK: I gravitate toward skate & surf brands more so than flowery, ruffly bohemian looks.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
AK: In the past, trends for kids were very literal: teddy bears, trucks, butterflies & zoo animals. I’m loving the newer icons: sloths, unicorns, succulents, llamas. It’s so fun to get to draw those, and even more fun that buyers are choosing them for their lines!
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
AK: Mass retail can be a little slower to adapt to very trend-forward concepts. Sometimes you create an amazing design and it doesn’t go into production. Womp womp.
What advice would you give to young designers?
AK: Learn how to use the basic design tools well. Watch tutorials. With a solid foundation of how use a program, you can really work on anything that’s thrown your way.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
AK: My Etsy shop, which I’ve had for 5 years, is currently closed due to the pandemic. I make paper party decorations, which has been a nice change of scenery from my daily textile based career. I am looking forward to re-opening the shop once people start having parties again.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
AK: Just good karma, and don’t litter.
What’s your motto?
AK: Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight
Senior Textile Designer with with a strong emphasis on infant apparel, and nursery/kids bedding and accessories. Designs for mid-tier, OPP and Australian markets at mass retail. Deeply involved in entire design process: trend board & inspiration, line sheets, planograms and POS displays, tech spec packets, etc. Great eye for the juvi market and solid foundation of industry experience.