StylePortfolios: Amy Stein
What is your employment status?
What is your official job title?
AS: Creative Design Partner
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
AS: Over the past 15 years, I have owned and managed an independent design business based in NYC which has grown and diversified as I, myself, have transformed and evolved. Originally a graphic designer for clients in education, style and well-being, the desire to transition from digital to physical design prompted me to study fashion where I soon became proficient in garment construction, textile design, tech specs and fashion illustration. Today, I combine a mindfulness approach with an arts-based background to offer creative concepts for clients in the womenswear and youth markets.
Describe what you do?
AS: As a creative partner for my style clients, I provide original artwork for print and pattern needs, apparel and accessory designs for single products to full collections, digital and traditional fashion illustrations and technical specs for production. In addition, I am currently working on an accessories and apparel collection for my own personal brand, Waking Rain.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
AS: From a very young age, I’ve always observed the world. Over time, I acquired the tools and education necessary to interpret those observations and quickly realized that visual art would be the best vehicle to express myself. I am an ideas person, an Aquarius, and for me, there is no limit to the possibilities of creating something from nothing.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
AS: Throughout my early education, I was involved in every art class and project that I could get my hands on. When it came time to go to college, like many, I could not afford a four-year university. Nevertheless, I went on from high school to earn a two-year degree in graphic design at a local community college while working to pay for my tuition. Learning to multi-task, balance responsibilities, and discipline myself through this experience, I secured my own financing and ultimately enrolled in the BFA program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts of Tufts University in Boston. Upon completing my degree with concentration in fine arts and graphic design, I moved to New York to pursue a successful career in digital design. Years into developing a stable consultant business, I began to consider how my 2D skills could translate into 3D space. Having always been fascinated by the human body and theater, learning “fashion” seemed like a natural next step for me to evolve as a designer. I completed my AAS degree in apparel at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and have been excited to design wearable art ever since.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
AS: For me, the best part of my business is the relationships that form as a result of longer-term collaborations. Clients challenge me to think differently and I encourage them to do the same. The most challenging part of being in a creative profession is feeling personally satisfied with your work and knowing it expresses something meaningful to your customer.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
AS: Nothing is more complicated than the human body and I’ve always been curious about what is on the surface and what lies below. If I couldn’t create physical designs, I would focus more on internal work and develop my interests in natural medicine and spiritual practice.
What do you like about what you do?
AS: I like that each day is never the same. There is always something new that needs to be created or a conflict that needs to be addressed and for me, I like the challenges. I don’t know what it’s like to be bored.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
AS: I think many people believe that being a creative professional is simply fun or easy to do. On the contrary, most times the job requires long hours, consistent pressure and these days especially, having adequate time to create is not something many of us are afforded. You have to have a great deal of stamina and intuition to enter a creative field and I think that is something many prospective designers don’t realize.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AS: In ten years, I see myself as a proud mama and the woman behind a brand that encompasses the whole person…mind, body and spirit.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
AS: When I started out, I was driven by competition, financial need, and designing anything for any brand that would result in having something good for my portfolio. The nature of my education taught me to be flexible and one of my greatest strengths is being able to generate endless ideas to solve design challenges. Where I have noticed my greatest personal evolution, however, is in being mindful of what I put out into the world. Visual imagery has greater impact today than ever and I feel a great responsibility to produce quality work that exudes positive influence.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
AS: Exploring the healing practices of various cultures greatly influences me personally and creatively. My work is deeply driven by the notions of balance and contrast and how these concepts influence one another. With every project, I challenge myself to create harmony by working with opposites in color, texture, shape or pattern.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
AS: One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned over time is to be willing to listen. As creatives, we spend a great deal of time trying to express ourselves and be heard but we can’t forget to listen as well. When we listen, we learn and great designers never stop learning.
What advice would you give to young designers?
AS: I have been a mentor and a teacher throughout my career and the one thing I always tell someone starting out is this: Be someone that someone else wants to spend time with! Many people have talent, skills and experience but the one thing my clients have always said is that I was a pleasure to spend time with throughout a collaboration. That simple concept has powered my career from day one and is my greatest secret to success.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
AS: The world is experiencing a great deal of pain and the only thing I can hope for by the end of the year at the moment is for all people to experience peace and health.
Are you superstitious or do you have any rules you live by?
AS: From day to day, I try to trust the universe and welcome the challenges of life as much as the joys. It isn’t always easy to do. Haha!
What’s your motto?
AS: Everything is always the way it should be.
Managing my own creative business for over 15 years has afforded me the specialized skills to design for a wide range of media. Originally a graphic designer for clients in education, style and well being, the desire to transition from digital to physical design prompted me to study fashion where I soon became proficient in garment construction, textile design, tech specs and illustration. Today, as a creative partner for my style clients, I provide original artwork for print and pattern needs, apparel and accessory designs for single products to full collections, digital and traditional fashion illustrations and technical specs for production. I combine an arts-based background with a mindful approach towards fashion and my previous clients would say that I am reliable, forward-thinking and push creative boundaries. I am incredibly proud to say that my first-time clients almost always return and evolve into long-lasting collaborators!