StylePortfolios: Ashley Gonzalez
What is your employment status?
AG: Unemployed due to Covid- open to freelance or full-time work!
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
AG: I have 5+ years experience in the design field. My expertise is mainly in women’s denim and wovens but I have also worked on men’s, women’s and children’s activewear.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
AG: I chose to be a designer because as a child, it was honestly very hard for me to find clothes that fit me correctly and made me feel good about myself. I now find such joy in creating garments that make people feel confident and help them to express their individuality.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
AG: I’ve drawn girls in cute clothes since the moment I first picked up a pencil. Then I learned to sew and my whole world opened up! I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology after high school while working through a few internships and began freelancing pretty much immediately after graduating.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
AG: Market research. It’s one of my favorite parts of the design process but it can be challenging sometimes. As a person who appreciates all different “genres” of style, sometimes you can get caught up in the whole “shopping” aspect of it. Haha. But at the end of the day it’s extremely important to make sure you keep your target customer in mind at all times. As the design process unfolds, you really need to make sure every single thing stays on brand!
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
AG: Honestly, I would probably own a small store. Something similar to a consignment shop- not exclusive to clothing. I’ve always loved retail and would love to build a community space for local artists supporting each other.
What do you like about what you do?
AG: I think being a designer- it’s important to use both sides of the brain. It’s not only a creative career path but it’s also very research-based and requires a lot of analytical skills. I enjoy having a career that lets me utilize my skills on both sides of the coin.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
AG: This is an interesting question. I find that sometimes people think you only know about clothing if your career is in fashion but actually fashion is so incredibly related to current events and culture. I mean, take a fashion history course and see how historical events and fashion evolution line-up. It will blow your mind!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
AG: I hope to advance in my career as much as possible. Same with my personal life. I never want to stop learning and growing.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
AG: What’s funny is that when I attended FIT, we only had one Photoshop and Illustrator class! Even during my early years at Ralph Lauren, my team was still drawing flats by hand! It’s so crazy to me now… how quickly technology changes things. But my work is pretty much 100% digital now. My whole process has evolved over the years and my work has become much more clean, crisp and easier to understand. I think if someone were to view my website, they would get a really good visual on how my entire design process has evolved and improved over the years.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
AG: Stilettos. I used to work at a shoe store… my feet can’t do it anymore. Your girl will break her ankles, haha.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
AG: How the pandemic has affected the fashion industry really fascinates me. I think fashion has the opportunity now to take a second look at itself and rediscover its soul. Hopefully more brands can focus more on sustainability and creating quality garments. This pandemic has really forced me and my friends to slow down on our own shopping habits. I’m making sure that if I do buy, it’s something of quality that will last me a long time or I’m buying something used. I’m definitely taking that into heavy consideration in my work now.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
AG: Team work makes the dream work.
What advice would you give to young designers?
AG: Things are tough right now, but don’t get discouraged. The entire world is rethinking how it does things – not just the fashion industry. I think in hindsight, we will have been a part of something huge. We’ll look back and see how resilient we all are… and hopefully how much we’ve all changed for the better.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
AG: Considering the end of the year is very very close, I would love to land a great design position that’s a good fit for my skill-set. I really miss being part of a team!
What’s your motto?
AG: Cheesy but when life hands you lemons…make lemonade. I think especially in these times we need to stay positive and appreciate all we have in this life. See every challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.
Ashley is a women’s RTW designer with 5+ years experience in the fashion industry. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and has gone on to work for brands such as Tory Burch, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.