StylePortfolios: Kristy Sandoval
What is your employment status?
KS: Currently employed full-time at Swim USA
What is your official job title?
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
KS: I am a multifaceted designer with 10 years of experience in the fashion industry, focused on women’s & juniors swimwear design. Majority of my experience has been in the swim industry, but I’ve also had experience in designing denim & lingerie prior to going into swim. I like to keep an open mind and am always interested in learning new skill sets to diversify my abilities.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
KS: I have always had a passion in fine arts since I was a child and knew I wanted a career where I can be creative yet also make something for others. When I began preparing for college in high school, I toured various art colleges. At one of the schools I came across an exhibit for fashion design students’ portfolios. I immediately fell in love with the idea of combining art & fashion to create something for others to express themselves through clothing.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
KS: I trained in fine arts my whole entire life, which I believe definitely gave me an upper hand when it came to understanding color & aesthetic. But I think the most important step I made was the decision to go to a college specifically to study fashion design. I knew that having real life experience and networking was very important in the fashion industry. So, I decided to go where I could learn all the specific skills as a designer & start my career right away. I also kept an open mind when I looked for my first job. I knew I wasn’t going to become a designer overnight. My first job was an assistant designer position at a tiny private label company that designed & manufactured denim and lingerie. There were only 5 or 6 of us total at the office, but it was the best experience I could have gotten as my first job. It was very hands-on, and I had to wear many hats than just being a designer, and it really gave me an upper hand in landing my second job at a larger company. Since then, I learned that to be a well-rounded designer, you need to get your hands dirty and be knowledgeable in every step of the garment development process than just the creative aspect.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
KS: The best part of being a designer for me (and I think most would agree) is seeing my designs at the stores and/or seeing others wearing my designs in public. One of the most challenging parts of being a designer, in my opinion, is being able to detach your personal aesthetic/preferences and design for the specific customer’s preference. It’s a lot of thinking outside the box and being selflessly creative.
What do you like about what you do?
KS: Expressing myself creatively, working with prints and colors, and putting it all together through technology.
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
KS: I am much more confident about my designs and the skill set I am able to offer.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
KS: I am fascinated by how much technology has evolved and how much we depend on it for our day to day activities, especially since COVID. It’s definitely giving me a new perspective in how it affects design and fashion. It makes me consider how/what I should be designing, what I should be learning to improve my work, and how the industry will evolve with new technologies, rise of e-commerce, and how the world will change post COVID.
What advice would you give to young designers?
KS: Never get too comfortable. Always be learning, and growing. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and stand by your decisions if you really believe in it. But also keep an open mind and open to constructive criticism. Sometimes you might get new ideas & perspective from others that you may have never thought of before.
What’s your motto?
KS: Stay humble, be kind to yourself & others
I am currently a swimwear designer based in the greater Los Angeles area. I graduated from FIDM in 2011 with a degree in Fashion Design, and have been working in the industry since. I began my career designing denim & lingerie, but fell in love with the intricacy and intimacy of designing lingerie and swimwear. Since then I have focused my career in swimwear design and the rest is history. Brands and department stores I’ve designed for include La Blanca, Lucky Brand, Nanette Lepore, Sperry Topsider, Kenneth Cole NY/Kenneth Cole Reaction, Target, Nordstrom, JCPenney.