StylePortfolios: Monika Joshi
What is your employment status?
MJ: Currently unemployed & looking for new opportunities!
Please summarize your professional career in 1 to 3 sentences; what should everyone know about you?
MJ: Graduate from Ohio State University with experience in accessories (mostly hair accessories). I love creating unique designs that don’t already exist in the market and making my own statement in a collection.
Describe what you do?
MJ: I analyze trends and past sales reports to create concepts and assortments for each season. I work with factories to source new materials and finishes that can be applied to my designs and create CADs and specifications for each style. I work with sales teams, buyers, supply chains, and production teams to bring concepts to the end customer.
Why did you choose to be a designer?
MJ: Being raised by two engineers, I consider my aspiration to be a designer my ‘rebellion’. The more I learned about the industry and the possibilities, the more I wanted to design and be creative and live in a world of fabrics.
What steps did you take to become a designer?
MJ: After being mostly self-taught, I attended a summer intensive program in fashion construction at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. During university, I was encouraged to take business classes as well as design classes which I believe has helped me grow my career.
What is the best/most challenging part of your job?
MJ: The most challenging part is having to design for a trend you don’t believe in or having to sacrifice your design aesthetic to a degree where it’s not something you’re proud of anymore.
If you weren’t a designer what would you be?
MJ: An event planner! I got a dual degree at Ohio State, one of which was in hospitality management. I interned at a corporate event planning firm and loved working an event from concept and small details to bringing it to life. In a sense it’s the experience equivalent of a fashion designer.
What do you like about what you do?
MJ: I truly love what I do. Not many people can say that they love their jobs, and while some of my professional career was tough and not at all what I expected, I love seeing my designs come to life. Even better when I see my pieces being worn by a stranger walking down the street.
What’s a common misconception people have about what you do?
MJ: Unfortunately, I used to get people who believed my job was a reflection of a lack of intelligence, and not to be taken seriously. Of course, ignorance is the cause of many misconceptions and I like to think I’ve been able to prove them wrong over the years.
Additionally, many people think designing is playing with fabric all day/ every day. While I do get to work with fabrics, it’s a lot of sitting at a computer as well- creating CADs, working in spreadsheets, and nitty gritty details.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
MJ: I’d like to be a Director or VP of Design- I have big ambitions for myself and the industry
What sparked your interest in design?
MJ: Of all things, sewing a pillow in a middle school consumer science class
How has your work evolved since you began your career?
MJ: I think my work has become much more creative and modern. It’s less about re-coloring existing styles and more about creating new silhouettes and patterns, and pushing my creativity. I continue to learn new skills that I incorporate into my design process.
Are there any types of clothing/footwear/accessories that you avoid wearing?
MJ: I’ve never been a big fan of camo or Crocs. That being said, to anyone who enjoys wearing those- that’s great! Continue to be yourself and wear what makes you feel confident and comfortable.
What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
MJ: I’m really fascinated by the shift towards craftsmanship and individuality I see lately. It’s refreshing to see that people want to stand out and be themselves.
I also love that sustainability and ethical sourcing and production is becoming a bigger part of the industry and how it’s affecting what people buy and from where. I’d love to learn more about the possibilities we as an industry can take to help create a more circular supply chain.
What is the biggest lesson that you have learned since you started your career?
MJ: We’re always taught from a young age that patience is a virtue, and while it’s important not to rush things, efficiency is better. It’s more important to create a tight collection of effective and targeted designs rather than large assortments filled with sub-par styles.
What advice would you give to young designers?
MJ: Ask questions and be humble! When I first started working, I was too afraid to ask a lot of questions and thought people expected me to know everything already. It took a few months (and mistakes) to appreciate that everyone around me had a lot of knowledge that they actually wanted to share. You’re never done learning new things.
What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
MJ: I’d like to find a great job at a company that values sustainability and thinks about how what they do affects the world around them.
Monika is a design professional living in New York City. While most of her professional experience is in Hair Accessories, she understands garment construction and has been creating and altering patterns for over 15 years.
Sewing and designing has always been a top passion of hers and she considers the rhythm of sewing machines among the best meditative sounds.
Currently seeking Design opportunities in NYC