The first 35 days.
I’ve officially been a lingerie designer for 35 days. Seven weeks. Two-hundred and forty hours (give or take the time I’ve spent looking for an apartment, getting a bank account, registering with various bureaucratic agencies, etc).
Is it what I thought it would be? Yes, and no.
I’m working on projects that are really pushing me to think, to problem solve, to be creative, to be resourceful. I enjoy that. It can be difficult though when there are days when I honestly am out of my depth, being a recent graduate, and there’s not a lot of people to turn to, we’re an incredibly small team. Other days are amazing when I feel like I’m in control of my projects and everything is trucking along just fine.
I’m learning. I am learning so much. Since I’ve just started, I’ve not got through a whole collection, or season just yet, but it’s really opening my eyes to some of the complexities of the industry. Working with various suppliers in different countries with different languages and unfamiliar terminologies has certainly led to challenges. Nothing that I can’t overcome, just things I will pick up over time. Do wish me luck that all the components I’ve ordered arrive on time for our upcoming production run!
I’m so incredibly fortunate to work for the company that I do. The unique position of being both a retailer and manufacturer allows me to see products from leading, competitive brands right in our own warehouse and pushes me to consider and evaluate details that I may not have considered, or been familiar with. With a focus on fit, and access to an in-house fit model, it’s simpler to see things immediately and consider the adjustments that need to be made to patterns.
It’s challenging to be on a small team, most days its just me working on design projects, with direction from the company owners, and supporting our freelance designer in another country, but it pushes me to solve problems on my own, and to recognise when I need to ask for help. I can’t help but feel that it’s both a pro and a con. I get to be involved in projects nearly every step of the way, responsible for everything that comes across my desk, but on the other hand, I don’t have a technical mentor directly at hand, she’s 763 miles/1,228 kilometers away.
Did university prepare me for my role? Not even close.
The focus at university was incredibly creative. A great amount of time was spent on such things as sketchbooks, and developing our own original ideas and designs. So far, not a minute of my ‘new’ career has utilised that. Costings. Fit evaluations. Pattern amendments. Usage calculations. Some of these things were obviously covered, but not in the depth that I need. This past week I felt really let down by my education while doing some fit evaluations. I am a highly experienced bra fitter, I know what I want things to look like, but when I’m standing there, looking at a sample on my fit model, and I’ve got the one and only garment produced, and it doesn’t fit, like at all, it’s hard to know where to begin to communicate the changes I want to someone else who can’t see it. It’s led to some confusion, and I need to find some new ways to communicate these thoughts.
I mentioned my frustrations on this gap in my education to my boss, and wish that we would have spent more time at university critiquing samples in a group setting a university. Doing fit evaluations as a group on what we think is good, what needs improvement, how to determine pattern amendments, and how best to describe these to the people that will be making the adjustments. It’s one thing to look at your own work, something you know what the pattern pieces look like, and what the final outcome should look like, but what about when it’s a pattern you didn’t design or make?
As a further ‘diary’ or personal sort of post - part of my new career has seen me move countries. Germany. Wow. Another language and culture. The environment I work in supports me for the most part in English with my day-to-day activities at work being primarily in English. Google translate is my best friend. It’s certainly a challenge to navigate such things as the bureaucratic elements like immigration and visas, registering for ID numbers, health care, bank accounts and finding an apartment when you don’t speak the local language. I have been able to easily make friends outside of work, but honestly, I wasn’t worried about that. I’m struggling greatly with the language (German is tough!) and it will take me a long time, with a tremendous effort to be able to have a simple conversation with German speakers.
My partner, who lives in the UK, has also been able to visit me once in Germany, and I will go to the UK for Christmas to see him and his family, along with my UK friends. The whole process has certainly been challenging, but also very rewarding. This opportunity gave me the chance to be home with my Canadian family and friends for six weeks and attend my sister’s wedding. The job that I have is exactly what I want to do, allowing me to be involved in all aspects of the design, pattern cutting, production AND retail process. I’m feeling incredibly lucky to be where I am and I am looking forward to all that is in store for me over the next few months, and hopefully years to come in Germany, my new home.
Educating women on the benefits of proper fitting bras is important to Kim. Designing lingerie that complements the fuller figure, and is comfortable, on-trend and beautifully constructed is her mission.
We are in charge of our bodies, and we make the decisions that are right for us, with no judgement. Kimtimates supports those who make their own choices about their own bodies. #yourbodyyourchoice #mybodymychoice