Thursday, February 2, 2012

I want to be a fashion designer when I grow up!

In our new column "I Want to be THAT when I Grow Up!" we'll interview someone who is actively working in a cool profession. For our first column, we get a look at what it's like to be a clothing designer. While clothing designer may not seem like a particularly geeky profession, it was a natural choice for the first feature because it is what I wanted to be when I grew up (believe it or not, geeky parenting blogger wasn't always my first choice.)   Ronda Berman, creator of Zomsters, also brings her own whimsical geeky touch by designing kids clothes that feature friendly monsters complete with backstories.  Wally is a marine archeologist, Henry is a circus performer and Stanley enjoys playing the sport of curling. To top it off the clothes are all made with enviornmentally friendly materials and processes: From the Zomsters website:
Zomsters is a small, mother-owned children's company located in Snoqualmie, Washington. We make kid-friendly clothing and collections that have been carefully selected from earth-friendly materials such as organic cottons, azo-free dyes, non-toxic printing, and recycled and reusable materials.
Each Zomsters design and product has a unique touch of individuality, just like the little Zomsters wearing them! Not only do we design to make you smile, Zomsters is also designed to help create making small changes in our lives we can make big differences in helping our planet. 

When did you decide that you wanted to be a clothing designer.  What inspired you?
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved being creative, anything art, in any medium.  I didn’t grow up wanting to be a clothing designer but designing clothing just kind of happened.  I was working for Outdoor Research in sales when the company’s clothing designer  gave her resignation and I, myself needed some change.  I know how to sew and have always had small projects on the side so I took out some gumption and started constructing my presentation boards with sketches to present to the owner of the Company.  I was offered the job on a six month trial bases.  Within that six months I won the 2003 Malden Apex Award for one of my designs and it has all been downhill from there.  I have been designing ever since.

What inspires me???  Everything!  My inspirations come from nature, old rustic, modernism, fellow artist and designers, but what really catches my eye is color.  Color is the make or break of any design/art piece and can be the hardest to select because of those reasons.

What makes Zomsters different than other clothing out there?
I don’t know if Zomsters is different but I know when I design it, I want to be fun.  I want to promote a giggle.  Can you not look at the 21 Zomsters characters and smile?  When my characters are in the development stage I already know what their name is, and what their likes/ambitions are going to be.  I guess you can say that Zomsters are all about the characters and the bonus is that they come printed on organic cotton onesies and high quality, 100% cotton toddler tees.  All apparel is made with adhering to fair labor practices, azo-dyes, water based inks.   I want Zomsters to be organic, sustainable, chemical-free, and ‘green’ wherever possible while still being able to offer affordable collections. I wanted to promote an awareness of the benefits of change: making small changes in our lives can make big differences in helping our planet.

What background do you have (schooling/life experience, etc) that has made this profession possible for you?
I would have to say what largely contributes to my background is experience.  I’m not afraid of putting myself out there and trying new things.  For instance, I was a cook in Antarctica, a police officer, a brewery manager, accounts manager, retailer buyer, Designer, wife & mother.  My hobbies vary from backpacking, mountaineering, fly fishing, rock climbing, welding, gardening, anything with art & design.  The funny thing is…I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  Life is short and I want to experience everything.  The reason I am, where I am is because I’m not afraid of trying.

What kind of schooling or skills did you wish you had prior to beginning your career?  What should kids who want to be a clothing designer focus on?  
The first thing I would recommend is an education with a focus in art, textiles, and construction.  College is the easiest way to get your foot in the door.  I just happened to be at the right place at the right time and that doesn’t always happen.  And above all, don’t be afraid to try.

What is the best part of your job? 
Being able to create everyday and seeing the end results of your product.

What is your least favorite part of the job? 
Accounting, inventory and all of the tedious aspects of owning your own business.

What is the geekiest part of your job? 
I don’t know, I’m kind of a geek, so it’s kind of hard to call it out.

What advice do you have for kids who want to have a career as a clothing designer? 
Don’t be afraid to try and put yourself out there.

Bonus Giveway!  Ronda was awesome to provide a gift to one lucky Parenting Geekly reader.  Using the fab Rafflecopter widget below, enter to win a Stanley T-Shirt in Snail Snot Yellow (love the color names: Dirty Worm! Princess Poo!) in size 6T, just like the one below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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