by Kate Jacobs, Fashion Publishing… connect on Twitter: @Katie_Jacobz
Alyssa DiMarcantonio is an assistant handbag designer at Rosetti Handbags. After graduating with a bachelors degree in fashion design from Drexel University in 2010, she was offered a job at Rosetti in 2011 and has been there since. I got to speak to Alyssa about making it in NYC, hardships, and working at her dream job.
Kate-Congratulations on your successful entrance into the fashion industry! When did you first know that this was what you wanted to do for your career?
Alyssa-I was always interested in fashion and making outfits. I was completely obsessed with dressing Barbies as a kid and making crazy outfits for myself. I grew up in Pennsylvania, which isn’t the fashion capital, so I was skeptical of getting into the industry and afraid of having people think I was a joke. I decided to not listen to everyone and go to college for fashion design.
Kate-It sometimes happens that someone lands their fashion “dream job” only to discover that the day to day workings of the job, the nuts and bolts so to speak, are not exactly what they expected – for better or worse. Can you describe a day “on the job” as a handbag designer?
Alyssa-As an assistant designer I really get to do a lot at Rosetti, which was a surprise for me. I get to sketch a lot of my own ideas, go trend hunting down in Soho, assist designing hardware, and work on prototypes. It’s really rewarding to go see a group of hand bags that I assisted in creating from beginning to end.
Kate-Some designers have a vision of the finished product before they begin drawing. Some start with the seed of an idea and develop it as they put it down on paper. What is the creative process like for you?
Alyssa-I definitely sketch things out and first try to have an initial idea. But of course I always tweak the idea as I go along. I also get really inspired by the materials involved, the fabrics and prints can change my whole idea.
Kate-It is said that all new ideas have been sparked in some way by earlier ideas or cultural influences. Can you identify your creative influences? Is there one designer that you most admire?
Alyssa-I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Versace. I love the whole Italian design aesthetic and I have just fallen in love with Donatella’s craziness. She has done a great job learning to be herself and coming into her own skin.
Kate-What is the favorite item you have ever designed?
Alyssa-A dress from my senior collection. I did evening wear which was so much fun. I made my total dream dress. A big red dress, with a high low cut and a sequin lining. I wear it all the time myself, it’s perfect.
Kate-Our students at Parsons School of Design are concerned these days about the economy and how it will impact their ability to pursue the career in fashion that they are preparing for. Can you tell us a little about how that journey was for you? How long were you looking for the right position? What search strategies did you use?
Alyssa-I looked for almost a year. I interviewed at multiple places and hunted the Internet. Style.com and Craigslist were a big help. I knew I couldn’t get discouraged. Just keep walking into every interview positively. I always tried to alter my portfolio for every interview and try to accommodate their own aesthetic.
Kate-Do you have any advice for a student graduating Parsons and starting out on their own journey into the fashion world?
Alyssa-You have to be really thick skinned and persistent. Try not to be too picky because you can always work your way up in the fashion world!