Window on Fashion and Jewelry Design
It was a panel of design all-stars representing some of the most recognized names in clothing and jewelry: Kenneth Cole. Maria Pinto. Hush Puppies. Noir Jewelry. Leigh’s Women’s Boutique.
Representatives from these companies—including Maria Pinto herself—came to Grand Rapids and the GRAM to share their career paths with Kendall students on Career Day: Window on Fashion and Jewelry Design.
Industrial designer Elad Barouch, who calls New York City his home, specialized in developing new concepts and innovative toys for babies and toddlers. He is now the sole designer at Noir Jewelry, helping it grow into a firm with a reputation for creating “seriously fun” jewelry.
Chicago fashion designer Maria Pinto is a graduate of Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, majoring in fine art with a focus in fashion. She also attended New York’s Parson’s School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology. Pinto loves working with fabric; creating shapes and silhouettes by putting it on the human body.
Footwear designer Alan Lugo is an industrial designer with a passion for shoes, and a love for teaching and mentoring young designers. A designer for the Hush Puppies brand of Wolverine World Wide, Lugo is an Adjunct Instructor in Kendall’s Industrial Design program. Initially longing to design athletic footwear, Lugo met the challenges presented by the “brown shoe” market of Hush Puppies.
Patrick Plank is Creative/Visual Merchandising Director at Leigh’s, an upscale women’s fashion boutique in Grand Rapids. Patrick has over 25 years of experience in fashion, design, and visual merchandising with specialty stores, upscale boutiques and national and international companies. Another Kendall alum, Plank told us his career went “from plants to pants” as he transitioned from horticultural sales to creating intriguing displays for Leigh’s.
Kendall graduate Brian Weaver is Vice President, Creative Services at Kenneth Cole Productions. A Graphic Design major, he has worked with Perry Ellis International, Trends International and The Signal Apparel Company. In addition to creating marketing campaigns that convey the Kenneth Cole brand, he works with Awearness, the Kenneth Cole Foundation, striking the perfect balance between fashion and social voice.
The daylong presentation was fascinating, as students got a glimpse into the creative process of each designer. What I found most interesting was that each one is presently involved in fashion and jewelry design in some capacity, but with the exception of Pinto, did not specifically set out to work in the industry. Yet in a round-about manner, they found their homes and careers in these amazing industries.
~ Pamela Patton
~ Matthew Gubancsik, Photography