Gianna Cosentino ’02 visited campus on Oct. 14 and shared about her experience as the director of her own line at Free People, a division of Urban Outfitters as part of the 2011 Fashion Alumni Lecture Series.
She discussed the inspiration behind her brand and gave visual examples to current students about how she makes design decisions for her line, “New Romantics.”
“I get inspired by people who are free enough to express themselves,” Cosentino said. She talked about traveling to Japan, Korea, China, England, Panama and many other countries, where she shops with local design experts to identify interesting trends in apparel, textiles and patterns. “You kind of just go shop around and find a cool technique you like,” she said.
Cosentino also showed a video that her company produced that illustrated the many different people and roles needed to bring a design concept to market. She emphasized the need to collaborate well with co-workers in other departments throughout the design process. “Half of design is really communicating,” she said. From buyers to suppliers, the designer must be able to clearly describe her idea and work with others to make it a reality.
For Cosentino, that process often involves taking a lot of photos. She showed a slideshow of photos from her travels, often focusing on details in designs from around the world that inspired her. A summer visit to Panama became the inspiration for the New Romantics summer line released a few months ago, for example. Cosentino brought examples of her work for students to see.
Her lecture was the first in the alumni series, which provides students the opportunity to hear from leading fashion alums from all aspects of the fashion industry including design, marketing and industry management professionals.
“Our alumni are our most valuable resource,” said Clara Henry, director of the fashion design program. “What better way for our students to know the possibilities of the industry than from our alumni?”
To learn more about Cosentino’s New Romantics line with Free People, click here.