Inside The Design Process
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Inside The Design Process

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Watching a design come to life is so rewarding. Amy Qu works on several projects, but Form/Function is one of her favorites.

Name: Amy Qu
School: Rhode Island School of Design
Industry: Industrial and Product Designs
Project Below: Form/Function

This is an image of Amy Qu's final product. Photo Credit: Amy Qu

How did you get into design?

Ever since I was a kid I just loved drawing, painting, and making things. It’s a lifelong hobby of mine, and when it came time to choose a career path, I knew I needed to do something creative. I also wanted to do something that involves problem-solving, and design helps to fulfill both of those criteria for me. 

What inspired this project and its name?

This project was actually a final for my Soft Goods class here at RISD. I knew I wanted to make a jacket, but I didn’t want it to feel like I was just re-creating an already existing, manufactured product. I took this project as an opportunity to experiment with unconventional details, and my own aesthetic tastes. Some of the details in this jacket are functional, but some are just for fun. 

Why do you feel like this project represents you / your work?

I feel like this project represents me well, not because I’m an apparel designer or anything, but because it’s something I made through a lot of experimentation and hard work. This jacket was my first attempt at apparel design, and I feel like I learned so much more during this project than I would have if I had stayed in my known comfort zone. As a designer, I really pride myself on learning anything and everything, especially from mistakes.

What was the most challenging or rewarding aspect of this project?

The most challenging part of this project was definitely the pattern-making. Pattern-making involves making the flat designs for the fabric pieces before the garment is sewn together. It was really, really hard to design out how this jacket would come together, but eventually (after hours and hours) I was able to figure it out. 

What is your favorite part of the design process? (etc. brain storming, drawing, sewing)

My favorite part of any design project is definitely the fabrication. Brainstorming, planning, model-making, etc., are all the hard parts. They involve a lot of problem solving, and making sure that you’re finding the best possible solution. Actually getting to make stuff after I’ve figured everything else out is my absolute favorite part.

How did you hear about Why did you join Top Emerging Talent?

I’m pretty sure I just heard about through the grapevine; I go to RISD which is awesome because so many of us are involved with Pangea in some way. I joined Top Emerging Talent because I love working with everyone on the Pangea team, and I’m excited to get more involved in the future.

What’s your favorite piece of advice for someone who is just starting out in the design field?

My biggest advice is to not worry too much about how your work compares to others. Especially when you’re just starting out in the design field (you’re in your freshman year of college, or you’re just applying to schools), everyone’s backgrounds and portfolios will look completely different. Rather than worrying about what skills you might not have, or how other people might seem to be ahead of you, worry about making work you care about. As long as you’re doing something you’re genuinely passionate about, and you’re putting in the necessary time and effort, you don’t need to worry about anyone else.

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