THE BEST DESIGN JOB YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

In the Spring 2013 issue of Hue, textile designers and developers at four companies talked about their process. A fifth, Yuko Yamaguchi, Illustration ’10, at Tom Cody Design, didn’t fit in the issue. But Hue thinks her job, and her work, is seriously awesome.

A design by Yuko Yamaguchi that combines floral patterns with a leopard print. Originally the design was much flatter; Cody suggested adding brushstrokes for texture.

The Garment District-based company designs patterns and embroidery—about 200 a week—and sells them to fashion designers high and low. Those clients might use the pattern for one garment or an entire collection. Most similar companies are based in Europe; Tom Cody Design is one of the few American companies in the business.

Cody, who started his company after taking a Textile Design course with Professor Lee Stewart at FIT, employs three FIT-trained illustrators and designers on his team and would look favorably upon applicants from FIT’s Illustration or Textile/Surface Design majors (hint, hint).

A design by Yamaguchi inspired by winter foliage.

Using a computer and tablet pen, Yamaguchi creates two to three patterns per day. Those that Cody and assistant art director Yat Yee Tam approve are printed onto mock garments and shown to clients. The job, though demanding, is a satisfying creative outlet for her.

Yamaguchi finds inspiration from runways and street fashion and just about everywhere else. “I think fashion is related to the economy, politics, art, music, literature, news, psychology, technology, and architecture,” she says.

The catch? She can’t get credit for her designs when they hit the runway. Once a design is sold, it’s treated as the buyer’s intellectual property. It’s sort of like having an affair with a celebrity: You get all the fun but none of the status.

“It’s kind of hard,” she admits, “but the good thing is, you’re not bored. When Yat and Tom accept one of my ideas, it’s so exciting. Where I was working before, I’d suggest an idea and they’d deny, deny, deny.”

An abstract painterly design by Yamaguchi. Fewer colors makes the design more appealing to cost-conscious fashion companies.

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4 Responses to THE BEST DESIGN JOB YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

  1. Dana says:

    I’m an FIT Alum who would love this job!

    Yamaguchi’s designs are beautiful. The floral-leopard design is unique!

    What program are these done in? I’d like to do some experiments as I have a ton of ideas now!

  2. These designs are awesome I just wish I had come up with em first

  3. Danielle Rosenstein says:

    Congrats Yuko on making your designs a success, your work is so beautiful, I know it will go even farther, I only wish they would credit you, but it’s nice to be seeing your name verified in an article nonetheless. If there are any openings for a graphic designer or artist there, let me know…;) either way, hope you enjoy life and keep loving what you do! :)

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