Class of 2010 graduate, Tess Hinterbichler, is a true BSC Alum success story. Through her hard work and dedication to both fashion design and the industry, she has worked her way up from an intern to an assistant designer at the Life is Good company. She will also be a part of this year’s Runway, with her own designs showing in the Alumni Section. Continue reading to find out more about Tess herself, her journey, and her advice for upcoming and graduating students!
RW: Tell me a few things about yourself and your involvement in the fashion industry:
TH: Sure! I graduated from Buffalo State with my BS in Fashion and Textile Technology with a concentration in Apparel design in 2010. After graduation, I moved to Boston for a summer internship with the Life is Good Company. For those of you unaccustomed with the brand, Life is good is a New England-based lifestyle brand whose motto is ‘do what you like, like what you do’. Their social mission to help kids overcome life-threatening challenges by spreading the power of optimism. Before my internship was scheduled to end, a position opened and I earned my current role as an Assistant Designer. I work very closely with the Women’s and Girl’s Designer who is not only my boss, but also my role model and a friend. Together, we develop the line which consist of over 60 different styles per season. I work on trend research, color palette, fabric development and technical/design sketches. A large portion of my job is also communicating with our vendors to make sure that the garments turn out the way we envisioned. I have learned SO MUCH at Life is good and really appreciate the opportunity that I have been given.
RW: How has your experiences at Buffalo State College in the Fashion & Textile Technology program prepare you for your current endeavors?
TH: You know, I have to say that I honestly feel that I received a very well-rounded education at BSC. Since the program requires you to take core classes, I learned about the industry in various different lights–from merchandising/marketing to textile testing and development. I think that this is important because after learning about all of the various positions available in the industry, there was no doubt in my mid that, as and Apparel Design major, had made the right decision; I was only further justified by how much I enjoyed the design classes that I took. Also, in the fashion industry, you can’t just go into a job expecting to do one, specialized thing; at least not when your first starting out. It is SO important to be well-rounded and have the knowledge to complete certain tasks. For example, I remember one summer taking the ‘dreaded’ textile testing class with Dr. Searle (it is dreaded because of the course-load, not the wonderful professor 🙂 hi Dr. Searle!). I still refer to things that I learned in the class today. I may not be testing the bursting strength of 100% Cttn Jrsy with an oxide wash myself, but someone is and if that fabric does not pass, then we have a problem on our hands. I don’t mean to be rambling but I cannot stress enough how important it is to absorb everything when you are in school and to take every opportunity you can.
RW: What was your most memorable experience at Buffalo State College?
TH: Instead of memorable moments, I am going to talk about my most memorable course(s). Dr. Holly Henderson teaches a several graphic textile design courses that I rave about to this day. I learned so much about trend research and color palette development, and so many good tricks in photoshop in illustrator that really took my CAD skills to the next level. I recommend that anyone who wants the extra edge to add to their portfolio, and also have a ton of fun for four hours on Friday morning, to seriously consider enrolling in Holly’s class. Seriously, who needs to sleep in on Friday; no really though, TAKE IT!
RW: Who is your ultimate style icon and why?
TH: I really don’t have one singular style icon. I love to pull elements form different eras, and of course I like the classics; both Hepburns, Monroe, Bridget Bardot, Grace Kelly, Jackie-O, the list goes on and on. However, where I really like to pull my inspiration from is the public. I’m always watching people on the street, on the train, in coffee shops; I love to be inspired by what’s around me. Also, vintage photos are usually quite good, people dressed ‘up’ more in the past. One of my favorite things is the Satorialist blog which mostly consists of photos of people just taken on the streets, dressed for…life? To me, anyone can be an icon.
RW: Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Is it fashion-related?
TH: I hope to one day be able to collaborate with a technical designer and (presumably) a backer, to start my own small fashion line. It would consist of wearable, uniquely crafted pieces for everyday life.
RW: What advice would you give for both upcoming and graduating students?
TH: Absorb everything, like a sponge and enjoy learning new things. After school comes life and that is exciting but also very…real?
Come see Tess on April 21st at Runway 5.0! Tickets are now on sale! You can purchase your tickets for both shows at two locations; Rockwell Hall at Buffalo State College, or through any WNY Wegmans!