Welcome back to “6 Questions For A…”! Each week, we’ll ask someone 6 career-centric questions about themselves.
This week we’re catching up with Yvan Tran, a TravisMathew fabric developer living in Huntington Beach, Orange County. She has 3 years in the fashion industry in fashion design and product development.
1. Tell us about the kind of tasks are in a typical day in your role.
On a typical day as a fabric developer, I communicate with vendors, run through sourcing and developing fabrics with mills, as well as work with designers, product developers, merchandisers, and with the President of the company on new fabric development for upcoming seasons from time to time. I provide support to these departments with different fabric characteristics, capabilities, costing, and I also do trim development from hangtags to buttons. My team and I are the ones to kick-start each new season, so I usually work about 4 seasons ahead to be ready for the upcoming seasons.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
My favorite thing about this job, specific to my company, is that this is actually a new role. The fabric team is fairly new (less than a year old!), and before, it was the product developers who managed fabric developments. As of now, the team consists of two people (my supervisor and I). While there are certain expectations for our roles, there are a lot of opportunities for growth and for me to set some precedence on the fabric development process at this company.
3. What are some challenges you face?
As I mentioned, I am part of a “Lean Team,” so we do not have all the resources that a bigger team may have the advantage of. What allows me to work efficiently is creating a Development Plan, which is a timeline of my own goals that align with the company’s vision. Likewise, as part of a newly created team, I am picking up responsibilities along the way and learning through hands-on experience. With this, informal training may limit me from fully understanding the overall process. However, I have been encouraged to seize opportunities for education as there is always room to grow and learn new skills to apply to my work. Whether it be a class or workshop, it helps improve my experience and overall work quality.
4. Who inspires you and why?
Co-workers, boss, and grand-boss! Having a career you are passionate in and the people you enjoy being with just makes the workplace more fun.
5. Share some advice to someone aspiring to be a fabric developer!
I have a degree in Fashion Design, but I would encourage those aspiring to go into Fabric/Textile Design to take extra classes and workshops that specifically teaches you about fabric development.
Though I am in the fashion and apparel, an industry known to be creative, I also think there are a lot of technical skills that one needs to be a Fabric Developer or even a Designer. These skills include:
- Knowledge in software programs like PLM, ERP, Microsoft Office, Adobe.
- Basic math – you will sometimes work on costing or measure pattern pieces/garments.
- Email – not just how to write a professional email..but also how to sort, filter, and utilize other components of your email platform such as its calendar and tasks list.
And overall, don’t be afraid to ask questions! That is how you learn and fully understand the process.
6. What did you want to be when you grew up? How did that change over the years?
At first, I wanted to be a rockstar, but that didn’t happen! In all seriousness, I knew I wanted to be in the fashion industry when I was 14. I would always draw fashion illustrations and costumes from some of my favorite films like Star Wars. I first thought that I wanted to become an apparel designer, and I honestly thought that was the only role one can be with a Fashion Design degree. It was just last year where I discovered this opportunity as a fabric developer. At first, I wanted to do it because the company is literally a five-minute commute from home, and it was still a career that I could use my degree in. Well, I am glad I am Fabric Developer as it has expanded my knowledge and brought out my passion for fabrics and textiles. There are plenty of different and unique employment opportunities in the fashion industry and ultimately it just leads you to a new passion that you may not even know you had until you found a good workplace with plenty of interesting and fulfilling work opportunities.