CCS: Crafts I Shape the Future With an Arts and Crafts Degree
As a crafts major, Tina Tomicic learned the value of careful, deliberate technique and how even the smallest elements can work together to make a piece speak. Today, a design assistant with New York fashion label Proenza Schouler, she is using these lessons to help position the company as one of the foremost in the industry.
“CCS taught me to analyze how things work and to appreciate the 'details' in something.”
“I think this has helped me in my field to not just look at the overall garment that we are making, but to consider the relationship between all of its pieces as well as create exceptional quality through craftsmanship.”
Although Proenza Schouler’s founders, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough have only been designing under the name since 2002, a review in New York Magazine identifies the company as “one of fashion’s most talked about labels.” They were presented with a CFDA Perry Ellis Award for new talent after their first show. With each new collection, these designers have demonstrated an edgy, modern approach to their upscale clothing and skillful detailing has been key to establishing the label’s reputation for producing superior garments.
“We’ve enjoyed a lot of success in a short amount of time,” said Tomicic. “But we’re actually a very small company with only about 15 employees, usually five or so interns and four dogs.”
Tomicic began working toward a degree in fashion at Wayne State University before transferring to CCS. She gained experience in the industry at Clear Magazine draping and constructing shirts as well as putting her own creative and professional touches on clothing featured in the publication. She also gained retail experience assisting customers at Ferndale’s House of Chants.
After graduation, Tomicic moved to New York where she landed an internship at Proenza Schouler running errands, working on press and helping out in the production department. She was offered an opportunity (six months later) to freelance in the production department working on trim, ordering buttons, writing content labels and selecting thread colors. Three months later, she became the design assistant and a full time employee.
“As the assistant to the designers, I aid them through the whole design process: inspiration (research, development of custom hardware, sourcing), attend fittings and discuss finishing techniques and garment construction,” explained Tomicic. “I then take our designs and specifications to factories nearby to have sample garments created for the runway collection.”
Tomicic has also worked on special projects, such as Academy Award dresses and clothing for select clients attending other high profile events in the city. Her responsibilities have included arranging fittings, sourcing fabrics and balancing the needs of clients with the concerns and concepts of the designers.
“What I enjoy most about this job is having the opportunity to work with people who are very creative and energetic,” said Tomicic. “And they have impeccable taste! I’ve learned so much at Proenza Schouler. The designers have such an amazing eye for shape and color and they pay an incredible amount of attention to details.
“Although I am not necessarily ‘designing’ right now, it’s my job to figure out how to execute the designers’ vision. It is kind of like putting all of the puzzle pieces together in the most beautiful manner utilizing techniques and finishes of fine couture."