By Kristin Mack Deuber
Fashion Design alumna Jennifer Porreca Faux (CCAD 2002) was always the person her friends turned to for fashion advice. Whether flipping through magazines or weekend shopping at thrift stores to embrace the ’90s grunge trend, she’s been interested in style and spotting the hottest trends since she was a little girl.
“Growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on fashion,” says Faux. “I would do my best to save my money and beg my parents to buy me trendy clothes and accessories.”
In addition to fashion, Faux also had an interest in the fine arts—with artistic parents, art was a big part of her youth. She took Saturday Morning Art Classes at CCAD as a child, where she began to develop her creative skills. When the time came for her to choose a college, it was a lucky coincidence that CCAD was so close to home and had a great fashion program.
“I loved that CCAD’s curriculum focused not only on fashion, but also on fine art skills, including color concept, 2D and 3D figure drawing, and art history,” says Faux. “It made me a more creative fashion designer by providing me with the foundational skills that I could use to easily design any type of fashion including apparel, accessories, footwear, and lifestyles.”
An Upward Trend
Upon graduating from CCAD in 2002, Faux landed a job as assistant designer of sweaters, active, and graphic tees for Justice, a label of the industry leader Tween Brands, Inc. Over the next four years, she was quickly promoted to associate designer of sweaters and accessories, and then to designer of accessories, footwear, and lifestyles. She rejoined Tween in 2009 as a senior designer of accessories and footwear.
Today, Faux is Tween’s director of specialty design, overseeing a team of six designers and two interns.
The position calls for extensive travel to keep abreast of trends worldwide. But when Faux is in Ohio, business meetings are a big part of her day. She works with senior design and merchandising staff to align Tween’s design and sales strategies. She also meets with cross-functional partners, including the tech department, to check the fit of products she is creating and make sure the sampling and production of all products are flowing smoothly.
Faux usually ends her day researching trends, visiting stores, and doing last minute trouble-shooting.
Being a fashion designer and traveling around the world may sound glamorous, but it can be taxing work. Faux often gets up at 4 a.m. to catch flights, works 12- to 14-hour days, hauls bags in and out of cabs (and trains and planes), battles jet lag, and eats on the run — all while staying in constant contact with her home office.
Over the past 10 years, Faux has seen many changes in the speed of fashion trend cycles and the way goods are sourced. “With social media and blogging, our customers have become extremely fashion savvy, wanting the hottest trends NOW,” she says. “Also, with all of the [political] changes happening around the world, sourcing new factories and obtaining competitive prices for goods have become increasingly challenging. “
Advice: Get It and Give It
During her time at Tween, Faux has cultivated relationships with several mentors, which she says has been the best part of working for the company. Her favorite mentor advice is “know your business.” In other words, good designers can design absolutely anything, as long as they study their target market, understand the business side of the industry, and build a design strategy based around that knowledge.
She also values “speak with facts, not emotions,” because the facts make a stronger case that is less likely to be misinterpreted.
Her biggest piece of advice to today’s students? Network, network, network. “To get a great job in the fashion industry it definitely helps to know the right people who can recommend you and help you get your foot in the door,” says Faux. “It’s important for students to put themselves out there early and take advantage of any opportunities that come their way. No job is too small or insignificant. If you do everything with passion, others will see that and want you on their team.”
The CCAD Angle
Faux enjoys supporting CCAD. She always looks to hire CCAD graduates because she knows they have strong design skills. She also financially supports the annual senior fashion show, reviews student portfolios, and speaks to classes as often as her schedule permits.
Maintaining relationships with fellow CCAD alumni has benefited Faux’s own career. Many of her fellow fashion design alums have found successful careers in Columbus, New York, and beyond — and their paths constantly cross.
“I truly value the education I received at CCAD,” says Faux. “I love staying part of the CCAD community and continuing to build relationships with new CCAD students as well as alumni.”
Published in print twice a year, CCAD’s IMAGE magazine shares stories about our creative community, whether here in Columbus or around the world—what we’re doing, thinking, and planning next. The IMAGE blog brings those stories online for transmission at the click of a mouse.