We had the good fortune of connecting with Gerald Washington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gerald, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Making the decision to move to New Jersey/NYC to find a job in the fashion industry with no leads, directly after earning my fashion degree from The Art Institute of Dallas with only $300 to my name. That was a scary decision, but I stepped out on faith and made the move. I had no idea of what I was really getting myself into, but I felt in my soul that it was what I should do. I’m forever grateful for making that decision because things began to happen for me pretty quickly once I got settled. Fear tried to take me out of the game, but I was very determined and very sure that this is what I’m supposed to do. This decision landed me in rooms I never imagined sitting in.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Once I made the move to the east coast, I spent all of my free time searching for a job in the fashion industry. After about 2 months of interviewing, I landed my 1st fashion job at Lela Rose corporate office where I worked as a Production Assistant working closely with their manufacturers in the New York fashion district. Working in production, I was able to see the brand’s ideas come to life from start to finish and be a part of a very small department who was responsible for having samples made and manufactured in bulk and shipped to major department stores in pristine conditions and timely manner. There were many challenges I faced in that role, but I was up for the challenge and treated the brand as if it was my own. Due to entry level wages I had to look for other opportunities in order to survive in the concrete jungle. I would have stayed at the company for a long time, because that job was so amazing. I learned a lot about fittings, manufacturing, ordering fabrics in bulk, and ultimately how to run a clothing brand, but I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a designer. I just needed the right opportunity. In order to take my career to the next level and make more money, I applied for another Production Assistant job I’ve seen posted for Sunrise Brands. I went through the interview process and was told we don’t think you’ll be a good fit for this department, but looking at your portfolio, you’ll be great for the design department. A couple of days later I interviewed with the head designer of Girl’s tops and denim and the head designer of Women’s tops and denim with a referral from the Production Manager. I received an offer on the spot and worked on both design teams simultaneously. During that time I was in awe because one of my biggest dreams came true, to be a fashion designer in New York City. I’ve gained so much knowledge about producing garments at a small and large scale domestically and internationally.
Fast forward to today, I collaborated with SHEIN to design a collaboration collection which has sold really really well. I’ve also made the decision to work for myself as a freelance designer, and have recently started a brand www.studio7ten.com in which I will be applying all of the knowledge I’ve learned while working in the fashion industry. I’m incredibly excited for what’s next in life and in my career. This is only the beginning.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would definitely go shopping at Northpark and Centre (my favorite sneaker store) because we love to shop. Meet up with some other friends at a restaurant for good food and good convo. Afterwards, we would either go bar hopping Uptown or attend a houseparty, depending on what’s going on in the city during that time. When we get together we always have a great time no matter what we do.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognize my family and friends, who have supported, encouraged, loved, and prayed for me through this journey. To Sarah Wilmot and Twyla Grider, the two designers who I assisted in NYC. They both have taught me so much about the industry and have pushed me beyond limits. For that I am forever grateful.
Instagram: @justgee______________ and @studio7tenonline
Studio 7 ten