I was fortunate to get interview the talented Ingrid Epitro, senior designer of Minty Meets Munt. We spoke about her fashion career, her passions, trials and tribulations and why she feels this is the career for her.
Tell us a little about yourself
I’m currently the senior designer for a wonderful Australian brand called MINTY MEETS MUNT. I’ve been a designer now for nearly 9 years and I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this forever!
How did you get your start in fashion?
I was fresh out of college when I landed my first job as a design room assistant. I was determined, so I started from the bottom and worked my way up.
Why did you choose fashion?
It’s all I ever wanted to do since I was 12. I really enjoyed the process of creating something from scratch. I love clothes and how they can transform you depending on your mood and how you want to express yourself on any given day.
Is the fashion industry what you expected it to be?
I learnt at college that it would be a competitive industry, but then in the real world you also realise that its a serious business. You are not just competing with your classmates, you are now competing with a global market. It’s challenging, but I like the challenge.
What does your job consist of?
I frequently travel to Hong Kong and China for fabric sourcing and to also liaise with our suppliers. Sourcing trips are tough and there’s a lot to cover in a short time. Once I’ve finished sourcing for upcoming season, when I arrive back home its pretty much straight back to work.
We are never working on just one project, seasons roll over into each other so there’s never really a break from range to range. We have to be really efficient and organised when it comes to planning our working week.
We are always on the move creating new stories and always researching new trends. Fashion never sleeps!!
Describe a typical week
My day to day consists of much the same, whether its reading through the hundred emails from suppliers, researching new and upcoming trends from the runways, searching for the next big trend!
We have samples coming in and out daily so we are always working very closely with our garments and making sure that the fit, quality and overall look is achieved. We have weekly production meeting to make sure that our deliveries are on target.
At the start of any new season I will take a week to sift through the trends and as a team we will breakdown the trends we are going to focus on, then I hit pen to paper and start sketching and start sorting through fabrics which will be used in the range.
The most exciting part is seeing what you have sketched come to life and then having the look-book shoot. Its great to see what the photographer and stylist create on the day with your work. There is a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into each collection.
Roughly how many hours do you work per week?
Designers never rest, we are always switched on – whether it’s reading through magazines, researching the web before bed or shopping. We are always looking for new details that inspire our own work. A general working week will be anywhere from 40hrs/9hr days when we are wrapping up a season to 75hr week/15hr days when we are on deadline. It’s never a 9-5 job.
What are the key skills you need for your role?
A great eye for design detail and an understanding of how garments are constructed and how they should fit the body. I think one of the most important key skills is being able to identify and understand the market you design for.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I think the fact that we are able to create clothes that people are drawn to and the fact that people are excited by what we do is really special.
What do you find challenging?
Dealing with overseas factories is sometimes a huge strain. The cultural difference and the language barrier can mean that sometimes there are miscommunications in the process which can often have a serious affect on the business.
What do you do in your time off?
I like to travel a lot, whether it’s a weekend away or a big overseas trip. Travel inspires me and gives me great opportunity me to reflect. I love going to watch foreign films and seeing bands with my boyfriend. But there is nothing like a big cook up with friends and family on the weekends.
What’s the highlight of your career so far?
That’s a tough question as I’m only 28 and I think there are many highlights ahead! I think my whole career has been a highlight. I’ve been lucky to have worked for some amazing brands, especially now with MINTY MEETS MUNT. My designs have had great press over the years and I was really proud when Jennifer Hawkins for Myer chose one of my designs for their TV campaign. I’ve learned so much from some really talented people and I think that’s a highlight in itself. I’m excited for the future!
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in fashion?
Work hard, believe in yourself and don’t allow people to tell you that you can’t make it!
Finish this sentence: Fashion is…
Coco Chanel sums it up for me: “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”
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