Meet Thomas Jefferson University (formerly Philadelphia University) Fashion Design Alum, Lauren Casale. Lauren graduated in 2015 and is currently a 3D Specialist with a training focus for Browzwear– a 3D virtual fashion design software and tool for designers. We caught up with Lauren to learn more about their career journey and what inspires their creativity.
Tell us a little bit about your life and career journey since your graduation from the Fashion Design Program.
“After graduating, I moved to NYC where I started interning with the Kennth Cole menswear team. Shortly after, I moved onto an assistant designer role at a mass market licensee called Intradeco Apparel, where I stayed for about 5 years. In that role, I managed men’s thermal underwear, activewear, and casual knit design. I was able to dip my toes into many different aspects of the production and design process, even packaging design. I was introduced to Browzwear through this role. I needed to submit all of our designs, color and fit approvals through Browzwear’s VStitcher and Stylezone tools. I was immediately enamored by the innovation these 3D tools held. Intradeco gave me the opportunity to take the VStitcher foundational training course at FIT and ultimately be promoted to 3D Designer. As a 3D designer for Intradeco, I managed all mens 3D style creation and submission to vendors. While I was enjoying being a 3D designer I was striving to do more with my skills, which pushed me to reach out to Browzwear for a job.
At Browzwear, my title is 3D Specialist II with a Training focus, which means that I train/teach our clients how to use our softwares, create specialized and custom trainings, along with creating connections with our strategic clients, such as Nike, Lululemon, and Kohls. I was even able to create a free trial learning experience for new clients called Browzwear First Look. Moving to a tech company after living and breathing design for so many years after graduating was the last thing I expected to see on my career bingo card. It taught me that not only is the fashion industry ever evolving, but you can never look at the industry under one type of lens because you can find something completely unexpected to fuel your passion. Outside of my corporate design career, I found myself becoming apart of the New York City Drag scene under the name Lozo. I reignited my creativity when I was able to repackage it into drag. In addition to performing, I’ve designed costumes for multiple Drag Kings, Things, and Queens and even started DJ-ing when The Cake Boys asked me to DJ their 6 week Drag King and Thing competition “Takes the Cake.” No matter how differently my career path has played out, I’ve always continued to be a creative and adapt that creativity into each role I’ve taken on.”
Who are some of your design heroes?
“I would have to say Theirry Mugler. He’s created one of the most inclusive and iconic brands in queer history, and as a queer person Manfred’s work has continuously inspired my journey and my art.”
Tell us about the colors, landscapes, artists, or architecture that inspires your design work.
“I’m always inspired by clowns first and foremost, more specifically antique porcelain clown dolls. I’m also very inspired by maximalist interior design and any architecture that looks like it is probably haunted.”
What do you love about your current job/ workplace?
“When I was designing for mass market I’d pitch the same core active tee season after season with little to no changes and it became mind numbing. What I love the most now is how different each day is as a 3D Specialist. I’ve been with Browzwear a little of a year and a half and I’ve never felt like any of the work I’ve done here is redundant and I constantly feel challenged.”
What surprising skill, technique, or method did you learn in school that you are still using?
“I find myself using a lot of skills I learned in school pretty regularly. I kept a good amount of my design textbooks and still reference them when it comes to garment creation. I’ve even found ways to adapt the skills into 3D apparel design. Exploring how to adapt draping into a 3D environment has been something that puts me back into school and remembering what we were doing in classes.”
If you could go back in time, what do you wish you could tell your freshman/ senior self?
“I’d tell my college self that your body of work is always going to push beyond gender norms, lean into it and start designing with drag artists in mind now.”
What’s next for you?
“While I can’t go into too much detail, I’ve been working on creating my first collection as Lozo and hope to release it this coming year.”