Alumni Stories

Heather Ditson

Fashion Design

Head Designer for Calvin Klein @ G-III Apparel
The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Heather Ditson

There are so many things to enjoy [about my career]. But most of all is the reward of seeing [my] designs in stores - or even better, on people. Heather Ditson , Head Designer for Calvin Klein @ G-III Apparel Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design, 2009 , The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago

Heather Ditson is working as a head designer for Calvin Klein @ G-III Apparel in New York City. Heather is responsible for designing and developing seasonal print/color directions for swimwear as well as developing new silhouettes, trims, prints, and embellishments. She also manages the design team and oversees and manages fittings. Heather works with overseas vendors and her in-house team. “In the early stages of design, I am working with a graphic artist to get the prints and color story perfect. Next, I focus on silhouettes and new body development,” she says. Many weeks of fittings and approvals follow before the design moves forward. “[We have] internal meetings to make sure we are all still confident about our selections.”

Heather’s swimwear design career began with the Anne Cole brand. “I was involved in the early stages of his now-renowned, successful label.” Heather adds that business growth at Calvin Klein has increased since she’s come on board. “Being a large part of these labels’ success makes me feel extremely proud in every way.” To gain inspiration, Heather visits large and small beach towns and stays tuned-in to trends, fashion shows, and magazines.

Heather, who in 2009 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Illinois Institute of Art — Chicago, says that her education provided a well-rounded overview of the fashion industry. “The technical courses offered in Adobe Suite, Web PDM, and U4ia were essential to my success.” Heather recommends that current students take on a variety of internships to learn the industry. “This will help you to determine your long term career goals.” She adds that knowing one part of the industry doesn’t automatically mean you can move into another area. “If you [have] five years a swimsuit designer it doesn’t mean you are qualified to move right into an evening wear design position. Changing fields is like starting over in your career. Make sure you are happy doing what you’re doing.”

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