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Freelance Fashion DesignerNew York City
“I started college way before El Centro and almost got my bachelor’s degree, then took a break from college. When I went to El Centro, it was strictly for the Fashion Design program. I just took what I needed — pattern making and sewing were especially helpful. I was already freelancing by then and never had time to go back and take the couple of general courses I was missing for the associate degree.
“I had been doing some costume work and pieces for visual merchandising in Dallas, but there’s not a huge fashion design industry there. Then I interned with a designer, Yeohlee, who worked out of New York, and I had always wanted to live here — so even though I didn’t have anything specific lined up, I just packed my suitcase and computer and moved here.
“What I appreciate most about my education from El Centro are the technical aspects of the trade that I learned there; they’ve helped me tremendously. I can look at a garment and tell what the fit problems are, what needs to be changed, if it’s going to look good — we just got a lot of technical patternmaking skills at El Centro that a lot of people don’t have a background in.
“I’ve met people who went to other fashion design schools and I’d put what I know against what they know any day. A friend of mine who also went through El Centro’s program, who’s a menswear designer here in New York, says the same thing. A lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing.
“Working in the industry is obviously different from school because the pace is so fast. You learn where you can take shortcuts. But there’s always a right way to do things, and at El Centro we learned how to do everything the right way.
“I learned a lot from Michael Anthony, not just the technical aspects of fashion design, but a lot of wisdom I didn’t pay much attention to until I got out of school. He would say things like, ‘Don’t burn your bridges behind you; learn how to work with people and how to network. Watch other people and learn from their mistakes before you make your own.’ I appreciate that advice a lot more now that I’m out in the industry and see that it’s all true, that he was right. I always wanted to do fashion design and live in New York. I had an eye towards fashion in high school, but there wasn’t much for me there in Weatherford, Texas. You have to find your niche where you’re supposed to be. When I got here, it was amazing. Fashion is really a viable industry here.
“Some day I want to have my own collection; in fact, I’m working on a collection now of men’s and women’s wear. Going through the program at El Centro changed the whole course of my life.”
Formerly an assistant designer for a women’s wear line, Jeremy Freeze has been working as a freelance fashion designer in New York City since January 2009. He took all of the Fashion Design courses at El Centro but went to work before completing two general courses for the associate degree. He has been working on a collaborative womenswear collection with El Centro alumnus and former classmate Diego Vela, who is also based in New York City.