Amanda Bear


Amanda Bear

Fashion Designer

Los Angeles, CA

Twitter @FashionMercenary
Instagram @FashionMercenary
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What do you do?

I’m a fashion designer, I design clothing for women and girls, and also help with development to prepare clothing designs to be manufactured.

Give us a specific example of how you do your job like a BOSS. 

I am great at getting into my clients’ heads and figuring out a way to make what they want to make happen.  For example, a client will come to me with an idea for a product, with a certain functionality, and I will help them make it look great, as well as make it work better than they even thought it would.


How did you get into this field? What were some of the challenges along the way?

I was interested in art and making things since I can remember, so it seemed like a good fit for me.  I went to art school for a couple of years and then transferred to get my BFA in fashion design and take some business classes.  I worked in the fashion industry for a few years and then opened up shop for myself.  Starting out I was just working from my old college computer in my living room, but I worked hard to get established and now have my own studio and I’m even able to give work to others!


For other people in your field, what do they usually lack?

Designers these days does don’t have the inside and out knowledge of garment construction, and the way fabrics work. You need to have the ability to not only draw a beautiful picture, but also to be able to imagine how it will go together and work in relation to the human body, and then to communicate that to the people who will actually be making it through your drawing.


What do you suggest designers to do to build that skill?

Lots and lots of practice!  While you are just starting out you should be practicing constructing and fitting garments, draping, working with instructors, and practicing your drawing skills.  I find life drawing sessions to be extremely helpful.


What are you working on right now?

I’m working on development for a vintage inspired contemporary line with a lot of fun faux furs, and consulting on several swimwear lines.  That’s what happens in the springtime!


What is frustrating you right now?

It’s frustrating finding skilled sewers that are dependable!  I would be able to work on many more projects if I could find some quality help.


Where do you typically start looking for skilled sewers? Why are they hard to find?

There is a shortage of skilled labor in the US in general.  People don’t get out of school and learn a trade.  They want to work in service, retail, or go to college.  I look on craigslist, bulletin boards downtown, and I’m always asking for word of mouth.


What are you putting off right now, but you know you have to get to, but you haven’t had the time?

It’s difficult to come up with the amount of content for social media while trying to work on real projects.


How has social media helped your business?

It helps new clients to find me on the internet when they are searching for help on a new project. It also helps to have an established presence for submitting to projects, to build trust.

What are all the tools (digital or physical) you use on a regular basis?

Pen and paper are still my best friends, but I use Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop on my MacBook Pro constantly, with my drawing tablet.  I build my website in Wordpress.

I use pencils, scissors, rulers, my trusty Wolf dress form, and my Pfaff sewing machine to create patterns and fit samples.  My iPhone is invaluable, I use it to create invoices on the go, calculate fabric costs, and text progress pics to clients.

What kind of opportunities/projects are you looking for?

I’m looking for fashion and apparel design projects for startups and small clothing companies.


What is it about startups and small clothing companies that appeal to you?

I like working with people who are still excited about fashion, and I love seeing their faces when a new drawing or sample turns out better than they imagined it. I also enjoy doing a larger swath of the project, which happens more often with small companies.


Describe your ideal client/job/collaboration. 

My ideal project is one where the client comes to me with clear, researched ideas, solid information about the target consumer, a budget, and a deadline.  My absolute favorite thing is when a client actually produces and launches the items that I have poured my energy into!  


What are your deal breakers? When do you say “no” or quit.

I can’t work with clients who refuse to follow my professional advice on materials, etc.


What is your hourly rate, retainer, or salary range? 

I usually make quotes based on the specific project, but per regular garment(non-technical) a good expected amount to budget for design and development would be $300-$500.

How should someone approach you about working with you?

I prefer to start with a Skype conversation, that medium helps to build trust by seeing each other face to face, and the ability to go back and forth with images and sketches is great!

This member profile was originally published on March 2015.