Get ready, folks! It's time for part 3 of our team introduction blog series. And this week, we're ecstatic to present Monika Harris, our talented technical designer. 🎉
Monika and I first connected on LinkedIn in January 2019, when I was dipping my toes into the freelancing water. This was before KRSTN NDRSN existed as a design agency, back when it was a portfolio website displaying my work.
I have this great habit of requesting people on LI who look like cool people I want to know. So I added her thinking that her background looked like a cool mashup of brands and designers I admired. She was at Aerie at the time, and I loved everything they were doing to make inclusive lingerie and swim. Strangely, we never spoke beyond that request until 2 years later.
When we first *actually* met via email, Monika was responding to a post I had put out about looking for a 3d technical designer. She had no experience in 3d yet, but she was EAGER and willing to throw down the work to learn it. We started working together in early 2021, around March. She stuck around for a few months, and we got to know each other, but then she decided she needed to really hit the road and push the pedal to the metal on learning Clo3d while she traveled the world on a sabbatical of sorts. She and I stopped working together around July 2021, but by the end of the year, she returned, ready to hit the ground running and well on her way toward Clo3d mastery.
Ever since then, her expertise in Clo3d, keen eye for garment fitting, and unparalleled understanding of product development have been incredibly valuable for our team in creating perfectly-fitting garments for our clients.
But wait, there's more! We sat down with Monika recently for an interview where she shared her background, technical design process, and even tips for working in fashion while adventuring around the globe. 🚐 🌎 Keep reading to discover the amazing work of Monika Harris!
Where did you go to school?
"Academy of Art University in San Francisco."
What did you study?
"I studied Product Design."
What made you decide to pursue a career in technical design?
"I spent my time making swimwear and other garments in school and realized my passion was within the fashion world."
How long have you been in the fashion industry?
"I've been working in the fashion industry for 9 years."
What other things do you like to do in your free time?
"Hiking, exploring new towns, and eating new foods."
What's your favorite adventure?
"Shortly after moving to NYC in 2017, I rented giant BMW motorbikes with one of my best friends and she and I went and rode from the ocean to the Sahara over a couple weeks."
What are your favorite brands or designers?
"Selva Negra, Paloma Wool, Lisa Says Gah."
If you weren’t doing the job you have now, what could you see yourself doing?
"Nothing! My passion is exactly what I do every day!"
What’s your job title?
"Technical Designer and Designer."
How did you join the KRSTN NDRSN team?
"Reached out after seeing Kristen pop up on my Linkedin."
What’s it like working with a fully remote team?
"Really great actually. We always have an open line of communication, which is extremely important."
You & Kristen have met a few times in person, what was that like?
"We are both silly and are more like friends than coworkers."
What are your favorite parts of working with the team?
"We always share what we are working on in our personal lives, that gives a strong team dynamic and allows us to really be ourselves in all settings."
What tasks do you spend most of your time doing?
"Mostly fit comments, fitting garments, working on construction methods, and helping design."
What’s your workspace like?
"Tiny, and in a van! But the design is actually extremely nice for working. With fully adjustable tables, ergonomic seat positions, and cozy cushions, you can really work for hours without pain or tension. I work on my Macbook Pro with a stand and a secondary trackpad."
How did you get into swim and intimates design work?
"I always had a knack for understanding aesthetics with swim and lingerie. I like the psychology of what a well-fitted garment can do, also how a garment looks when worn when you look down."
What have been some of the biggest challenges for you while working remotely as a technical designer?
"Sometimes not having the garment in hand can be tricky, but the team is always there to help mitigate any questions I have regarding fit, construction, or measurements."
What's your favorite part of your job?
"Seeing the garments come to life! It’s always amazing to see a sample after seeing the garment only in 2D."
What's your least favorite part of your job?
"Grading can be a bit of a headache, but mostly because you need to put your head down and concentrate 100%, no distractions."
How have you designed your van to fit your work and lifestyle?
"Ensuring the space is idealized for long hours. Including things like ventilation, heater, light, and airflow."
What are your must-haves for working remotely?
"A great team! Also, my Starlink internet is a must. I can be essentially anywhere in the world and get extremely high speeds. Places where cell service just cannot reach"
How do you structure your days so that you’re able to work but still explore the areas that you’re traveling?
"Packing the van and jumping in the driver or passenger seat is actually quite simple. The van is designed that way. So when work is done for the day, it’s easy to pack up and go and explore. Currently, I'm in Peru and you can essentially park or camp anywhere since there is so much public land. If I need to jump on a call, at a moment's notice, I can just jump into the back and pull open my laptop and jump in. For instance, if I'm in a market or exploring some ruins, if I see a ping on my phone, I can hop back in the van and jump right in."
What software/applications do you use?
"Clo, Adobe Illustrator, and Procreate."
What are you looking forward to learning next?
"Continuing to force myself to sketch more - using the iPad is a great tool, but does have a bit of a learning curve."
We are so lucky to have Monika on the KRSTN NDRSN team! Her unique ability to work remotely and travel around the globe while still producing high-quality and perfectly fitting swim and intimates for our clients is truly inspiring. With her adventurous spirit, we know she will continue to make amazing contributions to the company.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know more about her and how she balances exploration and career. If you want even more insight into the way she works, follow us on Instagram where we post reels with behind-the-scenes footage from our projects together!
And stay tuned for next week’s spotlight feature on Riley Walker, our talented Marketing Manager.