Today @ Colorado State has been replaced by SOURCE. This site exists as an archive of Today @ Colorado State stories between January 1, 2009 and September 8, 2014.


The persistence of vision in the design industry

October 24, 2011
by Beth Etter (M.A.'03)

Carissa Stastny (’06) is innovative and persistent. As a recent graduate and clothing designer, she was set on landing a job after her internship at Nanette Lepore, a high-end clothing designer in New York City, had ended.

Nanette wasn’t hiring at the time, but Stastny persisted, sending three portfolios and multiple shoes – size 6, with a cherry-wood heel and red straps. The shoes came with a note: “Just trying to get my foot in the door. I know we’d make a great pair.”

The payoff

Stastny’s persistence paid off. “I think Nanette probably hired me so I’d stop sending her shoes,” she jokes, but for the past five years, Stastny has worked her way up within the company, enjoying the creativity and rigor that are required for the intense fashion industry. Stastny now is the sample room manager as well as a designer for Nanette Lepore. She is in charge of all of the cutting and sewing done in-house, preps garments for the fittings and handles photo shoot approvals.

Soon, Stastny will transition into a new role as design director, incorporating both design and merchandising skills. She will oversee the development of the each collection for the showroom, from initial research and design to developing each line into a cohesive delivery. “I’ve enjoyed growing into a more confident designer – about clothing, in general, and quality. I like who I work for, who I work with, and what I do,” she says.

The long-term investment

Although posted hours are 9 to 6, most days you can find Stastny working from 8:30 to 7, or even later. “I didn’t know what I was getting into, but it has paid off,” she says. “You don’t realize it until you work in it. I’ve invested a lot of time and a lot of myself into my job, which is what I’m happy to do. This isn’t the right field if you want 9 to 5. You have to love it, and I do,” she says.

Although Stastny works in high-end fashion, one of her favorite activities is shopping at thrift stores.

“I love ARC! Ninety percent of my wardrobe is from there,” she says. Her interest in vintage clothing inspires not only her personal wardrobe, but her work as well. “A lot of the inspiration for the items we design in-house are based on vintage prints and styles,” she says.

So what’s the latest trend to hit stores? Length! “Everything is getting longer. They say that sleeves and hem lines get longer in a recession,” she says. “But, we are focusing on colors, brighter colors. You don’t want long and dark.”