Industry Insider: Ashlee Rudert
cdmiranda | Date posted: December 29th, 2010
LoveSewing: What does your job as a fabric researcher for Rugby Ralph Lauren entail?
Ashlee Rudert: At Rugby, we are focused on authentic, heritage and vintage inspiration. I work with concept and design teams to provide them with fabrics to inspire them or to directly translate and reproduce the fabrics used in vintage garments. I also work with the design team on helping them select fabrics for a full range of woven garments and accessories. I have to fulfill both the expectations of the design team and the challenges of globally producing the line-while giving the customer something they are excited about.
LS: What are some things you consider when deciding on a fabric?
AR: One of the more challenging aspects of my job is that I have to coach a fabric mill through many stages of fabric development, hoping each sample will improve until it’s perfect. On a more basic level, I am given ideas for garments-a silk dress, a great corduroy pant, a gorgeous leather jacket, a chic wool skirt-and I see in my mind how it needs to fit, what its’ end use is and what it will be worn with. I consider what fibres will be best, how I want the fabric to drape and what colour, pattern or weave will make it special. Then, I meet with fabric vendors. You have to touch and feel everything! See it with your hands. Pick it up, run it over your skin, stretch it, shake it, look at it in different lighting.
LS: What’s the most rewarding part of being a sewing instructor with The Sewing Studio in New York City?
AR: Seeing my students start to gain the same enjoyment and fulfillment from sewing that I experience makes me happy. I like to see students begin to connect the dots on their own once I have given them the basic tools to work from.