Each spring many high school graduates from St. Charles Parish bid farewell to family and friends, and move on to college, preparing themselves for the real world. Yet, as time passes, old friends and classmates may wonder, "Where are they now?"
Tobie Fletcher, an associate designer for Esprit Kids in New York, says that she cannot remember the exact moment when she first decided that she wanted to be a fashion designer, but it is a childhood dream that, luckily, she has been able to fulfill.
Fletcher recalls spending hours at the St. Charles Parish Library browsing reference books trying to map out the best path to becoming a fashion designer, and continuing her education after high school seemed like the perfect starting point.
Fletcher graduated in the top ten of her class from Hahnville High School in May of 1999, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Apparel, Merchandising and Design from Louisiana State University in 2003, graduating with cum laude honors.
Fletcher was then accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology, and made her way to New York.
In 2004, she completed her associate’s degree in Apparel Design at FIT, where she also graduated with cum laude honors.
Fletcher says that she decided to approach the world of fashion from a business aspect, rather than a creative one, because it seemed as though it would be a more logical and beneficial move for her.
Hence, her decision to first attend LSU to study merchandising before enrolling into FIT. A choice that she says she has never regretted.
"My knowledge of merchandising has given me an insight into the industry that other designers are lacking," said Fletcher. "I am not the most creative designer, but my designs actually sell because I have a realistic understanding of the business side of fashion."
Fletcher said that even with both degrees in hand, it still took her approximately six months to land a job as a designer.
Fletcher was first hired by Esprit Kids as a design assistant, and was then promoted to associate designer for the young girl’s fashion line.
The next move for Fletcher at Esprit Kids would be head designer, and she says that she has had her eye on that position for a while.
"I never thought that I would be a children's wear designer, but designing for children gives me the creative freedom that the mass market usually doesn’t allow when designing for women," said Fletcher.
Fletcher said that a lot of hard work and dedication was required before she was able to bring to life her dream of being a designer.
"I don't know what my ultimate goal is, but I would like to continue my work in the fashion world possibly by becoming a head designer or creative director," said Fletcher.
When asked what her dream job would be, Fletcher mentioned two notable designers she would enjoy working with.
“I would love to work for Catimini, a European label, because their unique style for children’s clothing is sophisticated yet whimsical,” said Fletcher. “And it would be great to be part of Prada’s design team because of the label’s combination of classic beauty and innovation.”
|Tobie Fletcher, an associate children’s wear designer for Esprit Kids, graduated from HHS in May of 1999.|