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Targeting a Career in Fashion: Ehrin Kelley '09
Ehrin Kelley '09 had dreamed of becoming the next Donna Karan or
There was just one hitch.
"I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I wanted to create clothes. But
That realization pushed Kelley to think outside of the canvas and create a custom-fitted career. Now, as an associate textile designer at Target, she's able to combine her passion for fashion and her exceptional drawing ability.
"It's the perfect combination," says Kelley. "I use painting and drawing to create artwork on clothing without having to sew or manufacture clothes. I sometimes think, 'I get to draw something today, and it's going to end up in stores.' It's surreal."
Kelley became interested in textile design while completing an independent project in weaving during her senior year. It reminded her, she says, of the fashion illustrations she often painted as a child.
"I was always interested in clothes, and I loved shopping and looking at different outfits. I always had that creative side to me," she says. "The [fashion] program opened up a lot of opportunities for me. I learned that I can't sew clothes, but then I found out about textile design and using materials that I hadn't thought of before. The overall experience was great."
Kelley earned a bachelor's degree in fashion design with a co-major in studio art and went on to study at Philadelphia University, where she earned a master's degree in textile design. While there, Kelley landed a 10-week summer internship at Target's corporate headquarters in Minneapolis.
"I was on the boys' [clothing] team. My project was researching and creating a line for Target.com," she says. "It gave me a preview of what it would be like to have a career in textile design."
Kelley, who was offered a full-time position following her internship, is currently part of the design team working on girls' clothing. "I work on any prints and patterns for garments, dresses, tunics. For example, I'll create the flower that goes on a T-shirt," she says.
Originally from Chambersburg, Pa., Kelley says she's settling into adulthood in Minneapolis. She recently returned from a trip to Paris, one of the fashion capitals of the world, and is already sketching new ideas inspired by the city. In five years, she would like to cross off two more dreams from her wish list: Move to New York City, and start a business creating prints and selling artwork.
"Right now, I'm happy where I am. I'm constantly learning and growing, and I'm taking advantage of every opportunity at Target," she says. "If you're passionate about what you do and you're persistent, you can definitely succeed."