Internship Spotlight: Gabriella Meyer
Recently, Gabriella Meyer (BFA '17) was interviewed in The New York Times for her limited-edition capsule line of #MeToo movement denim wear.
Before this incredible success, she interned with designer Laura Pulice-Petrielli. During her internship, she created a lace design that Beyoncé's stylist (yes, THAT Beyoncé) fell in love with and used in tour costuming. In 2017, we talked with Meyer about her internship experiences and her tips for building a career in fashion.
Designing work for Beyoncé is a huge gig. How did you get the opportunity?
It was a combination of getting a great internship, and having a great boss. I worked for Vex Clothing this summer, a latex fetish wear clothing line. The owner/designer, Laura Pulice-Petrielli, was pretty much a one-person show. Laura and I clicked immediately, and she liked my style. I think the key to a successful internship is making sure you're going to be doing interesting work; I could tell Laura was going to challenge me.
Describe your role and the approach you took to creating?
Laura showed me some sample work, and explained that in recent months she had begun to use a laser cut fishnet pattern for some of her garments. She was looking to create a new pattern to be laser cut into latex, and ultimately put me in charge of the design. I had a bit of previous experience with laser cutting through my 3D Foundation course freshman year, but working with latex, and knowing its limitations, was entirely new to me. After a couple of sample cuts, we finally locked down a lace-inspired design.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Latex clothing often fits like a second skin, allowing you freedom of movement. Unfortunately for the designer, that great stretch you get from latex, has to be estimated and accounted for. In my lace design, I had to decide how big the pattern could be without puckering or ripping once it took form on the body, and then proportionally reduce it for the initial cuts.
What does it feel like to have your work connected to such an iconic figure this early in your career?
It was ridiculously exciting, but more important to me, was the idea that Beyoncé’s stylist team loved my lace.
I also had another exciting opportunity two summers ago. My good friend interned for Gloria Sanchez Productions, a LA-based talent agency run by Jessica Elbaum, and a Will Ferrell and Adam McKay company. They needed business cards designed to start their venture, and I submitted various designs to be considered. They liked my work and chose me to create the final product. I have also had some film and editing experience, along with being hired by a few other designers for various projects.
What's next for you?
Thanks to my internship at Vex Clothing, I have decided to focus in on a career geared towards fashion and textiles. I am in the midst of creating my own line that will use recycled denim as means for garment construction.
I am excited to see what’s in stock in the future, career wise. The Stamps School has given me an amazing foundation, most importantly, exposure to many mediums and resources. I have always been confident in my art and design skills, but it’s a whole other thing to put it into practice, and Michigan has certainly helped me open that door.
With commencement quickly approaching, what advice would you give to the student who questions whether an opportunity like this might open up for them?
First and foremost, you have to put yourself out there. I believe picking an internship where you have direct exposure to the artist is most important. By day three at Vex Clothing, Laura already had me redesigning her clothing labels. That would never happen at a large fashion house, especially this early in a person’s career.
At the undergraduate level, an internship without pay is the unfortunate reality, but you do want to walk away with a padded portfolio. I purposely worked in-house for Vex Clothing just a few days a week so that I could also hold down a paying job.
Title Image: Daniela Vesco