We’re not finished introducing you to some of the many incredible team members who have been part of bringing Old Navy’s new Denim Fit Experience to life. Our Team That’s Got Your Back(side) content series continues, and this week we're excited to spotlight Demetrius Chisholm, Old Navy’s Denim Technical Design Director.
Please introduce yourself!
Hello 👋 My name is Demetrius Chisholm. I am currently Director of Technical Design for Old Navy Denim Production. I have been with the Gap Inc. organization for over six years with all my time dedicated to the Old Navy brand. During my time here I have led Mens, Womens and Kids divisions across all categories. Before my venture to the West Coast, I lived in NYC and led the Technical Design team for a couple different apparel brands. I have a MS degree in Fashion Design and BS in Civil Engineering. I won’t dive into the civil engineering aspect…but that was my previous career before becoming a fashion designer. After doing fashion design for a few years, I kind of fell into technical design, which is where I’ve stayed since.
Tell us – what exactly does a Tech Designer do?
I think it helps to first ask what differentiates a technical designer from a designer. The easiest answer would be the analogy of an engineer to an architect. The technical designer is the engineer. The designer is the architect. The technical designer takes the mental concept of the designer and helps them go from that concept to realized physical intent. The job of a technical designer is to guide the creative process and determine the most adequate way to achieve the intended result.
When it comes to jeans, fit is everything (and we hear that there are over 20 styles across 15 leg shapes, 5 rises, 4 stretch levels, and over 150 washes, plus inclusive sizing across the full Women’s assortment. Whew!). How does your role play into the breadth of what Old Navy offers?
Fit is EVERYTHING when it comes to denim. Because denim is one of the most versatile garments within a customer’s clothing assortment, they will probably own a variety of pairs. This leads to why breadth of offering is so important. For instance, the OG jeans have become a name staple to the Old Navy customer, so to build on this franchise (which is how we refer to classic, long-time product offerings), we can offer the customer more variety by leveraging the fit. To accomplish this, the Technical Design team takes the foundational pattern and then incorporates variations of leg shapes, rises, stretch levels and washes. By adding fashion and trend fits on top of that, we broaden breadth of offering in our assortment even further. Technical Design fits all these variations and new trends to make sure that we are giving our customer the most consistent and well-fitting products possible.
And how exactly do you define success through your work?
I live by the statement “fit costs nothing…but it can cost you everything.” Success for me as a Technical Designer is defined by how much our customers love our fits. The more our customer loves us as a brand because of the way our products fit, the more competitive we are within the apparel market. Although we are not saving lives here, I want Old Navy customers to love how they look, feel confident in what they wear and appreciate the quality of fit they are getting at a value price. You can’t beat that 😊
What is your go-to denim bottom at Old Navy?
The Straight Taper. I simply LOVE that fit. It gives you a nice, relaxed top half and then tapers perfectly for a clean, finished leg shape.
What’s it like to work at Old Navy?
Old Navy is a very exciting, energetic, agile, strategic and family-driven brand. Teams are passionate about what they do and obsess over the details. Although we work in a fast-paced environment, we still find ways to have fun and smile through all dynamics. I personally love the fact that we provide our customer with quality fits at a value that are comparable and sometimes even better than our premium-priced counterparts. It feels good to know that we prioritize accessible, affordable clothing.
What about work / life balance? How do you manage?
Although most individuals think of work-life balance as a scale between work and everything else they want to do (which we call life), my situation is a little different because I am in a career that I absolutely love. So, I will say my balance is between what I love and who I love. This balance is about harmonious integration and making sure that I prioritize both. I give precedence to the important moments, and also make sure I am 100% present in those moments. I won’t say that I don’t get stressed some days when the two happen to collide…especially during those peak Covid days. SHEESH! But I am always looking to find that state of equilibrium and remain fluid so that I can maintain my physical, emotional, and mental well-being for my love(s) and those that love me.
Delivering dream denim is just the start. Like what you see? Join our team of bold, creative trailblazers as we build one of the world’s largest apparel brands, committed to the democracy of service and style for all.
Read more from the Team That’s Got Your Back(side), including Lauren Bradshaw, Old Navy Editorial Director and Melissa Caminiti, Visual Merchandiser.