If you’ve ever wanted to wear your jeans at the gym, Stacy Keetell, Product Development Manager at lucy, is the engineer you need to talk to! She leads the team that helps factories understand how to construct lucy’s activewear, and she just helped launch lucy’s indiGO line, a brand new hyperreal printed fabric that looks like denim but breathes like yoga pants. Cool, right?!
From fashion to “pattern engineer,” here’s how Stacy makes sure lucy’s lines are perfect for women all over the globe.
What’s your title?
Product Development Manager
Which team do you work on?
Product Development Team
In your own words, what do you do?
I manage the garment prototyping process for lucy, working closely with a team of talented technical designers. Once the garment sketches are created by the designer, my team builds the technical specs that get passed along to the factory. The information not only includes the design sketches & material information, but also the appropriate spec measurements for the style. Along with this, we provide a pattern reference for them to use. From the technical specs, the factory has all the information they need to make a garment prototype. Once the prototype is made, we work closely with the design and product management team to fit & make adjustments to the garment on a fit model. Throughout this process, we continue to fine tune the fit until we’ve made the perfect fitting garment. This process requires us to make changes to the garment’s pattern by strategically re-engineering the pattern pieces & revising the measurement specs at each prototype stage.
How did you discover engineering?
I had never heard of product development or technical design until I was in college. Before then, I thought that you either went to school to become a designer, a buyer or to open up your own clothing store. Little did I know that there is a whole middle portion of the process that offers many different career opportunities… garment engineer being one of them!
Why do you love working at Lucy?
I am fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented people in the industry. They are truly amazing at what they do and I am in awe when I see them in action. We all share the same passion in building an innovative product, so being able to collaborate with them each & every day is awesome!
What toys did you like most as a child?
I had a bit of an eclectic array of toys growing up. In the traditional sense, I had dolls, but I didn’t really “play” with them. Instead, I made them outfits. I remember when I was around 7 years old, getting a bag full of scrap materials from my mom. I had the best time cutting out pieces from the fabric & putting them together to make clothing for all of my dolls. I didn’t have a sewing machine back then, so I had to figure out how to secure the garments by tying the fabric pieces together with littles strips of fabric. I also loved putting puzzles together & reading! I was always reading! While other kids spent their allowance on candy or toys, I spent my allowance on books to read. I also grew up with two boy cousins that were the same age as me. One of them had an Erector Set. I always wanted one of my own but never got one. Whenever I would visit, though, we would spend hours building, whether it was with the Erector Set or with Legos, we had the best time creating things. I think that’s a big reason why I love what I do. The same things I enjoyed doing at age 7, I am, in essence, still enjoying today. I get to figure out how to build garments that function for the active woman!
What did you want to be when you were little?
I think the question should be, what didn’t I want to be when I was little? I can remember wanting to be a veterinarian, because of my love for animals. I wanted to be a florist, because of one of my favorite TV characters. I also spent a lot of time drawing. I loved drawing pictures of houses, barns & horses, but also of Garfield the cat. None of these professions were remotely similar, really. I think, as I got a little older, I realized that wanted to do exactly what I’m doing today, but back then I didn’t know that this position actually existed. I started working in a clothing store when I was a teenager (because I thought I would get the clothing for free – not the case). From there, I was really interested in how the garments were made – not just how it was sewn, but the whole process that went into actually constructing and making a garment. I decided to go to college for fashion. From there, I eventually found my way into the career that I am in now & I love it!
If you were telling a classroom of elementary school students about a really creative and challenging project that you did, what would you say?
I am most proud of being a part of the team that created lucy indiGO. It is a collection of garments that look like denim, through a hyperreal printing technique but are made of functional fabrics that are designed for activewear. It is so innovative that we have a patent pending for this collection!
Engineers in the Wild is a series of interviews with real-life engineers. Click here to read more!