Madeline Kamal Class of 2004
Design Coordinator of Womens Structured Wovens, J.Crew Corporate Headquarters, New York City

Whether we are shopping for clothing online or in a store, we have come to recognize many trusted brand names immediately because they have become a part of our culture. Well known around the world, J.Crew is one of the most highly regarded brands on the market today. The company was founded in 1947 as Popular Merchandise, Inc., and evolved into J.Crew, Inc., in 1989, opening its first retail store in Manhattan. Today more than 500 stores worldwide operate under the name J.Crew.

Madeline Kamal serves as the Design Coordinator of Womens Structured Wovens at J.Crew corporate headquarters in New York City. I assist the design team with all aspects of a garments development. These tasks include helping in the selection and ordering of fabrics for a season, organizing sketches into a linesheet, coloring/updating/maintaining seasonal linesheets, creating and updating products in our PLM (product lifecycle management) system, as well as communicating with business partners on various changes, updates, or solutions needed for a garment. The list goes on.

My job requires a lot of attention to detail and a great memory. I really enjoy the organizational aspect of it, as thats one of my main strengths. Of course, I also love to see how a garment starts, all the changes it can go through, and the final form it takes if it ends up in stores or the e-commerce site.

Its challenging because there are always a million things going on at once and things change all the time. I have to keep excellent notes in all meetings, pay close attention to info coming in from all business partners, and also just remember changes that happen as best I can. A lot of times its like spinning plates, but its really rewarding when the team can see all our hard work come to fruition at the end of a season.

Madeline earned a Bachelor of Science in Statistics from North Carolina State University, graduating in 2009. Before I entered the fashion industry, I worked various customer service jobs, learning to hone my people skills, time management, and other important skills necessary for thriving in a collaborative office environment.

Wanting to turn my passion for sewing into a career, after five years in customer service, I returned to NC State to study at the College of Textiles, graduating in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Fashion and Textile Design. I interned at Michael Kors in New York during my studies and then got an internship at Marchesa after graduation which led to my move to New York and subsequent jobs at Alexander Wang and now, J.Crew.

My main inspiration has been my mom. I inherited my passion for sewing and creating from her and eventually realized its what I wanted to pursue for my career. During my years at East Burke, I was always into some creative or artistic endeavor. I remember really loving the art classes I took there, and always getting such positive encouragement from the teachers. I loved drawing and painting especially, as well as other art classes, with such great teachers like Dennis Whitener, Jeff Sigmon, and Roseanne Pritchett.

Designing at J.Crew is very rewarding, and there is a huge range of opportunities in the fashion industry. I have an interest in what is called slow fashion, which is a field that encourages sustainable fabrics, ethical sourcing, environmentally responsible production, and fair wages, as opposed to fast fashion, which is mass produced. I can see myself in the future creating a small line of sewing patterns, as that aligns more with my personal hobbies and interest in the slow fashion field.

But for now, we as shoppers can find that Cavalier connection when we see the J.Crew brand name, knowing that one of our own has played a major role in the development of the products and is making a substantial contribution to our fashion culture.

Published May 2022

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