When Alyson was experiencing pregnancy for the first time, she was scared that she was going to lose her style. She remembered judging other women when they became mothers because she noticed formerly stylish women becoming less concerned about it after they had kids. She didn’t want to change, but wasn’t aware of the impact having kids was going to have on her life.
While she was pregnant with her first child, maternity clothes scared her. There wasn’t anything that she felt like she could wear to feel comfortable in this new body. Luckily, the looks that were trending were flowy dresses, elastic wastebands & harem pants. She made those items work and was able to feel like she wasn’t losing all of her stylish self.
When you’re a creative person who cares about aesthetics, it’s difficult to turn off that curator part of your brain. Everything has to be “just so.” It’s really stressful and I’m sure other creative people can relate to that feeling. It comes with the territory of being a designer.
Now, having birthed 2 children, she’s realized that she doesn’t have the mind space, time or money to devote to thinking about her clothes. In the past, she would curate a capsule wardrobe with a few expensive items, but that doesn’t suit her lifestyle anymore.
Her current style approach is “grab and go”. She builds a decent base with a few pieces that can transition in and out. She focuses on denim that makes her feel good because it can mix and match with anything very easily. Jeans are durable, classic and you don’t have to wash them very often, which is another time-saving feature.
In addition to raising 2 kiddos, Alyson is a Creative Director at Target. If you’ve seen inspirational fashion imagery from Target, Alyson was most likely the creator.
She started her design journey at Iowa State University, where she studied graphic design. She felt lucky from the start because she knew she wanted to do something in that field.
After graduating from ISU, she landed an internship at Olson. She felt like she was nailing it and when fall arrived, was ready to hit the pavement and find her first design job.
In reality though, it was harder than she anticipated. In order to pay the bills, she was working as a nanny while attending portfolio reviews. She was disappointed during this time because she wasn’t seeing any of her hard work come to fruition.
She hit her low point one night biking home to Uptown after an interview in Downtown Minneapolis. She was wearing her beautiful interview suit, with her portfolio in her bike basket. It was happy hour on a nice fall evening and she got pulled over by a cop for biking on the sidewalk.
Alyson eventually landed at Target 10 years ago. She loves the challenge of shooting fashion at Target. “When you have a $10,000/day model wearing a Gucci dress with Annie Leibovitz as the photographer, that shot is going to be gorgeous, guaranteed. When you have a $4,000/day model wearing a dress from Target and you make it look awesome, that is amazing. That’s a challenge and it is so fun!”
Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
Laura Ingalls Wilder. I love history! I love knowing my own history too. I grew up reading those books and falling in love with the illustrations by Garth Williams.
Would you like to be famous?
Yes, for invention.
Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
For sure, especially if it’s something heavy. Context to the conversation matters.
What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
Being with my family, in the summer, on the water with good homemade food that I had time to prepare.
When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
Never! People told me all the time that I had the worst voice ever, so I don’t sing.
If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
Mind, for sure
Do you have a secret hunch about how you’ll die?
No idea, do you?
Yes, I think I’m going to have a stroke.
Name 3 things you and your husband appear to have in common.
Our sense of humor (he’d disagree), compassion and we both value putting our best foot forward.
For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
My husband, he’s a much better person than I am.
Is there a woman in your career that was your mentor or that you looked up to?
Yes, Anita Calero. She is a photographer/stylist/all-around amazing human being. I met and worked with her early in my career and she really shaped me as a creative. She gave me confidence early on which gave me strength and energy to keep doing what I love. As a young art director, it was intimidating to walk on to set and give a whole photo crew direction. Anita instilled the passion, assurance and confidence I needed to grow early as a creative.
If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?