The Orchard School recently caught up with Greg Dugdale ’09 to talk about his forever love of fashion, and how his time at Orchard taught him to pursue his passions.
There was a New York Fashion Week experience offered during the Orchard auction this year. And your former first grade teacher, current Multiage Preschool teacher, Elizabeth Philpott gave you a name-drop while promoting the trip. She even held up a bag she bought from you! Have you been designing since first grade?
I have been creating since I can remember. My parents were really supportive, and signed me up for all different kinds of art classes to explore my interests! Fifth grade is really when I started to construct garments.
Can you elaborate on how Orchard teachers honored and fostered your love of art and designing?
Every one of my teachers at Orchard came up with some way to nurture my creativity. Throughout my time at Orchard, Gail Emerich fostered my love for art in all aspects. She taught me how to knit…I was so bad at it in the beginning. I don't know how she stayed so calm teaching me! She also taught me how to dye with Kool Aid, sculpt with clay, use water colors, and many other artistic techniques.
In seventh or eighth grade I remember Mrs. Wallace letting us create something that tied back to one of the books we read over the year. I made a dress, one side of it was neck ties.
Spirit week was the best week at Orchard. I made outfits to coordinate the days and had so much fun!
A few years after graduating from Orchard, you won a very prestigious award from Scholastic. Out of 1,600+ students nationally, you were one of the 15 creative teens who received the Portfolio Gold Award for your piece called "Pinned." What did the award entail?
Being a Scholastic Award recipient was a dream come true. There was a recognition ceremony at Carnegie Hall, where I met Meryl Streep who announced my award! My entire portfolio went on a world tour, and I earned a monetary scholarship for college.
Now you work in New York City at one of the most powerful brands in fashion. That must feel like a dream come true.
Being in New York City and working for Ralph Lauren is just the beginning for me. It is part of the dream, but there are many other parts of the dream that are yet to come!
What’s a typical day look like for you?
In my role as Assistant for Raw Materials for the Polo Factory Store (a Ralph Lauren outlet), I work with designers to select fabric for garments. I also assist with some fabrications for the Parent Line, which is what you see in stores. A typical day for me involves color approvals (known as lab dips) for fabrics before they go into bulk production. I also liaise with partners overseas, oversee fittings, submit fabric development packages, and source local fabrics for prototype samples, which are garment mock ups made in advance of production.
Finally, we all need to know, have you met Ralph Lauren himself?