by Whitman Littlefield ’11
“Making ideas into a reality is the most fun part of my job,” says up-and-coming New York City designer Aimée Wilder ’00. “There really is no way to know if an idea is good until it’s turned into a product and the public responds. You just have to go with your gut.”
‘With her gut,’ is how Wilder has been living, and it’s paying off.
In 2008, after working in-house at Martha Stewart Living and freelancing for Gap Kids, she received several high-profile job opportunities. But she turned them down. “It was a big risk,” she admits. “But the last thing I wanted to do was end up in a dark, windowless room working on computer aided designs at a large corporation; it just seemed like a dead end for me.”
Instead, she maxed out her credit cards and built a website, aimeewilder.com. Her work, with its hip, childish modernity, has been well-received overseas and has attracted the attention of Vans, who has licensed her designs for footwear and fashion accessories.
“The opportunity with Vans was probably my biggest break for my artwork,” Wilder says. “Working with a large brand gave me the opportunity to strategically launch my wallpaper in the same season as the footwear, and the wallpaper has really taken off.”
In addition to wall treatments, she also designs bedding and hopes to branch out into other home textiles as well as vinyl collectibles. Keep an eye out for a new line of notebooks from Mead and a few other top secret product licenses in the mix.
“I take my ideas and make them accessible for the public,” she says. “My business keeps me going–there’s so much to do! When I’m finally able to sit down and focus on designing and implementing my ideas, it’s refreshing.”