The “Breathe” tattoo on her forearm reminds Sara Norrman to slow down. Don’t be in such a hurry. Take a breath every now and then. But how can the recently graduated Fashion Merchandising & Design student relax when her career is moving at breakneck speed?
Norrman headed to her hometown in Sweden after graduation for an assistant designer’s job with a clothing company, KappAhl, where she will focus on designing patterns and fashions for babies. Two weeks after walking out of Long Beach State with a degree in Fashion Merchandising & Design, Norrman started turning babies into miniature fashionistas with her colorful pastel patterns and clean lines.
“I think I have an eye for color. I’ve always loved color,” said Norrman, whose pastel floral dress, flared pants and white shirt earned her the “Outstanding Fashion Designer” award at the 2017 Campus Couture Fashion Show.
“I painted my room in different pinks and purples, and I did stripes on the wall. I made sure and I measured and my mom let me do it. She always encouraged me to be creative.”
Yet it was her grandmother who instilled in her the love of sewing.
While most little girls played with baby dolls, Norrman created clothes for the real thing. At age 5, she sewed her first seam. With more experience behind the sewing machine, Norrman graduated to making the blankets and onesies.
“My grandmother and I would do it for charity,” she said. “We would make little baby clothes and send them to different charities, like the Red Cross.” That experience proved invaluable when Norrman decided which career path to take, which for the past two years has focused on floral, hippie-like clothes for young women.
Norrman wanted to study fashion and decided California was the place to go. She enrolled in 2008 at Santa Monica College, where she eventually graduated with her Associate of Arts degree. Norrman returned to Sweden and landed a job in visual marketing, setting up clothing displays.
“I think that’s when I really started loving (fashion),” she said. “It was a good experience, but not what I wanted to do.”
Norrman also discovered there wasn’t much room for advancement in fashion without a bachelor’s degree. So, she headed back to California and LBSU’s highly regarded Fashion Merchandising & Design program.
“As you know Sara was voted the Outstanding Fashion Design major by the FMD faculty this year, so we were all confident of her ability,” said Suzanne Marshall, director of the FMD department. “I was impressed by the internships she did while in school.”
Marshall also pointed out that one of Norrman’s designs, a blue print jumpsuit, already is featured on KappAhl’s website.
“They were so impressed, they hired her,” Marshall said.