NATASHA WOODWORTH ‘05, Santa Barbara (CA)
Product Designer, Patagonia
I currently live in Santa Barbara California with my fiancé who also works at Patagonia. We are planning on getting married next September at my Mom and Dad’s house on Darling Hill!
After BMA, I went to Middlebury where I did a lot of art and sculpture. Being in liberal arts, I was exposed to a lot of different art mediums, but they didn’t have a specific design program, so I then went on to Parsons School of Design in New York City to complete an apparel and fashion design degree.
What is your current role and company/organization?
I am a Product Designer at Patagonia focusing on designing end use driven product in the categories of Mountain Biking, Alpine and Rock Climbing, and Skiing and Snowboarding. The thing I like about my job is that every day is different! Sometimes it is the early research and conceptual side where I am sketching ideas, gathering inspiration from traveling or working with Patagonia athletes. Then we will move onto prototyping where I will work with our in-house proto room to vet out ideas. I still get to sew things myself which is always fun. The final stage is development and testing. Right now, I am typing this from Chile where we are for a week of Volcano skiing! I am working on a ski touring collection and my colleague and I are down here testing the prototypes and making sure they hold up to some long hard days skinning with both good and bad weather.
How did you get into this field of work?
I found product design a good way to marry both my artistic and creative side with some of the skills and sport background I have from so many years ski racing with BMA and beyond. I spent some time in the fashion side of things but was really drawn to Patagonia’s mission statement of building great product, causing no unnecessary harm, and inspiring other business to implement solutions to the environmental crisis. It feels really good that everything we design has the environment in mind and it was important to me to not just be creating more stuff just to make stuff.
Do you pursue personal passions in the arts as well? If yes, what are those passions? Talents?
I still draw a lot in my personal time, but I wish I did more!
Was art always in your life from a young age? How did you foster that passion while at BMA?
I have always been a creator, whether it was stuffed animals as a child, knitting in the long van rides at BMA or whatever. I think the amount of traveling and amazing places I had the privilege of going to while at BMA helped foster a lot of creativity. It was always so easy to stay creatively inspired when traveling and experiencing different cultures, eating different foods and seeing unique parts of the world. I am very thankful that ski racing and BMA afforded me these opportunities.
What did you learn at BMA that has helped you in your work or life in general?
Too many things to list! Hard work maybe number one – You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find hand workers out there – I know anyone that has run 1.75 or done knee touch squats knows hard work and how to push themselves. I think any creative has to be a really good collaborator and I think traveling with teammates and the small classrooms and school environment taught me how to work with anyone. Being a multitasker as well, sometimes in my job I have to work on many projects at once and while traveling or under tight timelines. I think all those hours writing essays in between course resets or figuring out how to manage tuning your skis, lifting, and doing your algebra all before morning workout really helped.
What do you miss the most about BMA?
I’m getting so nostalgic now! Too many things. I miss sitting on woods deck with my best friends after dinner, our legs spent from a mountain bike ride and just laughing and laughing about something silly. I miss donut runs, where we would all wake up and think it was a really hard workout but each mile there would be a box of donuts! I miss reading period, where after freezing our butts off on the Poma all morning we could get cozy in the library and sip tea and read a favorite book. But most of all I miss being able to spend so much time with the people, my BMA friends are some of my greatest friends to this day, and even though we are scattered all over the world now I feel closer to them than anyone.