Fritz designing her way onto store shelves

Next time you’re perusing the shelves at Target, chances are you may stumble upon a fabric design created by St. Marys native Amy Fritz.As a fabric designer for Target Corp., Fritz, 32, designs materials and prints for the chain’s soft home products, including bedding, window and shower curtains, decorative toss pillows and throw and kitchen textiles.“Ultimately, I decided to pursue a degree in Textile Design because this occupation can be a nice combination of both design and engineering,” Fritz said. “The artistic side of being a textile designer involves designing the artwork for the pattern and making color choices. The engineering side involves figuring out the structures of the fabric and using a CAD system to design the manufacturing files which will run the loom. Also, the designer needs to engineer the fabric to meet costing goals and quality expectations.”Fritz currently resides in Saint Paul, MN, outside of Minneapolis, home of the Target Corp. headquarters.Amy is the daughter of Gary and Joanne Fritz, and the granddaughter of Doris and the late Robert Fritz and the late Joseph and Marion Salvatore. She has two siblings, Jason and Julia (Fritz) Veasman.While living in St. Marys, Fritz was a member of Queen of the World Church. “I loved growing up in a small town, and hope to settle in a small town again one day. I do feel that it was an asset in beginning my career because it provided me a close support network of people,” she said.Fritz is a 1996 graduate of Elk County Christian High School and a 2000 graduate of Philadelphia University, where she earned a bachelor of science degree in textile design. “I’ve always enjoyed the arts and being creative. I knew that I had wanted to pursue a degree in some sort of design field,” Fritz said. “I stumbled upon textile design by chance when a former student in this field of study dropped into Mr. Winklbauer’s art class that I was attending.”Fritz’s has been with Target for just over 3.5 years. During that time, she has enjoyed traveling throughout the world as a majority of the company’s fabrics are manufactured overseas.“I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Turkey, India, and China in this position to work directly with our mill partners on product development,” she explained. “We also travel frequently to attend trade shows and visit cities within the U.S. and Europe to do trend research.”She explained the biggest challenge working as a designer at Target is understanding that it is a large corporation, and there are many levels of approval that her designs need to go through before they can actually make it into the store’s assortment “You have to learn to be flexible and not get too emotionally invested in your creations because sometimes your original vision won’t make it through this process,” she added.Fritz described one of the highlights of her career is seeing her design on the store’s shelves.“I also randomly see upholstery fabrics that I have designed in my previous positions in restaurants and hotels. It’s a fun surprise when that happens,” Fritz said.Previously, Fritz lived in North Carolina and Washington, D.C., where she also worked as a designer in smaller companies.“I love what I am doing now,” Fritz said.As for the future, she noted that she could see herself working at a smaller company again or doing freelance design work.Fritz suggested that for those interested in the fabric designer field, it is important to obtain a degree in textile design from a college or university which will provide education in textile engineering alongside the design training. She added that many college programs in this field are solely design-based.  “The job opportunities in the U.S. textile industry are significantly fewer than when I graduated 10 years ago due to a large portion of the manufacturing being lost or moved to overseas. It is challenging to find employment opportunities,” Fritz noted.Outside of work, Fritz enjoys home renovation, gardening, playing tennis, visiting flea markets and antiquing.