Starting Auburn as a Pre-Med student and graduating with a degree in Apparel Merchandising and Product Development, Drew Tipton ’08 took her life on a different direction and down the runway.
She began her career in the fashion industry with an internship with a small design company, Tuleh, during New York Fashion Week her senior year. “From making the garments that went down the runway, show seating charts, model selection process, [and] accessorizing looks,” Tipton said that she got to dabble in a little bit of everything.
Tipton was able to work as a wardrobe assistant for the final year of the Ebony Fashion Fair, which features models mostly of African American decent. Over the course of nine months she would travel to 180 different cities around the country and handle clothes from designers Oscar de la Renta, Givenchy, and Valentino.
Over the next 10 years she got the chance to work for Tommy Bahama, Ralph Lauren, and Club Monaco. While each designer differed in style, Tipton said, “the best part about design or merchandising is there is no right way. You can be as outlandish or poised as you want to be and it’s so interesting to see and experience the different cultures from designers and retailers.”
She now works as a brand manager for Vince Camuto, designer and founder of Nine West.
Learning under some of this century’s greatest fashion icons, she developed her own style. “My style goes from tomboy with Timberland boots to flared skirts and a heel of some sort. If I had to call it something, it would be called ‘organized chaos.’”
Taking her own direction, Tipton started her company Faith + Bows. At the time, her son was two years old and she said she loved to dress him in bowties, but the ones on the market were too expensive for “a toddler who is going to spill grape juice on it.”
Her company is now focused on designing bowties for women. It is “more of a ministry to me than a business,” Tipton said. “I add verses of love or encouragement with each purchase in hopes of re-igniting the faith of someone, or sparking an interest in one that doesn’t know Him, or just a pick-me-up. We all need that from time to time.”
Tipton believes that she has found her purpose in life through the fashion industry. “Knowing that you are walking in your purpose is an unexplainable peace and a great feeling,” she said. “I know wholeheartedly that I am where I am, have had the experiences that I’ve had, and met the most amazing people along the way because of God.”
“Each day I wake up knowing that I have another opportunity to serve out my mission. I have had many bumps along this road, but I am still standing and no one can really learn without some tests and mistakes along the way.”