By JEREMY HENDERSON, AL.com
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Christine Cameron will meet someone at the office and they’ll talk shop and eventually they’ll ask which New York design school she went to. Parson’s? Pratt?
“I’ll be like, ‘no, I went to Auburn”’–as in Auburn University in Alabama, as in home to what in recent years has quietly become one of the top fashion programs in the country.
“It’s definitely something that catches people by surprise, because I guess people from Alabama don’t move to New York that often, and I can’t blame them because I kind of miss Alabama,” Cameron says. “But everyone here has been super welcoming to me.”
And why wouldn’t they be? Christine Cameron is good for business.
Last summer, on the strength of her senior lingerie collection, Cameron landed an internship in New York at Victoria’s Secret that doubled as her final course credit at Auburn. She designed accessories for the company’s popular Pink line, and shadowed anyone who replied “sure” to the emails about wanting to learn as much as possible from people just like them.
Now she is just like them.
Last August, the Monday after graduation, the Lake Mary, Florida native flew back to the Big Apple, walked past the paparazzi-stalking models (like occasional Auburn fan Martha Hunt) outside the Victoria’s Secret entrance on Broadway, and settled into her own cubicle. The internship with Pink had turned into an on-site contract gig for the company’s Very Sexy collection. No more flip flops and water bottles. Less than a week out of college, she was designing bras and teddies for North America’s leading retailer of women’s intimate apparel in the hopes that maybe, just maybe it might one day turn into a full-time position.
It didn’t take long.
In February, Cameron was named Assistant Designer of Bras & Lingerie for the Dream Angels collection. The women wearing the wings. The big time.
It basically started with a doodle.
“I sketched a lot on the bottom of my to-do lists and pinned them all up on the walls of my cubicle in hopes that someone would see them and let me design something.”
One of those sketches was a teddy. Sheer. Plunging neckline. Adjustable Y-back strap. Her boss saw it.
In March, everyone who walked inside the company’s flagship store on 5th Avenue, the largest Victoria’s Secret store in the world, saw it.
The week it was released, the Wildflower Lace Plunge Teddy was Victoria’s Secret’s fourth best-selling piece of lingerie.
“It was the most wild experience to walk in the store and see something that I designed, something I sketched on a to-do list, end up in the store,” Cameron says.
“It doesn’t feel real to be honest.”
But it is real, and it’s getting more real by the day.
Cameron’s second design, the Wildflower Lace Bodysuit, hit stores last month. It’s currently the company’s 6th best-selling lingerie piece. Her first, meanwhile, has moved up to No. 3 and was briefly the season’s No. 1 trending piece on VictoriasSecret.com. She has another design due out later this year.
“It’s kind of been a wild ride,” she says. “It felt like an unattainable goal, so I feel really lucky to have my dream job less than a year out of college.”
Cameron credits her meteoric success not only to Auburn’s increasingly impressive fashion program, but also to all the Yankees she works with.
“There’s a really strong group of women that work here,” she says. “Everyone has been great. They’ve been super-supportive.
“But they think think it’s funny I say ‘y’all.'”