Alumna designs one-of-a-kind garment for American Eagle
January 21, 2016
If Sarah Schumacher
gets homesick for her native Wisconsin, all she has to do is go for a walk
through her neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Flannel and beards
are in as a men’s clothing trend. “There are tons of lumberjack hipsters
wearing flannels and trapper hats (in Brooklyn),” Schumacher said, adding that the style has caught on nationwide.
Using the trend as
inspiration, Schumacher recently designed the Lumberjack Onesie men’s garment
for national retailer American Eagle Outfitters.
Oddly enough, she
was drawing as much from her East Coast experiences as from her memories of woodsy
She grew up in Oak
Creek, north of Milwaukee, and graduated in 2011 from University of
Wisconsin-Stout in Menomonie, where the forests and real lumberjacks aren’t far
An apparel design
and development major, she is an associate designer in New York for American
Eagle Outfitters. The design team she’s on was looking for a new approach to a
men’s onesie and chose a costume theme, with her lumberjack idea winning out
over several other concepts.
“It was a lot
of work but I am definitely proud of the way it has turned out,” she said.
The product received
positive national publicity just before Christmas. A website, Refinery29.com,
named the Lumberjack Onesie one of the “top 30 gifts for any man in your life.”
“It definitely feels
great when you put in all that hard work and get such kind words,” said
Schumacher, adding that she posted the article on her Facebook page and
Instagram accounts and “had huge reactions of support to it.”
checkered Lumberjack Onesie is a full-length, zip-up garment with hood and a
zipper that functions as a bottle opener. It’s made of polar fleece. The
original retail price was $89.95.
The target market is
young adult males, who might wear it as they lounge around the house or cabin
on a winter evening.
The unusual zipper
was one of the hardest parts of finishing the garment, she said.
“This is something no one at our office had ever done. We
had to work with the trims vendor to design the best shape of bottle opener
that could also work with the zipper design from the zipper trim vendor. For
the most part, things went pretty well,” she said.
Schumacher has worked for American Eagle Outfitters since
2013. She has been designing men’s underwear, graphic T-shirts and men’s woven
“I spend every day a little differently, either sketching
new designs/silhouettes, developing new fabrics and washes, meeting with my
team to collaborate for the upcoming season’s designs or working through
approvals and making the final touches on the next line to hit the store,” she
“I have loved my career so far. I could have never imagined
I would be a designer living in New York City. I don't know where my career
still has to take me, but I am incredibly thankful for everyone who has helped
me get to where I am today,” she said, noting that she works in Manhattan, just
down the street from the Empire State Building.
The apparel design program gave her the skills she needed to
succeed in the industry, she said.
“UW-Stout was an amazing program and has completely prepared
me for my career. Many design colleges just teach you how to design and sketch
and be conceptual, but at UW-Stout we also learned the technical aspect of
design that not only opens up more job prospects but also has helped me
understand my designs on another level and better communicate my designs to our
wonderful tech designers,” Schumacher said.
Sarah Schumacher at American Eagle Outfitters in New York.
The Lumberjack Onesie.