When Byron Edwards was in high school in Fort Collins, his best friend was a graphic designer, and the two enjoyed creating logos and graphics for apparel. They’d buy blank T-shirts and have them embroidered at a local shop where the designer’s girlfriend worked.
When Edwards chose CSU for college, he underestimated the rigor of the apparel design and production concentration.
“I thought it would involve drawing pretty pictures,” he says now with a laugh. “But there were a lot of late nights in the lab. It was always fun and rewarding, but you needed the will to stay late and get projects done — not only to get a good grade, but to be proud of your work at the end.”
Instead of just drawing, he had to learn every kind of stitch there is.
“You can’t draw it unless you know how to build it,” Edwards says.
The Telluride native recalls being terribly nervous before the photo shoot for his capstone project at CSU, which involved creating his own apparel line and exhibiting it at the Department of Design and Merchandising’s annual Fashion Show. After graduating in 2003, he did an internship at Betsey Johnson in New York, then freelanced in California before returning to Colorado to take a product developer job with GoLite.
In 2008 he was hired by another Boulder-based company, Spyder, which specializes in high-performance ski apparel. He received several promotions, and now serves as director of product development.
“My passion is to build and commercialize designs and ideas,” Edwards says. “My team and I take drawings and bring them to life.”
And he says his college education prepared him well for his career path.
“I’m so happy to be using my degree,” Edwards explains. “CSU gave me the tools I needed. I learned the full building blocks for all aspects of the industry.”