Amy Frascella, 39
Chief designer color and materials, Land Rover
What was your first automotive job and why were you interested in the industry?
I started my career in the automotive industry by chance. I initially thought I would design textiles within the fashion industry, but I took a job working for an automotive textile manufacturer headquartered in Japan. I was based in California working with many of the Japanese brand satellite studios on projects. From this experience I knew I wanted to eventually work on the entire product at an automaker’s design studio.
Born: Lake Charles, Louisiana, USA
Languages: English, some Italian
Education: Executive residential program, Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, University of Cambridge, England; post-graduate design classes, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California, USA; bachelor’s degrees in art & design and textile technology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
Your greatest achievement?
The development and delivery of premium textile materials for the 2017 Range Rover Velar and 2019 Range Rover Evoque mass-production vehicles. This was possible because of a unique collaboration between Land Rover and Kvadrat, Europe’s leading manufacturer of premium textiles. I believe this collaboration has helped create a true industry shift in the value and definition of luxury automotive materials.
What was your biggest failure and what did it teach you?
I have not had any large-scale failures, but I experience “micro-failures” almost daily and these do add up. That being said, as head of the color and materials organization within design I actively encourage failure in my team. Why? Because to elicit change sometimes we have to force ourselves to fail. When you try something for the first time there is no guarantee it will succeed, but we have to be brave and try. With every failure, small and large, we learn. In design it is important to always be curious and to actively push boundaries.
What is your current challenge at work?
Ensuring color and material design initiatives and strategies are communicated and supported by our wider business. Design’s job is to live in the future but few outside of the design world immediately understand the importance of reacting to changes that have not yet occurred in
the customer landscape. The discipline of color and material design is going through a transformation because material innovations are key differentiators now and this will be even more apparent in the future. My team and I aspire to lead the shift to a true material-driven design approach in our industry.
What about the auto industry surprises you?
How traditional and progressive it can be at the same time. Right now, during what has been called the 4th Industrial Revolution, changes are coming thick and fast so it is very exciting. But it is almost as if the future is arriving before the past has had a chance to catch up.
2014-2015: Creative specialist color and materials, Jaguar Land Rover, Gaydon
2012-2014: Senior color and materials designer, Jaguar Land Rover, Gaydon
2004-2011: Color and materials designer, Hyundai and Kia America Design Center, Irvine, California, USA
2003-2004: Design Engineer, Viscotec Automotive Products, Irvine, California
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Fortune favors the brave.
What advice would you give to a person considering a career in the auto industry?
Be prepared for the so-called “long game” because it takes time to bring a project from concept to production. Therefore, it is important to take time to celebrate the achievements made along the way to delivering the end product.
What job do you really want to have in the future?
I would always want to stay in a creative field working with multi-discipline teams. Working in other analogous design industries such as consumer electronics, furniture, architecture or fashion would be very interesting. Most of the skills that an automotive designer has are transferable to other design disciplines. This is particularly true with color and material design.
What do you do to relax?
Read, travel, cook and watch Netflix. These are not done in that particular order and some can be done simultaneously.
What is your pet peeve?
Holding onto the past and actively pushing against change rather than looking forward
to the future.
What was your first car?
A 1989 Honda Civic.
A Range Rover Velar R Dynamic with premium textile interior.
If you were a car, which one would you be?
I am not a car – I am a Vespa!