Alumna pursues career in fashion design, keeps notable blog
Culture | Rachel Wilson
Madelynn Furlong thrives as a designer for Target and keeps up a steady fashion blog that has recieved vast recognition with about 150,000 viewers each month. | Photo for The Clarion courtesy of Madelynn Furlong
There’s something to be said about some of life’s simple delicacies: soft lines, vibey music, a field of flowers, a great leather jacket, and an open mind. Bethel alumna Madelynn Furlong agrees.
“To me, life is about the simple moments, the falling in love, the being a human, creating and living,” she said.
A petite, 24-year-old bombshell, Furlong graduated from Bethel in 2010 with a degree in studio art.
“I also fake a business minor,” she said with a wink. She and her husband, Caylon, who is also a Bethel graduate, reside in St. Paul.
Like Madelynn, Caylon also graduated with a degree in studio art and currently works part-time as studio manager for Cameron Gains, a local artist whose wife is the director of the Walker Art Center. Caylon also works part-time at Marvel Bar, a cocktail bar located in the North Loop of northeast Minneapolis. Together, the creative duo is blazing a trail, redefining what life after school for the typical Bethel graduate looks like.
The couple relocated to Minneapolis just over a year ago after living in New York City. The move back to Minneapolis was strategic—Furlong was offered a position as an assistant designer at Target at the age of 23.
As a position at one of Minneapolis’s most coveted companies, Furlong’s job is multifaceted. She works in the sleepwear and intimates scene, focusing most of her time on intimates.
“I design your bras and panties,” she joked.
Day-to-day, her duties range from communicating between team managers and members to designing and approving colors, laces and fabrics.
“Target was a strategic move, because I knew after I could move to any large city and likely get a job in fashion,” Furlong said.
Fast-forward a year, and Furlong and her husband are more than satisfied with their decision to move for the position.
“It takes an entire year to learn what your role is and how you fit in,” Furlong explained. “Now that I’m out of that year, I can own more.”
As she continues to gain experience, we’ll likely see pieces heavily influenced by the Bethel graduate on the racks of our favorite store. As a designer, Furlong is futuristic, constantly focusing on what trends what will do.
Currently, she and the design team at Target are collaborating on Christmas 2014 and spring 2015.
“More often than not, trends are created by the world and by culture,” Furlong explained.
However, don’t let her enthusiasm fool you. Designing isn’t just sipping coffee with a sketchbook in hand. Working for a massive company like Target has its restrictions.
“Because it’s so buttoned up…there’s just not a lot of space for designers to indulge in their creative desires,” Furlong said.
Continuing to cultivate her creative edge, Furlong keeps up a personal blog, "Wide Eyed Legless," which has gained significant notoriety in the lifestyle and fashion blogging worlds as of late.
Furlong began "Wide Eyed Legless" in 2010 around the time she got married. Blogging about fashion, life and the day-to-day, Furlong’s blog functions as an online journal of sorts.
“I like journaling, but I like things that are more visual…I wanted to document what I was going through or moments that I felt were really inspiring” she said.
After relaunching her blog three months ago, Furlong continues the public pursuit of her voice. On the style of her blog, Furlong explained, “Part charming and whimsical, part mysterious…I’ve always kind of been drawn to those elements in combination.”
Today, her blog brings in about 150,000 viewers a month and has led to partnerships with The Everygirl and Vita.mn, along with elite brands such as Madewell, Hackwith Design House and Breanna Rose.
Needless to say, life is a bit of a whirlwind for Furlong and her husband. Nonetheless, they still make time for non-work-related fun. The two enjoy spending time with friends, taking daylong road trips, jamming to Sonlux, indulging in foraged cocktails—Caylon’s specialty—and spending copious amounts of time outdoors with their oversized pup.
“When it’s warm,” Furlong clarified. “I’m a total wuss when it’s not warm.”
To be sure, life as a creative has its quirks. At the moment, coming up with new content is Furlong’s main struggle.
“Everything’s the same now,” she said. “Nobody’s moving it forward. How are we going to move it forward?”
In the meantime, she’s open to the future.
“I kind of let it organically happen. I’ve found you kind of fall into things, and you have to grab it and run with it,” Furlong said. “I trust that God will provide for me and will open doors where they need to be opened.”