Sketch. Shape. Sew. Style. Repeat.
For professional fashion designers, this is the constant cycle of life. Yet design students must go through this same arduous process in creating their senior collections while balancing other responsibilities.
But three young designers agree that all the long hours and unexpected challenges are worth the final result.
“Fabrics will tear, needles break, it’s all part of the finished product,” Lindenwood University senior Amra Alihodzic said. “You just have to let go sometimes.”
Alihodzic’s Valentino-inspired collection, “Rock ‘n Rozes,” consists of “sexy trendy outfits that doesn’t mean having everything hanging out.” Instead, handmade rosettes add a romantic edge while zipper details bring out a rebellious side.
“I don’t know what it is about exposed metal zippers, but I just can’t stay away,” Alihodzic said. “I always have to utilize them in some way.”
After emigrating from Bosnia when she was nine years old, Alihodzic found that she could express herself through fashion.
“Designing, like any art form, gives me an incredible sense of freedom,” Alihodzic said. “Art for me was a way to ‘speak’ without saying anything at all.”
Alihodzic hopes to spend some time traveling after graduating but dreams of eventually trying out for Project Runway and finding a position as a co-designer.
Drexel University graduate student Twyla Grider’s collection is not influenced by a major designer but by jazz musician Miles Davis and graffiti artist Jean-Michelle Basquiat.
“My favorite piece is my evening gown, which will be my final piece of my collection,” Grider said. “It is a silk animal print that I painted graffiti all over and draped into a gown. It speaks to my inspiration very well.”
Despite the late nights, Grider said she couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
“My favorite part of designing is the creative process: being inspired and hopefully inspiring someone else,” Grider said. “I became a designer because I was born to create. So I feel like I didn’t choose to be a designer, it chose me.”
Grider already designs custom clothes for private clients and hopes to build up a contemporary women’s wear company. Her designs will be featured in Drexel’s annual student show, FASHION, on June 4 at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Campus in the Navy Yard in Philadelphia. For more information, click here.
While most designers, like Alihodzic and Grider, focus mainly on women’s wear, Clark Atlanta University senior Margaret Chambers decided to take a different route with a menswear collection.
Chambers said she fell in love with menswear while studying in London during her last semester.
This combination of fashion and foreign culture stimulates Chambers’ design process, which begins with her favorite steps: research and brainstorming.
“I love to research other designers and fashion from every decade and country around the world,” Chambers said. “I am constantly coming up with new, different, innovative ideas that are somewhat difficult to construct, but I want to show the world that fashion is a self-expressive art.”
Chambers admits that the actual construction process is sometimes difficult to carry out, but that her school’s motto—“I’ll find a way to make one”—keeps her going.
“My ultimate goal is to start my own fashion empire, and I will stop at nothing until my dreams become reality,” Chambers said. “I live by this quote, ‘Limited resources leave room for innovative opportunities.’ “
Chambers hopes to find a position as a junior designer or junior illustrator with a fashion company after graduation but will continue to travel and pursue her studies abroad if she does not enter the professional world.