TuesdayMay 7, 2019 at 12:28 PM
CCAD seniors design eco-friendly and gender fluid looks.
Sustainability and inclusivity, recurrent themes from emerging fashion designers, will be on display when Columbus College of Art & Design seniors present the school’s annual fashion show and fundraiser, May 10. Alex Domoracki created an outfit to accommodate a range of body types—including the changing waistline of someone undergoing hormone treatments. Columbus native Melissa Marchi found biodegradable buttons made from Ecuadorian tagua nuts and sought out natural fabrics that easily breakdown. Thuy Nguyen constructed a puffer vest from recycled packing materials.
Suzanne Cotton, chair of CCAD’s fashion design program, says she has seen a shift in student interests from the desire to create très-chic fashions to pursuing quality and longevity. As for the themes of diversity and sustainability, she says: “I hear it every day. That’s what’s exciting to our students.”
A native of Vietnam, CCAD student Thuy Nguyen, below right, designed a puffer vest made from recycled packing materials and paired them with slacks that have an unfinished look, worn by model Jiahao Peng. Nguyen says she was affected by the pollution created by the fast-fashion industry in her home country. “People now can buy so much, so cheap,” she says. “I want to go against that, for people to look at how a garment is constructed, to understand the value of the garment.”
Consumers lose a connection with their garments in the world of fast fashion, she explains. Chemicals are used in the dyes, and plenty of materials go to waste. Her puffer vest is created from air-filled bags used as packing materials. “I want to make something that people can form an emotional connection with and enjoy wearing for a long time,” she adds.
Alex Domoracki, right, served as both education leader and president of CCAD’s Queer Alliance. Domoracki (the designer uses pronouns they/them/their) wanted to create gender-neutral fashions that are more fun, and not so focused on oversized clothing or male-oriented styles. Model David Woods is wearing a sweater top with a machine-knit body and hand-knit puffy sleeves created by Domoracki, who is new to knitting.
The printed shorts feature a smocked, stretchy waistband, which the designer says is because of the need to accommodate a range of sizes. For example, one model was transitioning and had started testosterone treatments so Domoracki wanted to accommodate an anticipated weight gain. “There’s a need for gender-neutral clothing that’s more fun,” says the designer. “It doesn’t always need to be oversized or masculine.”
“It feels amazing,” says the model, Woods. “I can do anything in this. I would wear these shorts on any given day. It’s really nice to have something that pertains to me.”
Designer Kristen Wyant, left, a native of Zionsville, Indiana, wanted to depict strong women in her work, resulting in four lavish, detailed costumes representing Japan, England, Greece and Egypt in a series she calls Empowered. Here, model Jiaqi (Jackie) Yu wears a Japanese ensemble that features hand-made blue and red squares, as well as cherry blossoms and chrysanthemums incorporated on the train representing various seasons in Japanese culture. The handmade headpiece also includes flowers.
A fan of “The Lord of the Rings,” Wyant is the only CCAD senior focused on the details of costume design. Her styles are admittedly influenced by a range of sources, from Lady Gaga to Freddie Mercury to Queen Elizabeth II to costume designer Edith Head. Wyant’s love of molding, casting and sculpting is also apparent to her work.
Columbus native Melissa Marchi, right, focused on biodegradable materials throughout her work at CCAD, creating a summer resort collection that she calls Zest. Here, model Olivia Saunders wears clothing made from sustainable products that incorporates lightweight, breathable fabrics and features a bright color that influenced Marchi as she interned in New York City last summer.
Back at CCAD, Marchi scoured the internet and found biodegradable buttons made from Ecuadorian tagua nuts and also identified natural fabrics that easily breakdown. “Sustainability and environmental consciousness have been an important part of my life choices as a consumer and designer,” says the student. “I’m really excited to make a collection that has this as its core value.”
The designer Wes Mills, right, created a look that evokes a baseball jersey, made from black mesh and edged in black rubber reminiscent of dripping oil. Mills’ collection is called Shellshocked, and interior design student Conor Heisler serves as his model for the ultra-modern mesh vest accented with silicone pinstripes.
Mills is inspired by sea turtles and tortoises, and the threat they are under due to pollution in the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean. “Like a turtle’s shell, clothing is the first line of defense that people put on before they go out the door,” he says.
Mills has a local studio at Blockfort and plans to launch his gender-neutral, streetwear athleisure brand after graduation. “I really hope to push my work as much as I can,” he says. “I just want everyone to be comfortable and look good.”
Columbus designer Alanta Slone, right, had an internship at L Brands and fell in love with lingerie. She thrives on the idea that strong women can also be sexy. Her outfit, worn here by model ’Drea Kirby, features an asymmetrical night dress created in muted tones and charcoal black with a thick, exposed underwire at the waist. Slone’s color influence for her CCAD series—including quiet mauves and blushes—came from the wilting flowers following her grandmother’s funeral. During the upcoming senior show, she also will show high-waist corset trousers among her collection.
“When I was little, you couldn’t show your shoulders because it was too risqué,” she says. “I love the idea that you can wear what you want—especially because so many women have been told what to wear for so long.” Slone has accepted a job at La Senza following graduation.