CCAD Senior Fashion Show profile: Caroll Kern

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

For her designs in the CCAD Senior Fashion Show, on Friday, May 8, Caroll Kern looked at her own experiences for inspiration. Sure, the wonderfully charming looks evoke that late '60s/early '70s style. But that only the takes the surface into account, as the collection also expresses important moments in Kern's life - a time that certainly didn't take place when Three Dog Night's "Joy to the World" was dominating the Billboard charts.

"My collection is a narrative about moving somewhere or traveling somewhere new. It's also juxtaposed with the feeling of falling in love. It was kind of my journey to CCAD, to Ohio. I had fallen in love with someone who went to school here [so] it's a personal narrative. We ended up breaking up and we're still friends, so I think the overall narrative … is very light and happy, but has these moments of darkness as well. My materials are inspired by that - they are very bright and colorful [and] everything looks very happy. If you look closer there are some harder moments," Kern said openly.

Kern was living outside Los Angeles (Simi Valley) before attending CCAD, and the California-vibe influence is obvious. There's an elegant flow and graceful appeal to her garments that effortlessly bounces between fresh and classic fits.

Vintage clothing and fabrics have been a part of Kern's professional life as well, dealing in retro lines and working at throwback boutique Flower Child in the Short North. But again, Kern was more interested in representing her personal ideals (along with presenting the aesthetic she finds appealing).

"I'm very interested in sustainability in fashion design so a lot of my fabrics are dead stock, vintage fabrics. In my collection there are a lot of textiles actually from the '70s. I tried to source fabric from the era I was inspired by. The '60s and '70s were this free [time] and a lot of things were happening … and I think that's [true of recent times too]," she said.

Another personal approach Kern has taken with her line is in the accessories - everything from perfectly kitschy sunglasses (complete with alligator paws!) to pastel-colored bracelets and necklaces creating little pops.

"I just love them. I think accessories make the outfit. My collection has a lot of prints, but I do work in a lot of solid color too. I love pattern making, not just print, but actual garment pattern. So I like taking those interesting patterns and complementing that with accessories. To me, the whole look is very important," Kern said.

Kern pointed out that since her collection, titled "Wanderlust Wonderlust," was borne out of a sense of the unknown (with love serving as the impetus), it's perfect for travel and adventure. Thankfully for the Columbus fashion community, Kern plans on forgoing any travel in the near future to make a base here and "stay in [her] fabulous Olde Towne East apartment."

Caroll Kern

Age: 22

Neighborhood: Olde Towne East

Hometown: Simi Valley

Instagram: @olcarolina

carollkern.com