CCAD Senior Fashion Show profile: Derek Fergusson

Jesse Tigges, Columbus Alive

Derek Fergusson has wanted to be a fashion designer for as long as he can remember.

"Ever since I was six years old, that was the only thing I ever wanted to be. In kindergarten we had to write a list of what we wanted to be when we grew up and it just stuck," Fergusson said with aplomb.

The young designer credits his family - his parents for their unwavering support and his grandmother for teaching him to sew - for fostering his life-long dream and making it a reality. But there's another - unexpected - place a family member deeply impacted his love for all things fashion. Fergusson's father used to watch old movies with his young son, and that pastime translated to an inspiration for the line appearing at the CCAD Senior Fashion Show Friday, May 8. And there is one movie in particular.

"I just love 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' and Audrey Hepburn is one of my main inspirations. People inspire me more often than objects and things - their personality. I like to reflect that in the cloths I design, and I'm often inspired by old movies and [clothing from the] '50s and '60s," he said, also citing Alfred Hitchcock films as another strong influence.

Even though Fergusson cites vintage and retro elements as perpetual inspirations, he's constantly keeping up with new trends, while coming up with his own personal modifications for these classic styles.

"I like to take touches [from past styles] and then, maybe with the silhouette, modernize it a little. Or take something and alter it so it looks fresh but has the touch of a vintage wear item," Fergusson said. "I just try to capture that classic look and reflect it into something more modern. I feel like we're losing that and things are becoming more risqué. It's nice to have something timeless that will last - and not be affected by trends - like Audrey Hepburn."

I doubt anyone would argue that Hepburn isn't a great choice as a style icon and inspiration, but Fergusson isn't content to merely settle for something safe. He imbued aspects into the collection, usually as enhancements defined by refinement and attention to detail.

"I laser-cut some flowers and [details], and those little touches really modernize it as well. I knew I wanted to use them in the design to add some subtle femininity. It's a nice subtle detail that you don't see from far away. There's more intrigue as you get closer to the garment," he said.

This approach has allowed Fergusson's designs to combine the past and present, all with an eye toward versatility.

"I want them to have a wide array of functionality so you can dress it up or dress it down. Some pieces you can't do that with; they are a little more formal wear. But something like the pocket dress is a little more casual, and you can dress it up with jewelry or you can wear it out on the town as is," Fergusson said.

Derek Fergusson

Age: 22

Neighborhood: Downtown

Hometown: Wadsworth, Ohio

derekfergusson@squarespace.com