Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dominican University Fashion Show

As the 2011 DU fashion show approaches (April 9-10), I can't help but think back to only two years ago when I was in the senior designer's shoes. Senior year was, hands down, one of the most stressful years of my life thus far. However, I wouldn't go back to change a thing! My senior collection was a reflection of what I was feeling at the time and was the personal release that I needed to clear my head and my heart... to give me a fresh start and ultimately the courage to be doing what I am today. So lets take a journey back in time... shall we?

Picture it... River Forest 2009... I've worked an entire semester for 2 days, 3 shows and one cohesive collection...

Purity, Perfection, Sophistication, Contemplation

The concept behind my senior collection, entitled “Attempted Entrapment” is based on the idea that society, the media, and other people may try to change who you are to match what they want to see, but in the end you are the person you are and no one can change that besides yourself. This collection of four garments is bringing to life the emotions one feels when he or she is being pressured by outsiders. First, multiple layers of sheer fabrics are used to emulate the complex levels of the human mind. All of the layers of fabric work together to create a new pattern just as people are very complex and multilayered. Secondly the use of constricting undergarments such as petticoats, a pannier and corsets represent the way society and some people may try to change and mold others into what is deemed acceptable. The unique and flattering silhouettes help the viewer visualize ideals that are imposed by society such as purity, sophistication, quietude and perfection. The innovation in the construction of the garments as well as the creation of the fabrics exemplifies the ideals of individuality.

This was the end to my academic career at Dominican as well as the beginning to realizing who I am as a designer. Since then, I have started my own business and just released my 4th and most cohesive collection, Intergalactic Expedition.

Atlantis Gown, and the first piece of my latest collection

I am also proud to announce that I will be having my first solo show at the Society of the Danube Swabians Cultural Center on May 22nd called "in detail" I'm excited to have my first show for my line, Rare, and can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. I'm just glad that my senior collection was able to help launch me to this point!

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicago Fashion Incubator

My journey with the Chicago Fashion Incubator has been a long and interesting one and it has really only just begun.

It all began when i was an intern for the lovely and talented Lidia Wachowska of Evil Kitty. She was one of the six Designers in Residence at the time which meant that the Chicago Fashion Incubator was her home for a year long program that provides local "designers with the resources, workspace, showroom, curriculum, and mentoring to grow their business while establishing networks in the community. The designer's also have the opportunity to showcase their lines at local events and fashion shows. Along with all of this the designers get a chance to learn the business of fashion to ensure they can successfully launch their own company." ( There I learned all about running a small fashion line as well as about the how the Incubator program could grow a business from a thought to a reality.

(Evil Kitty Blazer I designed and sewed during my internship, 2008)

After graduation, my good friend and peer, Miriam Carlson of Miriam Cecilia was chosen to be a DIR for 2010. By following her on Facebook and Twitter as well as our texts and calls... I saw how the Incubator program really catapulted her line from her senior collection and mica inspired pieces to a successful business. It was crazy to follow her journey and I felt like I knew a celebrity!

(Miriam and I backstage at the Dominican University Fashion Show, 2009)

While she was doing her thing at the Incubator, I was doing mine all on my own... so I frequently called upon her for some advice and industry knowledge that she gained from the program. I thought I was doing pretty well for my first year, but never saw the Incubator program as an option for me because my line was so focused and for such a small niche market. But with a little encouragement from my college professor, I applied for a 2011 DIR position.

I got through to the interview portion and on Dec 3rd I packed up my garments for the 11th floor of Macy's on State Street. During the interview process, I could tell that the panel was impressed with what I was able to accomplish in under 1 year and they all commented on the quality of my workmanship and the overall professionalism I was able to create with my limited resources. I had a great time talking with them about my line and who I was as a designer, but I came out of the interview knowing that the position was not mine to be had. I had a gut feeling that they loved my work, but didn't think my stuff was right for the program.

(The Rainforest Queen Dirndl, one of the pieces I showcased during my interview, 2010)

Soon enough I received the e-mail that I was not chosen as one of the 2011 Designers in Residence, but I was, however, chosen to be in the Associate Designer program. "The Associate Designer Program is a year long program for 12 designers that encourages them to become a DIR the following year. It includes quarterly workshops, roundtables, and access to the workspace on an appointment basis. This allows for possible DIR applicants to get a foot in the door, share resources, and connect with other local designers and organizations." ( For me this was really exciting! I knew (and obviously the panel of judges knew too) that the ful-on DIR program would not be as beneficial to my line and it was simply not a perfect fit... but I do believe that the AD program is a great fit for me!

This program will allow me to keep doing what I do, but help me be better! I can learn immensely from the workshops and roundtable discussions, but I can work from my space and go at my own pace. This program has already helped me and the director, Lara Miller, has been the most helpful and wonderful mentor throughout this journey.

(The crowd at the CFI Launch party, 2011)

At the CFI Launch Party last week, the 6 designers were revealed, one of whom is a Dominican Alum, Concetta Cipriano of Cettina. It was a great way to celebrate her induction as well as show my face as a confident and local designer at the party. As usual, I wasn't the social butterfly, but I faced my fears and attended the party. I can't wait to see what else the AD program and the CFI have in store for me, and I'm ready for the ride!

(Miriam and I at the CFI Launch Party, 2011)

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Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Last week and at the beginning of this week... I was having a hard time looking on the bright side. I was second guessing myself right and left, feeling like my heart was racing at all times, and unable to focus. I felt like the world was closing in on me. Uh... it was! I was loosing myself and all my stuff in my stuff! My studio space (my parents dining room and living room, but its fancier and more professional to say studio) was a clutter explosion of papers, fabric, lace, everything! I was lost in my own house.

My dad was going out with the boys on tuesday night, so I asked my mom if she would help me clean up and re-organize my studio/life. I knew that I needed more drawers, bigger containers and a filing system, but I didn't know where to start. I had a drawer for lace, trim, ribbon and hardware for my collections, but it was over flowing and most of the lace couldn't fit, so it just lid out on the table. The whole point of having a big table is to cut on it, but I was using the living room floor as a cutting table because my table was out of control!

I can't thank my mom enough for helping me. With only what I use on a daily basis upstairs in the work space, the table cleared, and all my supplies and papers organized, I feel so much better. I feel in control again, and if you know me, you know how much i love controlling things!

Thank you mom! I promise to try my hardest to keep it this way!

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