For Jessica McNear, it all begins with inspiration.
Now working as an assistant designer at Norisol Ferrari in New York after graduating from CSU in December with a bachelorâ€™s degree in apparel merchandising, McNear is one of 15 students who designed a collection for this years annual CSU fashion show â€œBeyond the Surface.â€
The design process
McNearâ€™s collection, created during her senior capstone design class, was completed after an extensive process. She created eight pieces resulting in five total looks: two evening dresses, two tops, two skirts, one jacket and one pair of pants.
â€œThis line was inspired by the idea of one finding oneself in the beauty of being alone in the world,â€ McNear said. â€œI was greatly inspired by the nature of the plains of the Midwest and the desolate areas within.â€
After the initial inspiration, McNear then researched as much as possible. Throughout the process, she took photographs, tested fabric manipulation and dye techniques, looked to other designers and created a book to house it all.
â€œThen I go fabric shopping,â€ McNear said, adding that the entire capstone collection cost her more than $1,000 of her own money in fabric and trims alone.
After sketching â€œover one hundred versions for each piece,â€ McNear then takes to draping muslin fabric on a mannequin to test each pieceâ€™s feasibility.
She then transfers the draped forms to paper to create a first pattern, which goes into pattern-making software.
â€œThe patterns are then printed and cut into the sample muslin fabric to test the first fit,â€ McNear said.
â€œThe changes are marked on the garment, the garment is taken apart and measured, the changes are fixed on the pattern-making software and the sample-making to fitting process begins again.â€
This process can repeat itself over and over, McNear said, adding that once sheâ€™s satisfied with the results, the endless hours of cutting, pinning, sewing and ironing begin.
â€œEnding the process of production comes the process of hand sewing all the finishing touches.â€
And these are just the steps for one piece.
â€œThe biggest challenge of designing is not wanting to set fire to everything you have done halfway through the design process,â€ McNear said. â€œAfter staring at a design and working so closely with it for so many hours, it is only human nature to want to change everything about it.â€
Kallie Berry, a senior apparel merchandising major and designer for â€œBeyond the Surface,â€ will be showing a five-piece menswear line â€“â€“ the only one of its kind in the show.
â€œThe line is inspired by colors in the Saddleback butterflyfish and the surf culture of the late 1960s and 1970s,â€ Berry said, adding that this inspiration came to her after spending a summer in Los Angeles interning at Billabong.
â€œMy favorite part of designing is seeing the final product,â€ Berry said. â€œIt makes me feel so accomplished to see the clothes go from patterns to fabric choices to samples to final garments.â€
Berry said the most challenging part for her is learning to really work on things all the time. You canâ€™t pump out a design line in a few hours the way you could a paper you procrastinated on,â€ she said.
â€œSo many people take their clothes for granted,â€ Berry said. â€œBut when you really get into design, itâ€™s such a process.â€
â€œBeyond the Surfaceâ€ will be held at the University Center for the Arts Griffin Concert Hall Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
â€œIt has become a full stage production,â€ said Carol Engel-Enright, internship coordinator for apparel merchandising. â€œI think people will be really wonderfully surprised. Itâ€™s not just a runway show.â€
Engel-Enright said the show, planned and produced by a 35-member student committee, will include videos, special effects, staging and a performance by hip-hop artist Black Prez.
Fifteen design studentsâ€™ original collections will be seen on the runway, along with a 20-piece collection of â€œstriking draped garments made from recycled military parachutes,â€ according to Engel-Enright.
Tickets for the show are $10 for students, $15 for adults and $7 for youth 12 and under, and can be purchased online at csuartstickets.com.
A VIP dinner will be held Saturday before the show from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets, which include reserved seats at the show, are $60 each.
Collegian writer Emily Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Event Details – What: â€œBeyond the Surfaceâ€ fashion show – When: Friday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. – Where: Griffin Concert Hall in the University Center for the Arts – Tickets: $10 for students, available at csuartstickets.com