Apr 172012
Authors: Emily Smith

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 bachelor’s degree in apparel merchandising, McNear is one of 15 students who designed a collection for this years annual CSU fashion show “Beyond the Surface.”

The design process

McNear’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.

“This line was inspired by the idea of one finding oneself in the beauty of being alone in the world,” McNear said. “I was greatly inspired by the nature of the plains of the Midwest and the desolate areas within.”

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.

“Then I go fabric shopping,” 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 “over one hundred versions for each piece,” McNear then takes to draping muslin fabric on a mannequin to test each piece’s feasibility.

She then transfers the draped forms to paper to create a first pattern, which goes into pattern-making software.

“The patterns are then printed and cut into the sample muslin fabric to test the first fit,” McNear said.

“The 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.”

This process can repeat itself over and over, McNear said, adding that once she’s satisfied with the results, the endless hours of cutting, pinning, sewing and ironing begin.

“Ending the process of production comes the process of hand sewing all the finishing touches.”

And these are just the steps for one piece.

“The biggest challenge of designing is not wanting to set fire to everything you have done halfway through the design process,” McNear said. “After 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.”

Finding inspiration

Kallie Berry, a senior apparel merchandising major and designer for “Beyond the Surface,” will be showing a five-piece menswear line –– the only one of its kind in the show.

“The line is inspired by colors in the Saddleback butterflyfish and the surf culture of the late 1960s and 1970s,” Berry said, adding that this inspiration came to her after spending a summer in Los Angeles interning at Billabong.

“My favorite part of designing is seeing the final product,” Berry said. “It makes me feel so accomplished to see the clothes go from patterns to fabric choices to samples to final garments.”

Berry said the most challenging part for her is learning to really work on things all the time. You can’t pump out a design line in a few hours the way you could a paper you procrastinated on,” she said.

“So many people take their clothes for granted,” Berry said. “But when you really get into design, it’s such a process.”

The show

“Beyond the Surface” will be held at the University Center for the Arts Griffin Concert Hall Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

“It has become a full stage production,” said Carol Engel-Enright, internship coordinator for apparel merchandising. “I think people will be really wonderfully surprised. It’s not just a runway show.”

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 students’ original collections will be seen on the runway, along with a 20-piece collection of “striking draped garments made from recycled military parachutes,” 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 news@collegian.com.

Event Details – What: “Beyond the Surface” 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

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