Susanna Treacy: Learning Portfolio Reflection
From the time I was sitting in my home economics class when I was eleven years old, I have dreamed of attending Parsons School of Fashion. Growing up in New Jersey, only thirty minutes outside of New York City, I’ve experienced the diverse, fast paced environment of NYC my entire life, and I have always wanted to live there. Today I am living that dream. As a Parsons Fashion Design major, I have been able to express my enthusiasm and passion for colorful, preppy, and tailored pieces. This journey of self-discovery has led me to find an innate talent for designing childrenswear.
“Preppy with a twist” is how I would describe my work. I have always been attracted to the classic, tailored, prep school look. Straight lines, sharp edges, and clean finishes are essential details in every piece I make. However, I strive to give these recognizable styles something unique. Whether it’s a new seam line, non-traditional fabrics, or a decorative feature, I try to figure out what will make my piece stand out in the crowd. Most importantly, a garment is not completed for me unless there is a functional and fun feature. Kids need a healthy balance between work and play. I create clothing for school that they can play with. Tops you can paint on, vests you can weave together, and jackets with patches you can take on and off give a child a fun activity that allows them to express themselves.
Children should have the right to be who they are and feel confident. I use a lot of gender-neutral colors and prints so any child feels comfortable wearing my designs. On top of that, the functional features allow them to give a piece their own personal touch. In order to create these features, I have to do countless sample swatches to figure out what works. I test different attachments and fabric combinations to see what is easy, durable, and of course, aesthetically pleasing. The fabric I use most frequently is vinyl.
Once I know how the features will work, I select my swatch palette and draw my designs in Illustrator with my Wacom tablet. Then I begin to drape and pattern make my selected looks. The reason I make these playful garments is because I have struggled, like many adults, to find my healthy balance of work and play. I was all about work and my stress level was very high. In today’s society, there is more pressure on children to be prodigies in one too many areas. Many children are overworked and constantly busy. If I could create something that gives them the ability to play and boost their confidence, then I would feel like I made a difference. It is so important to teach children to find that balance, because if they find it when they are young, they will carry it with them the rest of their lives.
Mary Poppins said, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. Find the fun and the job’s a game!” I wouldn’t say I research; I actually just like to play and connect with my inner child. I often go to toy stores and bookstores to play and read. There is so much inspiration all around us and if you just let yourself laugh and play, something will trigger a brilliant idea. Puzzle pieces, blocks, toy trains, and board games have sparked some of my best ideas ever. Inside every person there is a child. In order to design for a kid, sometimes I have to think like one.
Going forward, I’d like to build on this concept that I am so passionate about. I hope to create something that is even smarter and more enjoyable than what I have already created. I would like to expand my knowledge of craft and wearable tech and see how I can apply that knowledge to my designs. Also, I would like to work more directly with children during my research phase to hear their opinions. Although I would like to work for a large brand after I get my degree, I do hope that one day I will be able to start my own line.