Designer in Rhode Island Fashion Week

I was invited by a friend who was interning at Donahue Models and Talent, who was hosting Rhode Island Fashion Week, to apply for the student exhibit that would kick off RIFW. Although I only had a little less than a month to do everything, I took on the challenge.

As I’ve lived in Manhattan and Warwick, Rhode Island,  I’ve realized my style changes depending on where I am. When I’m in the city I liked to dress goth, (not when I’m at work though) and at home in RI I dress preppy and girly. I decided my theme for the capsule would be edgy with a girly flare and it would be for the Spring/Summer. Then I started my sketches.

Within the first week, I had to submit two drawings and two finished outfits for my application. I tried to design pieces that were unique but still ready-to-wear. My designs changed over time based on my limited skills and fabric choices. I chose mostly stretchy materials like cotton lycra so that I wouldn’t need buttons or zippers and so the pieces had a better chance of fitting my models. I did end up incorporating a zipper in a white and yellow skirt which I wore on the day of the show. One of my biggest challenges was finding a happy medium between simplicity and uniqueness.

Throughout this month of creating, I had to change my ideas a lot more than I expected. I realized I hadn’t taken my models concerns into account. Two of the shirts were supposed to have exposed breasts however after talking to one of my models who had a larger bust, I realized she might not be comfortable in a top like that. I also changed some of the design because the show was going to be held in Rhode Island, a place full of conservatives and people who don’t understand or care about fashion. I was trying to please the audience and my models.

Making the Outfits

All the outfits were made by draping

The idea for this red top was to have one side of the top darker and covering the whole chest while the other half fitted below the bust, but not the breast itself. After trying the above version on and realizing my curvier models might be uncomfortable in something like this, I decided a white segment above the light red to cover up the breast. I later added white along the bottom of the top to add more coverage.

For the shorts, I wanted them to be color blocked with a darker red circle on the butt to accentuate it. I installed that piece by creating the red shorts then cutting that area out and sewing in the darker red which was a mistake. I should have sewn the darker red into the lighter red before they were made into shorts because installing it after was harder and didn’t look good when it was finished.

The second outfit was made of a grey stretchy material and shear white fabric. I realized I hadn’t chosen a color scheme for my collection at this point and I wanted to use more Spring/Summer colors. I chose to redo the piece not only because I didn’t like the fabric colors but I also made it too small.

This was one side of the shorts.

The was inside of the front of the longer white skirt that I wore the day of the show.

The inside of the white top without straps and before the upper frontal darts were sewn in.

The red shorts before they were hemmed and after I redid the back.

I do realize that I put darts into stretchy fabric which is not common however I wanted to ensure the best fit for my models. I don’t think the darts distract from the designs.

The fitting was the night before the show. It went really well. Minor adjustments needed to be made but their were no big issues which I was really happy about.

 

Show Photos

This was the opening piece. I made this skirt as a back up and thank god I did. The first look was supposed to be a tight white and yellow skirt however it was made for a size six. While I was making the outfits I realized I should make an extra piece because two models had already canceled on me. I made a wrap skirt so that it could fit any model and I left the tube top pretty big so that it could be easily modified to fit a lot of body types. I fitted this model right before the show so making the pieces easily adjustable was life saving.  I ended up wearing the white and yellow skirt at the end of the show.

 

I made this orange tube top with a cut out in the middle. It’s so incredible making clothing but then actually seeing it on a normal body. On my mannequin this top looked too big but it fit perfectly on the model. The shorts were mid thigh and wide legged. It had a small belt that tied in a bow.

 

 

This outfit was an amazing surprise to see moving because it looked so much better than when it was stagnant. Originally the orange frills were supposed to be red, to match with the final outfit however the material I chose was too silky and slippery, therefore I ended up using a firmer, but still flowing, orange material. I was really happy with how the top came out because it fit her perfectly. I would love to add longer, floor length pieces to the skirt at some point.

This was the final look. I mad these shorts tight with a light red fabric in the front and darker red in the back along with a white frilly piece in the front. The top is half tube top half sleeveless shirt. To make the outfits more causal, I added socks with heals.

Overall I really appreciate having this opportunity. I proved to myself that I work hard for the things I’m passionate about. While I was making these pieces I was dealing with midterms in school and my job. This opportunity has made me more confident in my fashion designing and it makes me excited for future opportunities.

 

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