Twenty-five fashion students at Rowan College at Burlington County showcased their designs at the college’s annual fashion show on May 4.
“We thought we’d only have about 65 to 70 pieces, and then the next thing we know, we’re like, ‘Oh my God, we’re (like) at 78,’” said Lisa Steinberg, program coordinator of the Rowan fashion department.
She described seeing her students bring their ideas to fruition.
“It’s not so easy, because sometimes they come in (and) they’re like, ‘I know what I’m going to do,’ and I’m like, ‘That’s good, but we (have) to get it out of your head and we (have) to get it on paper,’” Steinberg said.
“ … When you see it on the runway, it’s like magic.”
Fashion student Frankie Sanchez, who launched four pieces at the show, originally planned a collection focused on sensuality and explained the focus behind her sketches.
“A lot of them, I never illustrated those types of fabrics before, like the snakeskin and the see-through sequins,” she said, “but once I see something and I’m committed, I have to do it.”
Sanchez described the types of fabrics she works with.
“It’s really what catches my eye,” she explained. “I love working with stiffer fabrics and also with very lightweight silk or lace. I’m very good with those because I used to (design) evening wear and I work best with them.”
“When it comes to very slippery fabrics that will leave holes in them, like leather and everything, I feel like it’s a nightmare,” Sanchez added. “Because once you see it, you can’t unsee it, and some people have a specialty in that. I look up to them because that’s a lot to work with.”
Fashion student Deborah McGill, who showcased three pieces at the fashion event, explained how her lifestyle inspired her collection.
“I used to have to pack my clothes all day for the whole day, so versatility is where I’m coming from,” she said. “To be able to dress down and throw on signature pieces to dress up in case I don’t have time to go home.”
McGill noted how she works through the creative process.
“What has been my holdup is the fact that I don’t draw well,” she acknowledged. “Within me, I have all of these visions that I cannot put on paper and it’s, ‘No I’m not there.’ But Lisa (Steinberg) had me just do the best (I) can.”
“ … I was able to get my vision across in what I wanted to do and I would like to hone in on that.”
Fashion student Atillahan Ozturk, who had three pieces featured in the show, described his collection, what he called “Biomorphed.”
“It has a take on biomimicry … being inspired by nature or design or a specific system,” he said. “Also, I really wanted mine to focus on sustainability … I don’t believe it’s just a trend. I think it’s something we have to really pay attention (to) now as it gets worse and worse.”
“My collection is made out of all natural materials, so cotton or wool and silk,” Ozturk added. “Each (piece) is inspired by a different climate.”
The student loves to experiment with different fabrics, but he emphasized how the design process can be difficult.
“You gather research about what you want in your pieces and that takes at least a week,” he said. “And then the second week, you look over your research and then you start sketching down. But that’s not your actual sketches.”
“Towards the end of the second or third week, that’s when you start really making pieces on (your) own,” Ozturk added. “So that part is the longest part.”
Ozturk described what he looked forward to most about the show.
“ … Seeing the models come out one by one with the clothes on,” he offered. “Because … I feel like every person that works on crafts, if it’s making a bench or constructing a building, it’s like when you see the final piece, you’re like, ‘That came out of me.’”