Step one: Making the cut

February 22nd, 2010 by Amanda Fondriest
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By Amanda Fondriest

ccad fashion workroom

designers get ready to show their garments to the jury.

While we are still plowing through another deluge of snow, CCAD designers have their minds set on spring … May 8 to be exact. They are pulling out all the stops to get their garments runway ready.

The first step to sending the models down the catwalk was surviving the February 17 jurying. I was there, meeting with the designers, asking them absurd non-fashion questions like ‘how long did it take you to make that?’ and ‘is it heavy?’

Each garment was reviewed by the jurers, who look at design and construction.

At the jurying, 29 senior designers showcased two of their garments, allowing judges to narrow down the group to the selected individuals whose pieces will make the cut. Garments are judged by Fashion Design Chair Suzanne Cotton, Dean of Visual Communications Richard Aschenbrand, and Fashion Design faculty-member Richard Hurley. They look at the design itself and the quality of its construction. Designers don’t find out whether or not they make the cut until the end of February, so (as a dear friend of mine would say) it’s kind of a big deal.

Last minute tweaks before going before the jury.

Needless to say, designers arrived early for the 8 a.m. event, putting all the finishing touches on their garments before they went in front of the jurors. Once the models arrived—some at the last possible minute, which made for more than one panicked designer—designers carefully outfitted them, adjusted everything one last time, and crossed their fingers. Then, one-by-one, models posed for photographs, which will be used by the hair and makeup teams, walked in front of the jury table, did a bit of a turn, and stood still as the jurors critiqued the garment. After all of this, the model came back to the workroom, had a hurried conversation with the designer about what the jurors had to say, quickly changed into his/her second garment, and repeated the process.

So where did it all really start?

Checking every detail.

Most of the designers to whom I talked began the whole process the same way we see the Project Runway designers do: they sat down at their workbench, sketched, and then went to get fabric and materials. (They regaled me with details of these fabulous stores where people in the ‘biz’ shop that we normal people don’t even know exist.) Personally, I imagine a wonderful stone cottage with rooms exclusively for buttons and zippers, every inch of the walls covered in fabric and thread, and an elderly woman helping to pick out the perfect tweed for a pantsuit.

If I learned anything from the jurying—besides that one must drink more than one cup of coffee before entering a room with nearly 60 models and designers—it is this: every designer is different, and the stories behind their collections are just as unique as the pieces they craft. One designer I spoke to worked in reverse, purchasing her fabrics during a trip to New York City and then sitting down to sketch (gasp!). I’ll tell you all about her and why her collection is getting a high-profile in March, so stay tuned.

You’ll be hearing from me again next week when I tell you all about the importance of this show, why it matters to the college, the students, and the community. Until then, cheers!

For more on the May 8 Senior Fashion show check out the event page

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The CCAD Fashion Show is an annual fundraising event that showcases the talent of graduating Columbus College of Art & Design Fashion Design Seniors. This popular event sells out every year and this blog is a portal through which to view the behind-the-scenes goings on.

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