Chrissy Buskirk Brings Personal Philosophy to Claire McCardell Inspired Looks

March 16th, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Chrissy Buskirk

The fact that Chrissy Buskirk finds inspiration from ’40s and ’50s era garments, films, and music is only one reason Claire McCardell is such a fitting Masters of Design muse for her.

MCardell, a popular designer in the ’40s and ’50s, is best known for American women’s sportswear and has been called the founder of American ready-to-wear fashion. Staying away from the tradition of looking to French designers for inspiration, she created clothes that were functional and flattered the female form without artificial understructures. Designing under the label Claire McCardell Clothes by Townley, she was one of the first American designers to have name recognition.

There is an interesting parallel between the two. McCardell was forced to design around the challenges of fabric rationing during WWII—an issue that only strengthened a design aesthetic that would lead her to be referred to as the creator of the “American look.” Chrissy has worked with a sort of self-imposed fabric rationing, as she began her collection with a singular goal—to use only recycled fabric. While this approach led to some of her greatest challenges, it also supported a larger philosophy that Chrissy embraces: that fashion can be good and good for the environment.

Chrissy's illustrations (right) show influence by Claire McCardell's designs (left)

“I want to make people aware that you can do good things with fashion without hurting the environment or taking advantage of cheap labor,” Chrissy explained.

While there’s a serious mission behind her work, the clothes themselves are playful and bright. Some of the separates, including a romper and puffy shorts, reference pieces McCardell introduced to American sportswear. The mix of patterns and colors speak both to Chrissy’s creative mind and her fabric recycling endeavor.

While Chrissy would not allow herself the luxury of going to a fabric store and simply choosing a new textile that would perfectly suit her needs, she did make a trip to Chicago to shop the ample number of vintage and thrift stores. She also perused ebay and bid on a ’70s-era bed sheet for her romper—a piece she is particularly proud of due to the technical difficulty involved in constructing it.

Claire McCardell Time Magazien cover (screen shot).

Chrissy’s journey with CCAD began young when the Sunbury, OH native enrolled in Saturday Morning Art Classes while still in middle school. Later, with encouragement from her AP art instructors, Chrissy applied to CCAD with her eye on Fashion Design.

As her educational journey comes to fruition, Chrissy already has plans for her next step. Staying true to her social-good philosophies, Chrissy will be joining a group from her church on a six-month trip to Birmingham, England where she will teach sewing to individuals looking to learn an income-earning trade.

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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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2 Responses to “Chrissy Buskirk Brings Personal Philosophy to Claire McCardell Inspired Looks”

  1. Kelli Campbell says:

    Congratulations Chrissy! Nice article. Wishing you all the best in your design career.

  2. Branded Clothing says:

    Good Article Chrissy. Nice Share. All the Best!