Mea Adams’ Looks Capture the Youthful Energy of Betsey Johnson

March 14th, 2011 by Lacey Luce
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Mea Adams

Mea Adams chose Betsey Johnson as her muse because: “Her designs are so fun and energetic. Every garment that comes down the runway has its own personality. I am always inspired by people who are never afraid to stand out.”

It’s a fitting description for a designer who ran with the likes of Andy Warhol, was married (for a minute) to a member of the Velvet Underground, and whose look is still wowing the runways. New York Magazine says it best in Johnson’s online bio:

“Decades later, she’s still producing frilly retro dresses and kooky-sexy separates. While countless brands describe themselves as “flirty” or “sassy,” Betsey exemplifies both.”

A screen shot from the Betsey Johnson website.

Mea (pronounced May and short for Meagan) has captured Johnson’s energy, whimsy and youthfulness with her collection. Like her muse, Mea was daring enough to mix colors and patterns that others may have shied away from. She also likes to layer fabrics, using the palettes and textures of two pieces to create one textile.

“What I really took from Betsey Johnson,” Mea explains, “was to show my outgoing and fun personality into each of my outfits. My collection is for anyone who loves to follow trends, but is not afraid to step out of the box.”

While her illustrations gave her a jumping off point, fabric choice has been a driving force for Mea in the design process.

“I’m the kind of person who changes my mind every two seconds,” Mea said with a smile. “I design as I go. I look for fabrics and let the material inform the direction I’m going.”

a sneak peak at a garment that shows Mea's use of layering fabrics.

This same willingness to explore and change, led Mea to fashion design. Though she knew she wanted to attend CCAD since she was in middle school, she did not know she wanted to study fashion design—in fact she had done mostly painting and did not know how to sew.

“Fashion design was an unexpected decision. I had always liked fashion and expressing myself through fashion, but hadn’t thought of making clothes,” said Mea. She went on to explain that she likes the hands on aspect of making things. She applied herself to learning to sew, drape, make patterns, and all of the other hands-on training that goes into becoming a fashion designer.

When it came time to do her collection, Mea embraced the challenge and even took on doing two rompers despite being advised against it. The seemingly simple one piece outfits are actually quite difficult, and if a designer gets one element wrong during construction the entire piece can be ruined.

Starting with a sketch.

But Mea stuck with it and is pleased with the end result.

“Don’t make something simple because you don’t have time or you think you can’t do something.” Mea advised.

She certainly didn’t go “simple” with her energetic looks.

The only question left is, will she do a cartwheel down the runway?

Find the answer May 13. Buy tickets at www.ccad.edu/fashion (prices go up March 15).

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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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