Annika Simmons’ love for creating clothes started as early as she can remember. She can recall sitting at the feet of her mother and grandmother listening to the hum of the sewing machine while creating dresses for her dolls by hand with the scraps of material they would give her. She credits her sincere passion for the craft of creating clothes and fashion to those special matriarchs of her youth.
“I remember the feel of the fabric, the cool thimbles protecting my little fingers from pricks, and always running to my mom to show her my creations,” says Annika. “One day, she and my grandma surprised me with my first sewing box, which I still use to this day, filled with everything a beginning seamstress could need. After they taught me how to use the sewing machine, I was hooked.”
Annika’s mother continued to encourage her daughter’s newfound hobby and bought her as much fabric as she desired. But the hobby turned into much more as Annika spent much of her elementary and high school years creating clothes for herself and her friends. By the time she graduated high school she had a closet full of things she had created. While she jokes that not all of the outfits were “good,” her sheer passion for the art definitely came through.
“It’s kind of an enamoring experience to design…to create. It fills almost every waking hour and sometimes fills the ones where I’m dreaming as well,” said Annika. “Sitting at my sewing machine, making something, fills me with such an unprecedented joy, almost a pure sense of peace and fulfillment. I’ve never lost that feeling, and I think that with the guidance and inspiration of my mother I followed the path of fashion design.”
Annika’s designs for this year’s CCAD Senior Fashion Show may pull a bit from the whimsical notions of her youth but combines it with inspiration of the gentle, sweeping strokes of Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s Stolen Kiss painting. Add in her love for the Lolita designs of Japanese Street Fashion and you have a collection that can be deliciously described with words like pastel, confectionery, sleek, frilly, girly, and dreamy. It’s also the only line that will be worn by both adult and child models during the show.
“Fragonard has always had a soft, gentle palette with sweeping strokes that makes his artwork every bit romantic. I believe his painting, “Stolen Kiss” represents the ideals of the Rococo time period.”
Since her first exposure to the craft was from watching her mother weave the needle and thread, it’s no surprise that she is most proud of the detailed, yet laborious, hand-stitched hems on all of her creations.
“I like hand-finishing details because I feel like you can get a more professional look than if you have a lot of top-stitching or things that can be seen on the designs,” says Annika. “It’s not hard, but it is time-consuming; but, if you want something to look really pristine, you have to take the time to do it.”
Make sure you don’t miss out on seeing Annika’s confectionery designs at this year’s Senior Fashion Show. Buy your tickets today before they are all gone!
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.