Getting to the Surface of Alyssa Johnson’s Collection

April 13th, 2012 by Kristen Foley
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Alyssa Johnson and one of her final pieces.

Alyssa Johnson always knew she wanted to do something in the arts. She toggled between acting and painting, and finally chose fashion design because she could incorporate her love of fine arts into her own version of wearable art.

“I liked the idea of creating something and having it afterwards and it being a functional piece,” recalls Alyssa. “After taking a surface design class here [at CCAD] I realized I could do both fine arts and fashion by creating textiles of my own.”

Her love of textiles, prints, and patterns were part of her immediate vision for her collection this year; however, she also drew inspiration from Gustav Klimt’s painting “Water Serpents I” and Boleslas Biegas’ sculpture “The Haunted House.”

“I immediately knew I was going to use Klimt for my painter [muse] and based my entire collection around him,” says Alyssa. “I wanted to focus on surface and textile design and Klimt does a lot of really intricate patterns and the colors are something I’ve always been drawn to. The simple silhouettes in my collection come from Biegas’ sculpture.”

Alyssa used her knack for surface design in creating many of her silk-screened pieces. Organic shapes flow cohesively with other elements of the collection and are mixed with structured geometric shapes. She achieved clean lines in her fabrics with the use of applique, and added several embellishments with “little fun circles” and gold accents throughout the pieces.

While creating her own textiles and patterns is something she is passionate about, there are key aspects of the design process that also keep her motivated.

Elements of Alyssa's organic geometric shapes in sketch and fabric form.

“My favorite part is still finding inspiration and making mood boards. My computer is full of many different folders that contain tons of images that inspire me,” says Alyssa. “Its so interesting to me to see what else is going on in the fashion world and what else is possible to do through clothing design.”

As the days to the CCAD Senior Fashion Show draw near, Alyssa has thoughts of graduation and a big move to New York City on her mind. She readily admits that she values the experiences and education she received from CCAD and her fellow students. She notes that it’s not always easy to take criticism, especially when it’s about something so personal; but as a student of design, peers and faculty are trying to help, not offend. She also notes students should be aware of their weaknesses and either work harder on them or accept them and move on.

“I’m very self aware. I know what I’m good at and I know what I’m not good at and I know when to ask for help,” says Alyssa. “I’m fearless in terms of design, so I’m not afraid to fail or mess up.”

Perhaps her most sound and lighthearted advice is to never say that you don’t know how to do something.

“It’s 2012,” she says. “Google it!”

You can Google the CCAD Senior Fashion show or just click here to get your tickets today.

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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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