CCAD attracts students from all over the world for its various programs. Fashion Design is no different. Two students from China chose CCAD to learn all aspects of garment design and construction. As with all of the seniors, each ended their years of study with a vision for what they wanted their final collection to be.
Shirley Weng moved to the United States with her parents from Shanghai and completed her high school education in upstate New York. During her senior year, it was her art teacher who suggested CCAD to Shirley. But, he originally suggested it more for her drawing talents than for her love of fashion.
“When I first came to CCAD I wanted to study Fine Arts, but I also have always loved fashion,” says Shirley. “I always wanted to learn how to make my own clothes and when I was young, my dream was to have my own fashion show and name brand.”
Shirley will make part of that dream come true when her collection, inspired by her chosen muses and her love of current high-fashion designs, takes the stage for the first time.
“Some of my pieces were inspired by Dior’s 2012 spring collection, but the incredible details in my pieces came from my muses, the sculptor Naum Gabo and French painter, Francis Picabia,” notes Shirley. “Personally, I love detail in clothing and I worked extra hard to add specific touches to my collection.”
That detail can be found in the ribbon pleats of one of her shirts and a dress she weaved together using rolls and rolls of silk ribbon. The specific idea of using the ribbon came to her after studying the abstract strokes in Picabia’s painting, “Woman Wearing Monacle.” Her chosen sculpture, Gabo’s “Linear Construction in Space,” added an extra element of energy and form that provided her with an even deeper sense of detailed inspiration.
“Francis Picabia was an impressionist and surrealist and his painting style was really energetic,” says Shirley. “He uses a lot of detail and flow, which made me think of using the ribbon.”
The ribbon detail is unique, but Shirley points out that the process itself was extremely time consuming.
“My most difficult challenge was always time,” she remembers. “Because all of my pieces incorporated those intricate details, it took a really long time to finish.”
All her hard work is about to pay off though when five of Shirley’s garments grace the runway on Friday, May 11.
As new students embark on the path she’s about to leave, Shirley offers a few key points of advice.
“Set up goals and plans, so you will have steps to follow and won’t get lost along the way,” she advises. ”Also, put yourself out there. Complete as many internships as you can and just try to get as much experience before graduation. It will be all worth it in the end.”
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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.