By Kristen M. Foley
You often hear stories from artists about how they were able to channel a certain personal experience or passion into their work. Rachel Chertoff takes raw emotion and channels it into wearable art.
“I am able to come up with my concepts when I am kind of miserable, as weird as that sounds. It helps me get whatever is bouncing around in my brain onto paper and then to move on and forward with that concept,” she explains. “At the end of the day I know I will have my creativity and that’s what I rely on, especially through those rough times we go through in life.”
She describes her collection, “Human Desire,” as having everything to do with the beauty she sees in the way humans desire, whether it’s one another, materialistic things, or ideas. She also notes that there is beauty in the low points of our lives.
“I kind of was lost this past summer because I was just getting out of a long relationship with someone who helped get me where I am today as a designer,” said Rachel. “So I was trying find myself and figuring out what I wanted with my life and what I wanted my next step to be.”
Her experience and emotions fueled her creativity as she developed her collection, but her themes are also reflected in tangible ways.
“I went to this idea of showing parts of the body that I think are beautiful and what other people desire to see,” said Rachel. “The designs are also functional pieces for the carefree person who is taking things one step at a time.”
Rachel incorporated her love of knitting and crocheting, or as she calls it her “grandma habit,” into her collection, but on an elevated and youthful level.
“I hand-crocheted and knitted big pieces. It’s one of the most time consuming things I have done, but it’s worth it in the end,” Rachel said. “Using those skills helps convey my concept because this collection is like showing the public a very special secret piece of me that I wouldn’t normally share. I am excited to be conveying this piece of me to the public.”
Expressing her personality through fashion has always been important to Rachel; however, it wasn’t always easy to do, especially since she relied on the hand me downs of her sister and sister’s friends.
“I am a girl of 5’1″ stature and clothing that I would want to wear was always difficult to come across,” she said. “But it was always a way for me to express how I was doing in my life.”
After years of hard work at CCAD, Rachel can express herself through designs of her own making. Her CCAD journey began when she visited the college on the advice of her guidance counselor.
“I came and received a tour and then I was told about the College PreView program, which I then attended, and I just fell in love with the school,” she said.
Now as graduation nears, Rachel reflects on her time and offers those just starting their college experience a little advice.
“Don’t get discouraged. Things get tough and it’s a difficult journey but you can’t forget the good times you have along the way and focus on the bad,” she advises. “You will have great friends who last a lifetime and the goofy memories that you’ll keep.”
Rachel Chertoff is a native of Buffalo, NY, and a graduate of Williamsville East High School.
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.