By Kristen M. Foley
Olivia Mitchell’s senior collection is influenced by emotion—from grief to love and everything in between. Yet, it’s not only about how she felt when she created each piece, but also the feeling you get when you see them. It’s an emotional journey that started with a somewhat impulsive trip to Europe.
“I had a tragic death in the family during my junior year when my father passed away,” said Olivia. “I just needed a break and I had this opportunity to go to Europe with a fellow student from CCAD who was presenting in Liverpool.”
She started researching her collection and watching for trends while in England. She later found herself in Paris where she purchased fabric for her collection and fell in love with the city’s architecture.
“I had already started out with an architectural theme that had been consistent throughout my work up until my senior year; therefore, I already knew that it was going to play a big part,” notes Olivia. “The whole romance of Europe and the French aesthetic also played a big role.”
She admits that she used really unique pattern construction in her designs, which resulted in pieces that are a bit avant-garde and not “traditional ready-to-wear.” They are elegant and dramatic, which allows the wearer to stand out at a special event.
“I approached each piece kind of like a painting, and I imagine it as art more than as a commodity,” she says. “Just as a painter would look at their work and feel something from it, that’s how I engage with my design.”
Olivia always knew that her future would involve the art of fashion. It started when she was little girl sketching images from fashion magazines and evolved into a love of painting and fine art.
“One day it became obvious to me that I was an artist,” said Olivia. “As an artist, the love of architecture and structural drawings captured my heart. I pursued studies in Interior Design and Fine Arts before finally combining my strength of draftsmanship and fine-art expressionism into the study of fashion design.”
Before CCAD, Olivia found hands-on experience as a tailor’s apprentice and then later as a fitting and alternating specialist for a large bridal company. Her time at CCAD provided her with the creative atmosphere she needed to learn and grow as an artist while focusing and developing specific skill sets in fashion design.
“Fashion Design allows me to enjoy the structure and physics of 3D design, while still being able to express myself as an artist,” she said. “Fashion Design was a natural fit for me and CCAD has been as well. The creative community at CCAD and Columbus is one of a kind and was a major draw to my coming to the school to study.”
Olivia Mitchell is a native of Columbus, OH, and a graduate of Reynoldsburg 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.