By Kristen M. Foley
Phoebe Isaac searched and searched for a word that would encompass the inspiration behind her collection. She finally found it in a Japanese word: yugen.
“There isn’t a translation for it, but there should be because it’s such a powerful word. I wanted to choose a word that identified breathlessness or when something takes your breath away,” said Phoebe.
“It’s this feeling that you connect with the universe. For me it’s when I’m on an airplane and I can press my face to the window and just sort of be in the clouds, or when I’m laying on the ground and looking up at the stars when I’m in Maine and looking from one side of the sky to the other,” she said.
Phoebe expects that everyone will conjure a different emotion upon viewing her collection, but she hopes it will be one of transcendence. The designs are otherworldly with her uniquely dyed fabric, which showcases her celestial and star-scape inspirations.
“I actually dyed my own fabric and it was supposed to be a loose interpretation of the stars,” she notes.
She crafted the design by first using a “resist” technique with a tjanting tool. She then hand dyed the fabric with various vibrant colors.
“The tool has hot wax in it with a little spout and you just press it on the fabric,” said Phoebe. “I put it on wherever I didn’t want the color. Then I dyed it the dark color first and added the other colors in various spots.”
Phoebe never really specifically pictured herself pursuing an education in fashion; however, she did know she would eventually end up at an art school.
“I’ve loved drawing since the day I could pick up a pencil. My mom, dad, and stepmom would hang countless, pointless drawings that I had done on the fridge, they never stopped letting me express myself,” she remembers. “As I grew up, they continued to encourage my artistic nature and as a teen, I began checking out my favorite Sailor Moon comics from the Columbus Metropolitan Library and I would go home and draw the Sailor Scouts until I couldn’t possibly draw anymore. It was around this time that I became interested in fashion.”
Looking back on those early drawings Phoebe can identify the progress of her talents and how the intricate outfits would improve with each new sketch. Even today she can look back at previous designs and garments and see their improvements.
Phoebe Isaac is a native of Lexington, OH, and a graduate of Lexington 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.