By Kristen M. Foley
When you first meet Jess Betz, you instantly recognize that her personality is as bright and colorful as her senior designs, and there is a positive energy that simply radiates from her. It’s no wonder that her goal is to change the way people feel about themselves through her designs.
“As a girl growing up in a world that is so focused on the outer appearances I began to explore the world of fashion design,” she said. “It was at that moment that I found my calling, and since then it has been my mission to create clothes that make people feel beautiful not only on the outside, but more importantly on the inside.”
After completing her associate’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, she took some time off and began to experiment with painting fabrics and decided she wanted to learn more about textile art. Her aunt, who lives in Columbus, told her about CCAD. She knew instantly it was the place for her, especially when she learned of the school’s surface design classes. Ever since then, Jess has come to love all aspects of the fashion design process, but still gravitates toward the surface design lab and creating fabrics using dying techniques such as shibori and batiking.
“Designing my own fabrics is such a peaceful and tranquil part of the process that allows me to express my true nature,” notes Jess.
That same tranquility is reflected in her ocean and tropical fish inspired designs. As a child, she remembers vacationing in the Florida Keys with her family and watching her father fish.
“I remember dangling my feet off of the dock above the endless sea and being amazed by the beautiful creatures that swam beneath the glistening surface,” she says. “As a child I wished I could wear clothes that reflected the patterns and textures of fish, but what I did not know is that my wish would one day come true.”
Her tie-dyed and hand-painted fabrics are as lively as the reflections of her youth. The unique use of color and patterns make the designs seem to float. It’s a look that she describes as modern hippie.
“Some days I feel as if I am living in one of my own reveries, but realize that they are real. I could not be more proud of myself and my classmates for never giving up on our true callings in life,” says Jess. “Now, the only thing left that I have to wish for is that my clothing will inspire people to treat our oceans and the environment with more care, so that we can continue to cherish all of the beauty that life has to offer.”
Jess Betz is a native of Toledo, OH, and a graduate of St. Ursula Academy.
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.