By Kristen M. Foley
Leah Sloane Kennedy’s love of fashion started as early as fourth grade when she would carry around a little sketchbook full of rough drawings of various garments. As she got older she came to a personal realization of what fashion really meant to her.
“It was not just items of clothing I was putting on my body, but that they were a part of me,” said Leah. “Fashion is art one wears and that was the most beautiful idea to me.”
While Leah is obsessed with the details behind a design, one of her favorite parts of the process is coming up with concepts.
“Once I get the ball rolling with my inspiration the ideas just keep coming,” said Leah. “I feel the most fulfilled when I can lay out really quality designs that come from my heart and mind.”
Having so many ideas is a good thing; however, Leah admits she struggled earlier in the year with even starting some of her garments because she didn’t like the direction her initial collection concept was going.
“I was just kind of lost in it,” said Leah. “I was pressuring myself to do something, and it just wasn’t working.”
Leah took a step back, reevaluated her designs and completely stopped what she was doing mid-semester and started over. The collection is now appropriately entitled “The Collection Reborn.”
“I saw Rear Window with Grace Kelley and was drawn to her silhouettes by Dior and loved everything about it,” she said. As Leah researched the film she found connections between Hitchcock’s 1954 suspenseful drama about voyeurism and the political climate of the ’50s, in particular McCarthyism.
“I researched the whole meaning behind that film and the whole red scare,’” she said. “It started leaking into my own Russian heritage and I wanted to bring that out.”
After starting over and receiving positive feedback on her final pieces, Leah is even more confident in not only her collection, but also her career choice.
“I kind of feel like it’s that part of the year where I’m reaching a point of ‘what am I going to do with the rest of my life?’” reflects Leah. “Hearing that I have what it takes really felt good. It reaffirmed ideas that I kind of lost in all of the stuff that was senior year.”
As the year comes to an end, she is also happy to offer advice to those students who will soon embark on the same journey she is close to completing.
“I would tell them to use every resource given to them, try your very hardest even if it’s not your favorite subject,” Leah advises. “Be honest and true to yourself, and put your heart into all of your work and love it with all of your being.”
Leah Kennedy is a native of Ypsilanti, MI, and a graduate of Ypsilanti 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.