With one look at Ashleigh Jones’ senior collection, you’re transported to the beach.
Her five-piece line of chic women’s ensembles and sharp menswear is bursting with vibrant color and in-your-face prints—all inspired by a summer spent in Fort Myers, FL.
Just three days after classes ended and her junior year came to a close, Ashleigh piled in the car with her mom and headed south for a design internship with women’s fashion brand White House Black Market.
Fascinated by the vibrant Floridian landscape around her, Ashleigh snapped photos on her iPhone of tropical plants, palm trees, and flowers on her way to work and during jogs around her neighborhood.
She manipulated bits and pieces of those photos to make custom prints that are the cornerstone of her unmistakably beachy collection, aptly named Tropical Excursion.
“The clothing [in my collection] is meant to make the wearer feel like they’re on a vacation,” Ashleigh said.
Ashleigh designed her collection with a specific audience in mind: fellow designers in the creative industry. She was inspired by her co-workers at White House Black Market—highly creative, hardworking people that put in long hours and yearned for fashion-forward, yet work appropriate ensembles.
“I like to think about the functionality of the piece and the typical lifestyle of the wearer,” Ashleigh said. “I know how uncomfortable some work clothes can be, so I wanted to make silhouettes that were a little more comfortable but still very pleasing and work appropriate.”
Soft and colorful interior lining delivers hidden comfort in her suits and pencil skirt looks, and pockets add practical storage.
Her favorite look, lavender cuffed shorts paired with a printed hybrid between a poncho and a cape that she “envisioned from day one,” offers comfort (like a slim side seam zipper on the shorts to prevent stretching in the front of the shorts) and versatility—the cape can be mixed and matched with other pieces from the wearer’s closet.
“I’m very interested in versatile clothing; classic silhouettes with small changes and small pattern details added to them so you can wear them with different outfits,” Ashleigh said.
Though mixing and matching prints as bold as those in her collection seemed like an impossible task, Ashleigh spent time ensuring that nothing looked out of place or too contrived. She spent hours manipulating photos on the computer using skills she learned in her freshman year foundation design class.
“We made patterns in a specific way and it was all about looking at things in different directions; constantly flipping, moving, and inverting,” Ashleigh said. “I definitely think [that class] had a big impact on how I decided to set up my patterns.”
To ensure that her collection looked cohesive, Ashleigh anchored prints with solid-colored pieces, and used similar necklines and shapes throughout. Two of her pieces feature laser-cut patterns and necklines made of the same lambskin leather.
As Ashleigh looks ahead, she knows that fashion design will be in her future. Her dream is to work on a start-up company with her sister, Fashion Design alumna Danielle Jones (CCAD 2013). But for now, she’s happy to live in the moment and reflect.
“Overall, [working on my senior collection has] just been a really great roller-coaster experience,” Ashleigh said. “I’m just happy to be able to sleep again. A little bit.”
Ashleigh’s tropical collection will brighten up the runway on May 9. Will you be there? Grab your tickets today before it’s too late.
Ashleigh is from Westerville, OH, and attended Westerville Central 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.