When De-Ann Maughn moved from Barbados to Philadelphia, her wardrobe drastically changed.
Thick scarves and chunky sweaters replaced vibrant sun dresses and floppy hats—the unofficial uniform of Barbados, where the temperature averages a balmy 90 degrees on a given day.
De-Ann’s new clothes, culture, and lifestyle sparked her interest in fashion and led her to the Charter High School for Architecture and Design, a small school that fostered her growing interest.
Though the school didn’t offer fashion design classes, De-Ann joined the fashion club and started working with a private tutor who taught her the basics of sewing, pattern-making, and construction.
Small class sizes drew De-Ann to CCAD and, though she said she was well-equipped for many of her foundation classes, her fashion design classes were a challenge.
“When I came here it was a step up,” De-Ann said. “Sewing from patterns is really different from creating your own patterns, but I’ve learned so much.”
Now in her fourth and final year at CCAD, De-Ann is channeling her roots in her senior collection, Elegant in Paradise.
Inspired by the colors, scenery, animals, and culture of her own personal paradise—her home country Barbados—De-Ann’s collection is vibrant and full of texture.
“These are dresses you would probably wear to go to a nice event,” De-Ann said of her evening wear collection. “[The garments] are relaxed, free-spirited, and flowing.”
Her runway look, a one-shouldered floor-length gown, was designed to evoke the sea. A sheer turquoise chiffon flows over top of a colorful knit, mimicking underwater ocean life. Hand beading across the chest and shoulder was inspired by seaweed.
“I’m really proud of this dress,” De-Ann said. “This dress took the longest so I’m really glad it got [into the runway show].”
The construction of the dress wasn’t without challenges. De-Ann put the waistband into the dress six times and worked on it up until the day before the jury.
Another challenge was creating a cohesive, dynamic collection with unique yet complementary pieces.
“I’ve made garments but none of them came together with a story with meaning,” De-Ann said. “When I first started, all of my garments were different. They had no relation, and I had to find that common ground to make them all relate.”
As De-Ann looks forward to life after graduation, she sees a future in evening wear design.
“Through this whole process, I’ve become really interested in evening wear and elegant fabrics like chiffon, silk, and charmeuse,” she said. “It’s definitely something that I want to do.”
Get a taste of Barbados on May 9 when De-Ann’s underwater gown takes to the runway. Don’t have your ticket? There’s still time. Visit the CCAD website to purchase yours today.
De-Ann is from Philadelphia, and attended Charter High School for Architecture and Design.
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.