Couture Beading Adds Sparkle to Seth Stephens’ Collection

April 21st, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Seth Stephens. Photo: Amanda Pierce

Seth Stephens. Photo: Amanda Pierce

Seth Stephens was set on fashion photography when he came to CCAD as a freshman. But soon after classes began, he realized that it wasn’t photography, but rather the fashion in the photos that piqued his interest.

“Photography is all about capturing what is there in front of you,” Seth said. “The thing that drew me to fashion was that I could pick any fabric and design from my imagination. I just fell in love with it.”

Since changing his major to Fashion Design, Seth has been learning at lightning speed. Though he had never touched a sewing machine before coming to CCAD, he caught on quickly.

“I remember my first class sophomore year, I didn’t even know how to put a bob in a sewing machine,” Seth remembered. “It was all new.”

Seth’s collection, titled Reflection, combines ready-to-wear garments with high-end pieces in a fresh color palette of amethyst, white, and gray.

“Since I can’t do 30 looks and do minor changes between evening wear and day wear, I really wanted to show breadth in my collection,” Seth said. “I have one ready-to-wear look, a leather jacket with a blouse and shorts, and one more formal look, a suit.”

Beading details. Photos: Amanda Pierce

Tambour beading is featured on two garments in Seth’s collection. Photos: Amanda Pierce

When Seth began to plan his collection, he knew he wanted to include tambour beading—a couture technique he learned over the summer that involves stretching fabric across a canvas and working from the underside.

The same technique is used in major fashion houses in Paris to bead garments for runway shows by Chanel and Dior.

“[Beading] is a way to put the artist’s touch into clothing,” Seth said. “It’s something that you have to master.”

A pair of crisp white shorts feature beaded panels on either side, and the suit jacket features long beaded panels on both sleeves. To complement the high-end feel of the tambour beading, Seth used finer fabrics like leather and silk.

Unlike a generic cotton fabric, finer fabrics often make construction more difficult.

“The silk blouse might look simple but sewing it just right and lining it with silk chiffon takes time to make it perfect,” Seth said.

Sketchbook. Photo: Amanda Pierce

Seth’s collection combines ready-to-wear and high-end garments. Photo: Amanda Pierce

His biggest construction challenge was the two-piece white suit. The jacket features an open chest and the pants are cut close to the leg.

“It has to fit perfectly,” Seth said of the suit. “I don’t know how many muslins (draft garments) I did just for the pants.”

After nearly 11 months of planning, sketching, construction, and critiques, Seth said that he’s beginning to learn more about himself as a designer.

“I’m not the one who does crazy cuts or geometric patterns. I like to keep the look simple,” Seth said. “This collection is really a reflection of who I am as a designer.”

Catch a glimpse of Seth’s Tambour beading on the runway at the fashion show on May 9. Still need your ticket? You’re in luck—there’s still time! Visit to pick up yours today.

Seth is from Pickerington, OH, and attended Pickerington High School North.

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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.

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