Bryston Walters had been doing clerical work for six years at Nationwide Children’s Hospital when he realized that his creative passion was being stifled.
“I got caught up in the traditional nine-to-five job,” Bryston said. “I noticed that I kept getting burnt out. My creative outlet was slowly going away. I just wasn’t doing what I loved.”
Bryston set his sights on CCAD after a friend suggested that he apply, and enrolled as soon as he could. In many ways, Bryston said his first year at CCAD was a return to what he learned to love as a child.
Bryston’s grandmother owned a fabric store before he was even born and his mother owned a craft store. Throughout his childhood he tagged along with his mother to craft shows, picked up hand sewing, and pieced together doll outfits with scraps of fabric and hot glue.
“That creative outlet and creative flow has always been really interesting to me,” Bryston said. “I just liked creating things.”
Though he had no formal training in sewing or garment construction, Bryston learned to do things his own way through trial and error. When he came to CCAD, he had to relearn proper techniques—from sewing and basic construction, to hemming and putting in zippers.
“I just did things by hand, made it up as I went, and saw what happened,” he said. “I could have made you anything before I came [to CCAD]. The most interesting part of coming to CCAD was learning how to do everything the correct way.”
As Bryston began to find inspiration for his senior collection, he was intrigued by fairy tales and period fashion. Instead of pristine gowns, Bryston dreamed up a line of extravagant, well-worn dresses, coats, and hats that reference forgotten fairy tales.
My collection represents “the visualization of what happens to childhood fantasies when the dreamer grows up and no longer fuels the energy of the make-believe world,” he said.
Though each garment is heavily distressed, Bryston began with impeccably made garments constructed according to the proper techniques that he learned in class.
“I learned how to make everything perfectly but now I’m going back to my roots,” he said. “My garments have somewhat of a deconstructed look to them but I made sure that, before any of that took place, the garment was perfect. Hems were finished and everything was bound. That’s when I allowed myself to move forward.”
Each garment is entirely unique, yet related to the collection as a whole in some way. Several pieces feature hand beading—a skill that Bryston perfected at a CCAD workshop over the summer.
One of his looks, a form-fitting rust-colored dress, has intricate hand beading across the bodice and down the length of the garment. Another gown features hand-painted rosettes, which were painted onto the fabric by local artist Michael Bush.
“I took little snippets of those stories that I created and applied them on the garments in different ways.”
Bryston’s favorite garment, a dusty pink gown with an attached headpiece, was the most challenging to construct and the most time consuming to produce.
“That was, hands down, the hardest garment I’ve ever made,” Bryston said. “Every seam was sewn three times. The fabric is really delicate so it will snag with the slightest pinch.”
As Bryston looks ahead to life after CCAD, he dreams of having a job that allows him to express and explore his artistic ideas.
“I’m trying to be less nervous about [the future],” Bryston said. “I’m excited about the unknown.”
Experience Bryston’s showstopping fairy tale-inspired collection for yourself at the runway show on May 9. Don’t have your tickets yet? Hurry over to the 2014 Senior Fashion Show event page to order yours today.
Bryston is from Sunbury, OH, and attended Big Walnut 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.