Creativity has been a part of La-Neka Richards’ life for as long as she can remember. She made clothes for her dolls as a child and attended performing arts schools before coming to study Fashion Design at CCAD.
Her older sister taught her to hand sew in high school, and she attended a fashion career center where she honed her sewing technique and learned about fashion illustration.
“If I can make it, build it, cook it, or whatever, it’s for me,” La-Neka said.
La-Neka began planning her senior collection over the summer and said that her initial designs changed drastically throughout the year. What began as a strictly formal collection morphed into a mix of dressy and casual separates inspired by the texture, movement, and feel of water.
“When I design, I don’t really think about the technique until after I’m looking at it,” La-Neka said. “A design comes to me and I just draw it. Then later I figure out how I can make it.”
Many of her original designs incorporated more vibrant colors, but she decided to focus on a primarily blue color palette to ensure consistency throughout the collection.
Her runway look imitates cascading water—a blue silk peplum top with voluminous ruffles and hand-dyed sleeves is paired with blue and white custom-printed cotton pants that are reminiscent of ripples on the water’s surface. The slim silhouette of the cotton pants complements the curvy shape of the silk top.
“I really like working with curves and I always seem to make things that incorporate them,” she said.
Though La-Neka’s early experiences with fashion instilled in her a passion for construction, cutting and sewing the silk for her runway look was especially challenging.
“Construction has always been my favorite but when I was designing and constructing that top, I had to get everything just right,” she said. “I try my hand at working with different materials on a constant basis and silk is a major challenge.”
As La-Neka reflects back on her senior collection and her final year at CCAD, she said that she’s learned valuable things about herself as a person and as a designer.
“My design style is a little dressier and I like that,” La-Neka said. “I’ve always thought of starting my own company but I know I have a lot to learn first.”
La-Neka’s water-inspired ensemble will grace the runway during the fashion show on May 9. Reserve your tickets today before they sell out.
La-Neka is from Columbus, OH, and attended Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center.
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.