Julie Ward’s Collection ‘Flora’ Inspired by Birth of Her Daughter

April 4th, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Julie Ward. Photo by Amanda Pierce

Julie Ward. Photo by Amanda Pierce

Twenty-eight-year-old Julie Ward took several “detours” before arriving in the Fashion Design department at CCAD. She worked as a preschool teacher, server, ballroom dance instructor, and Columbus Crew cheerleader before taking a drawing class at Columbus State Community College that would eventually lead her to CCAD.

Now in her fourth and final year at CCAD, Julie finds herself in perhaps the most important role of her life: a mother.

When Julie found out she was pregnant with her daughter last spring semester, she wasn’t sure how she would juggle school and motherhood.

“Rather than let [fear] take over my life, I decided to turn it into a positive and work it into my future goals and plans,” Julie said. “I knew that if I focused on my daughter through this collection I would be super passionate about it and happy.”

Julie’s three-piece collection is inspired by her daughter and features ready-to-wear children’s clothing—something that no other designer in this year’s show is doing.

As she did trend research over the summer, Julie found that nothing was off limits when it came to trends in children’s wear. Her collection reflects that idea, with a funky and sweet mix of shorts, skirts, and dresses in bold prints and colors.


Julie engineered a floral print for her children’s collection. Photo by Amanda Pierce

“You can be so adventurous. You don’t have to match prints or colors or textures,” Julie said. “You can just do anything and get away with it.”

To make up for her lack of experience with sewing and construction (she didn’t learn until she got to CCAD), Julie chose forgiving fabrics that went along with the youthful feel of her collection.

“I stuck with some simple cotton fabrics, which are popular for children, and that made [the garments] easier to construct.”

Though Julie wanted her collection to be adventurous and whimsical, she also wanted the prints and silhouettes to be representative of her target audience: girls 10 years old and younger.

“[It was challenging] to find prints that I wanted to use that weren’t too childish,” Julie said. “I wanted it to be fun and playful but also modern.”

To achieve her desired look—a not-too-contrived hodge podge of prints—Julie combined an engineered floral print made from photos she took in her neighborhood with stripes, polka dots, and solids.


Julie added small details and embellishments to the backs of her garments. Photo by Amanda Pierce

Julie paid special attention to the backs of each garment by adding playful embellishments.

“I wanted there to be a little difference when they turned their backs on the runway,” she said. “I used different closures, mixed prints, and design details to draw attention to the back.”

As Julie reflects back on her senior collection journey, she is brought back to her primary source of inspiration.

“This is all for my daughter,” she said. “When she is older and looks at pictures of this collection, I want it to be an example of perseverance for her.”

Mark your calendars for the runway show on May 9 and buy your tickets today—you won’t want to miss Julie’s collection (and her seriously adorable models).

Julie is from Grove City, OH, and attended Franklin Heights High School.

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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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