Nina Rehner Combines Fashion, Function in Outdoor Wear Collection

April 30th, 2014 by Amanda Pierce
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Nina Rehner Photo: Amanda Pierce

Nina Rehner
Photo: Amanda Pierce

Twenty-seven-year-old Nina Rehner never thought she would go to art school. She’s worked as a nanny and even has her own business as a licensed bail bondsman.

“I didn’t even take art classes in high school,” Nina said. “I thought I’d be a politician.”

Her interests shifted when she was in her early twenties. Nina started working as a nanny for the children of a designer who saw potential in Nina. After spending a day at work with the designer, Nina fell in love with trend forecasting.

“I like that trend forecasting is creative, but different than fine art. I love color, texture, and trends, and I want to be the one chasing them.”

A self-proclaimed “hill billy country girl,” Nina harnessed her love of trend forecasting to design a collection of fashion-forward outdoor wear inspired by her own experiences growing up in Newark, OH.

“There isn’t a lot of good looking outdoor wear,” she said. “I’m not just trying to make pretty garments. I wanted to make tough, durable clothes.”

Nina incorporated vintage fabrics like feed sacks and cotton tablecloth fabric, and utilitarian fabrics like rip stop, the material manufacturers often use to make tents and rain jackets, into her four-piece line of dresses, capes, and coats designed to hold up in different types of weather. Thick terry fabric and plush jacket lining add warmth to several pieces, and the rip stop fabric repels water.

Photo: Amanda Pierce

Feed sacks add a vintage touch to Nina’s collection. Photo: Amanda Pierce

“I tried to pick fabrics that people hadn’t seen before. I like to use fabrics that are used every day but get looked over,” she said.

She put her garments to the ultimate test during a muddy outdoor photo shoot. Several of the garments got dirty, but Nina wasn’t phased.

“I didn’t care at all. You can just throw them in the washer,” Nina said. “I like when people can function in their clothes and still look cute.”

In addition to her interests in fashion and trend forecasting, Nina is also an aspiring metalsmith. She’s taken two years of metal working classes at CCAD and is an intern at Leo Alfred Jewelers in Dublin.

To add a polished look to her collection of outdoor wear, Nina crafted silver and bronze accessories inspired by her pet pigs, including a pig snout-shaped ring, and pig-shaped pendant embellished with hand-set stones.

Two of Nina’s garments are also finished with small details inspired by nature—pieces of real deer antlers that serve as closures.

“I think they’re so neat. I wanted to juxtapose things that you wouldn’t typically see together,” she said.

Photos: Amanda Pierce

Nina crafted jewelry accessories for her collection. Photos: Amanda Pierce

Though it doesn’t show in her collection, Nina began the year with a serious set back that made her question her ability to design and construct a full line of garments. Just days before classes began, she had reconstructive surgery on her shattered hand.

“In the beginning I thought, ‘what if I can’t do it?’” Nina remembered. “I now understand what it takes to complete something and do it successfully.”

The 2014 senior fashion show is just days away. Grab your tickets to the May 9 event now for your chance to see Nina’s collection grace the runway.

Nina is from Newark, OH, and attended Newark 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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