Bridgette Bianca Stevens hasn’t let anything get in the way of pursuing her life’s passion: fashion.
When she couldn’t afford to buy a leather outfit, the apple of her eye as a fashion-obsessed 15-year-old, she got a job and bought it herself.
When she didn’t have the skill or resources to construct her own designs, she befriended a seamstress at a big box department store who brought her designs to life and taught her the tricks of the trade.
And when CCAD turned her initial application away, she got a sewing machine, taught herself to sew, and drastically improved her portfolio.
“The future is bright no matter what because I work hard,” Bridgette said. “I have gotten so much out of my education here. It’s unbelievable.”
When it came time to design her senior collection, Bridgette mapped out a clear plan and was determined to stick to it.
“The challenge was to bring it to life exactly how I envisioned it,” she said. “I didn’t want to cut any corners. It took a lot of time and patience.”
Her six-piece collection, Constrictor Cartel, is the offspring of two inspirations—famed designer Guccio Gucci’s use of leather and his logo and Al Capone
“I envisioned this very polished businesswoman that owns the room when she walks in,” Bridgette said. “I took the silhouettes from the Al Capone era, the 1920s, and modernized them. I used the leather work and my own logo, and it all came together.”
The collection includes a variety of powerful yet elegant silhouettes, like leather jackets, a tailored poncho, and wide-leg pants. To create an opulent, extravagant feel, Bridgette created accessories and handbags, and utilized leather, silks, and authentic Burmese python throughout her collection.
“I wanted to replace the idea of fur that they used in the 1920s with something that was more modern, like snakeskin. I wanted it to really enhance the collection and make it pop by using a real, authentic piece,” she said.
To challenge herself, Bridgette stayed away from darker colors and chose a neutral color palette to communicate the ideas of strength and power.
“I wanted to replace this vision we have of powerful people in black business suits with very natural and metallic colors.”
Though Bridgette has successfully overcome many challenges, she admits that the journey wasn’t easy, especially when she started taking classes as a freshman at CCAD.
“[Before CCAD], I could make a garment without a pattern and without measuring. But when I got here, the classes were grueling,” Bridgette remembered. “I didn’t understand patterns, and draping was the hardest thing. When I tried to put fabric on a form, it was like speaking a whole different language.”
Now on the other side of her time at CCAD, Bridgette said the skills she learned in class are indispensable. But even so, she said her old habits of thinking on her feet are important when unexpected construction changes have to be made.
“You have to be a quick thinker and you have to trust your own judgement to make a change,” Bridgette said. “There is a certain energy I get from putting a concept on paper and then seeing my designs come to life. That’s the magic of design.”
Want to see Bridgette’s collection for yourself? The fashion show is just one week away. Get your tickets here before they sell out.
Bridgette is from Westerville, 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.