Introducing CCAD’s next generation of fashion designers
CCAD is here for fashion’s future—and this year, we’re going big, as the annual-favorite CCAD Fashion Show heads to an exciting new venue: KEMBA Live! in the Arena District, for 2023. (Tickets to this year’s Fashion Show are available now and going fast; buy yours here.)
Our 11 emerging designers’ collections were selected by a jury of industry professionals for this year’s Fashion Show, which steps off at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 11. Before they bring their exciting, unexpected, and daring looks to the catwalk, the designers provided us with a sneak peek of what they have planned.
Meet the 2023 CCAD Fashion Show designers
Website: Snowy Adder
Hometown: TianJin, China
Collection name: Wild Skin
Three words to describe his collection: Explore more options
Snowy Adder came to the world of fashion via video games—he loved outfits worn by characters in the Japanese video games he played, he says. Adder pays tribute to those interests in his collection Wild Skin, which features garments inspired by fantasy video games (think Elden Ring, Monster Hunter and the like) and wild animals. His pieces include chest armor made of hard leather—“it’s designed to give protection, not just for the appearance,” he says. In addition, each of his looks for the fashion show will have its own color theme and selection of materials. Adder is a sewing intern at Costume Specialists and hopes to someday create costumes for television shows or open up his own small costume shop. Thanks to CCAD, he says, “I’m more prepared for my career because I’ve learned the necessary skills.”
Hometown: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Collection name: Dreamhouse
Three words to describe his collection: Classic, technical, modern
In Collin Briggs’ collection Dreamhouse, the designer creates classic silhouettes that are brought to life with technical fabrics. He drew inspiration from work by the company Arc’teryx, classic motorcycle silhouettes, and snoods, and incorporated upcycled or natural materials like deadstock Gore-Tex, recycled fleece, and organic cotton into his collection. After graduation, Briggs aspires to be a design generalist leveraging skills like art direction, software development, and user experience design to build and scale multiple companies. He hopes to see Columbus “create a haven for up-and-coming designers.”
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Collection name: HYTCH HKR
Three words to describe his collection: Upcycled, sustainable, inclusive
The community of the Midwest served as inspiration for Hyde Ebright when developing HYTCH HKR. Workwear and hiker-wear silhouettes found in the collection represent blue-collar people and travelers in the Midwest. Ebright upcycled banners that would otherwise have been burned for disposal by local companies and deadstock fabrics, and also made naturally dyed fabrics using organic waste, metals, and plants found in Columbus. Accessibility is central to HYTCH HKR; the pieces all have adaptive closures to make them more easily worn by people with disabilities. Ebright notes this intentionality to create accessible designs came from the idea that “as a community we are meant to help each other out.” After graduation, Ebright hopes to create change at a higher scale, with a dream to own a tailoring brand focused on technical outerwear through the lens of adaptive clothing.
Hometown: Dayton, Ohio
Collection name: Address Unknown
Three words to describe her collection: Vibrate, soft, precocious
The traveler spirit is intrinsic to Address Unknown, the collection from Kamaria Ellis that encourages individuals to be inspired by their surroundings. “The inspiration of this collection is driven by the need to be anywhere else some time. To see mysterious lands and country sides that we only dream of seeing,” says Ellis. “I hope people connect with the traveler that's deep down in me.” Her collection is full of spring colors, and uses a variety of textures including lace, charmeuse, jersey, and woven knit. Ellis says seeing her collection hit the runway will be bittersweet: “Growing up, my grandmother put me in front of a sewing machine, and from that day I haven't given it up. I feel my true self when I create and everything comes together.” After graduation, she plans to see the world again and enjoy the creative energy in Columbus while pursuing her own brand, Rukiya Moon.
Hometown: Springfield, Ohio
Collection name: An Overview on Phenomenal Nature
Three words to describe their collection: Bucolic, tempestuous, effeminate
Late Victorian fashion and paintings are inspiration for An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, a collection from Daniel Grimm brimming with flowy textiles dyed with plant material and paired with organic prints and paintings. Grimm hopes Fashion Show attendees will see their work as art pieces rather than simply something on the runway. They also hope the collection will encourage people to consider the way they look at gender and push themselves to wear and make what makes them happy rather than what they are told are traditionally acceptable. “My collection is about my feelings on gender, having more masculine figures wearing traditionally masculine garments with feminine twists,” says Grimm. Currently a goldsmith apprentice at Diamond Cellar, Grimm plans to work toward being a designer goldsmith and graduate gemologist, but would love to start an animal sanctuary and provide fiber for local artists, as well as show their own fashion and jewelry work in exhibitions across the country.
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Collection name: House of NaVera
Three words to describe her collection: Elegant, sexy, flowy
Expect a twist on the traditional bridal look with House of NaVera from Junea Howard. “I took inspiration from different seasons…making the bride's dream into reality,” she says. Bold use of colors and patterns are celebrated in Howard’s work, and musical artists and outside objects of art served as inspiration for her design. “I hope people will be amazed, excited, and a little shocked when they see my work,” says Howard, who notes CCAD opened her up to learning from people and other departments of fashion, as well as gaining multiple ways to do different types of techniques.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Collection name: Rapture of the Skin
Three words to describe his collection: Lent et douloureux
Rapture of the Skin, from Casey Immel-Brown, is luxury womenswear for spring/summer, heavily inspired by 1980s interior design and the moody romanticism of artists like Patrick Nagel. In his collection, Immel-Brown uses a process known as “electroforming”: coating material in metal to freeze movement (it’s the process perhaps best known for its use in bronzing baby shoes). Immel-Brown notes the collection is about flattening the distinctions between the different parts of the self that coexist in each person. “We're taught to fracture the connections between these elements and only present a narrow sliver of ourselves to the outside world. I think fashion is at its best when it's a tool for actualization and allows people to interact with the world feeling like the truest version of themselves.” When asked how he hopes people will respond to his work, Immel-Brown says, “I'll know that I've been successful at creating something new if there is a mix of people who find it inspiring and evocative and others who find it vaguely unsettling.” Immel-Brown’s aspirations include becoming head designer or creative director with a directional runway brand in Europe.
Hometown: Haikou, Hainan, China
Collection name: Wear to my Funeral
Three words to describe her collection: Romantic, mystery, different
As a little girl, Yuran Peng enjoyed making clothes for her Barbie dolls. “I’ve always been interested in fashion, and always have ideas for clothes,” she says. For the 2023 Fashion Show, Peng took on an unconventional collection theme: funeral dress made from such materials as leather, organza, and pearls. “Many people have dreamed of their wedding, but I rarely hear people dream about their funerals,” she says. “I guess it’s because the whole concept of the funeral is it’s sad, and people are afraid of when the day will come. But I’ve thought about, ‘What should I wear to my funeral?’ I want people to see the funeral in a different perspective, and be less negative about it.” Peng hopes that her collection will surprise viewers, and convey a romantic feeling. Ultimately, she aspires to work in couture or making evening dresses. Through her education at CCAD, Peng says, “I know myself better as a designer and have established my own style.”
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Collection name: Impossible Gifts
Three words to describe her collection: Feminine, structured, luminous
For her collection Impossible Gifts, Ali Rielly has found inspiration in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Hollywood’s Golden Age … and a whole lot of chainmail. Each of her pieces in the show have custom-made pieces of chain work, she notes, but one showstopping gown is entirely aluminum chainmail—over 50,000 individual rings, which together weigh in at more than 15 pounds. In addition to this heavy metal piece, Rielly uses such materials as silk satins and organzas in her designs. “I utilized a combination of my models’ personalities and style, along with the natural drape of the materials, to achieve a historically inspired, yet still modern feeling look,” she says. Rielly transferred to CCAD and says that while she loved making costumes for Halloween and the Renaissance Faire, it was only after taking a costume design class at her previous school that she realized she was eager to learn more. Consequently, she took a break from school and made several one-off costumes before transferring to CCAD. Here, “I have learned a lot about myself and interests,” Rielly says. After graduation, Rielly hopes to land a job making costumes for the film industry, and to travel.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Collection name: HOLLOW
Three words to describe his collection: Experimental, avant-garde, transformative
HOLLOW, from Nic Specht, is a genderless collection inspired by trauma and transformation that takes visual inspiration from religious iconography. This CCAD Fashion Show collection “is meant as a way for me to fully digest my personal trauma and how I am continuing to move forward with my new reality after learning to cope with it,” he says. And, he says, while it comes from personal experience, “I believe that my work will reflect the collective trauma many of us have from the world being shut down, reopened, and changed forever.” For HOLLOW, Specht crafted jewelry from nontraditional materials and also created masks that emphasize the clothing as works of art. In addition, the collection makes use of donated fabrics and ones Specht collected over the last decade—some of which he then reworked through patchwork and weaving to create entirely new textiles. Ultimately, HOLLOW’s looks reflect Specht’s experience working through trauma and express hope and self-realization. Specht previously interned for Kohl’s, and after graduation, he will take a full-time position with the company as an assistant designer. He hopes to someday create and own a brand that focuses on designs for trans individuals and others with non-normative bodies.
Hometown: Urumqi, Xinjiang, China
Collection name: Distant Galaxy
Three words to describe her collection: Love, connection, parallel world
Jiaqi Yu’s collection Distant Gallery, created using mostly black denim, silver-patterned woven fabric, and temperature-responsive faux leather, is inspired by long-distance relationships, the effort people put into maintaining connections with each other, and the bonds of love among people. Yu also took inspiration from a book she read that mentioned that dreams are a glimpse into parallel worlds with which we share a soul, “so we are meeting people we want to, but are not able to meet in another world,” she says. “We might not see people, or we may regret some of the decisions we made in this world we are living in right now, but we still have the chance to live thousands of different kinds of lives.” Yu says she hopes that those who see her work experience the way in which fashion is not only externally beautiful, but can be a way of sharing inner thoughts. Yu came to America when she was a high school sophomore and selected CCAD because of the college’s status as a top 10 fashion school, its community and its access to supplies and tools. “At CCAD, I learned that we should always keep learning from others around us, use all kinds of resources to support our learning experience, and never stop creating and designing as we move forward,” she says.
As always, CCAD Fashion Show proceeds support student scholarships. Secure your tickets to the 2023 CCAD Fashion Show—and the after party at A&R Music Bar—right here.