Meet the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show designers

On Friday, May 10, the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show—the most fashionable fundraiser of the year—will feature top looks from student designers—from gender neutral looks to eco-friendly outfits. Read on to learn more about the student designers.

And don't forget to purchase your tickets at


carrie ackley

Carrie Ackley

Hometown: Pickerington, Ohio

Collection in three words: Ethereal. Minimal. Sleek.

Carrie Ackley’s collection, Blur, dresses women for a night out with effortless European style. Silver chains accent her pieces, which flow with ease using 100 percent silk charmeuse, satin, and chiffon in colors that recall the foggy London skyline. Ackley “gravitate[s] to pieces that have A-line, shift, and straight silhouettes, because they are easy to wear.” Minimalism defines the collection, which celebrates the timeless colors and refined simplicity.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @carebearonice

april chen

Meilin (April) Chen

Hometown: Shenyang, China

Collection in three words: Cake. Sweet. Dreamy.

Cake Ceremony, from Meilin (April) Chen is a confection of a collection, with loads of handmade details, including hand stitching, smocking, hand beading, and silk organza dyed by her hand in shades of brown, orange, pink, beige, and purple. Inspired by Lolita fashion in Japan, Chen’s designs feature tulle and silk organza and a ruffled dress that looks like a cake. “Sweet foods make people happy,” she says, and express what’s in her heart and brain—not simply what’s trendy. Chen is excited to see her work come alive at the show. “I might cry when I see my model on the runway,” she says.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @meilinnchen

yanee clements portrait

Yaneé Clements

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Elegant. European. Bridal.

Strong women are at the core of Dreamy Love Letters, Yaneé Clements’ bridal collection. Using colors such as blush and ivory and materials like French lace and appliqué, Clements has constructed a collection that embraces clean lines and strong silhouettes. “Working with beautiful, unforgiving fabrics, I found I have great construction skills and am very meticulous,” she says. In addition to showstoppers such as a ball gown, Clements expects to wow the crowd with her handmade bridal veils. “I want my collection to be jaw-dropping. I want people to be astonished and amazed,” she says.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @yaneejanielle

alex domoracki

Alex Domoracki

Hometown: Mayfield Heights, Ohio

Collection in three words: Inclusive, Fun. Innovative.

Before embarking on their collection called Soft People, suburban Cleveland native Alex Domoracki had never knitted anything more complicated than a hat or scarf. But, last semester, Domoracki learned to machine knit and went on to incorporate complicated knitting techniques in their colorful gender-neutral collection. Domoracki—who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them/their pronouns— previously served as president of CCAD’s Queer Alliance and was inspired to create what they call “fun and wearable” gender-neutral clothing for the LGBTQ+ community. “There is a need for gender-neutral fashion catered toward the queer community that isn’t hyper-masculine or oversized—clothes that are wearable and considers the fact that people have different body types,” says Domoracki, who hopes to work with a gender-neutral fashion company someday.

Email: [email protected]

carissa gooding portrait

Carissa Gooding

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Collection in three words: Organic. Structured. Earthy.

Carissa Gooding found her place behind the scenes in high school theater, and has carried her passion for costuming with her to CCAD. Her collection, Artificially Organic, reflects this love, as she explores highly structured garments in neutral shades. Influenced by Iris Van Herpen, this collection is Gooding’s first deep dive into working with wool fiber she constructed into unique fabrics using a needle-felting technique. Gooding also uses thick bamboo crinoline mixed with manmade polyesters for a result that crosses the boundary between shape and flow.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @carissagooding

kaixuan han

Kaixuan (Kelly) Han

Hometown: Shijiazhuang, Hebei, China

Collection in three words: Clean. Classic. White.

Inspired by the Chinese book of geography and myths, Classic of Mountains and Seas, Kelly Han’s collection, Spiritual Animals, uses natural fabrics and sheer materials that elevate classic wardrobe staples. As a departure from her culture, Han said of the collection, “most people think of traditional Chinese dress as influence by red and yellow. I have designed in black and white, as texture is more important to me than color.” Han includes embroidery and pleating to add detail to both men’s and women’s everyday garments, such as button-downs, jeans, crop tops, and sleep dresses.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @kx_han

Melissa Marchi portrait

Melissa Marchi

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Feminine. Effortless. Clean.

Melissa Marchi’s collection, Zest, is all about sustainability. Each piece is fashioned from biodegradable, natural materials, down to the buttons, which are made from the Ecuadorian corozo nut. Sustainability and environmental consciousness have been an important part of my life choices as a consumer and designer,” Marchi says. “I am really excited to make a collection that holds this as its core value.” Her garments have a clean, feminine feel with lots of lightweight, breathable fabrics in colors such as tomato, coral, white, and beige.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @mmmarchi

wes mills portrait

Wes Mills

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Dark. Mysterious. Tactile.

Wes Mills is obsessed with turtles and tortoises. So, for his menswear/gender-neutral collection called Trench, Mills is paying tribute to his favorite animal with what he calls “street armor.” The collection features jackets made of neoprene and covered in a silicone-rubber mix that produces a glossy, black finish reminiscent of an oil spill. Mills, a Columbus native who also makes and sells popular bomber jackets on Instagram, took a break from that gig while working on his 2019 CCAD Fashion Show collection. He plans to launch more designs after graduation. But first, after the hard work of college and preparing for a night on the runway, he’s ready to withdraw into a shell himself. “I’m going to take a nap,” Mills says.

IG: @sewsllim

lorena morales portrait

Lorena Morales

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Lively. Passionate. Cheeky.

Through repeated conversations about her generation, Lorena Morales’ collection, Ego, is infused with Millennial themes and electric colors. These pieces use bright, custom-knitted fabrics draped with sheer, dark layers for designs inspired by vibrant neon signs. Her garments feature boldly printed words that came up repeatedly through her research, for a multidimensional result that is as socially conscious as it is eye-catching. Of the process, Morales said she has, “the most fun in the chaotic mess that goes into research.”

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @lorena.p.morales

thuy nguyen portrait

Thuy Nguyen

Hometown: Da Lat, Vietnam

Collection in three words: Combo. Funky. Postmodernist.

Fashion design hasn’t always been the most eco-friendly field. Chemicals are often used to make dyes, and plenty of materials go to waste. But in Thuy Nguyen’s Combo streetwear collection, the Vietnam native took fabrics and materials that would otherwise be discarded and reused them in interesting new ways. For example, a muslin used to create the early designs of one piece was reused as material in the pockets of another design, and a puffer vest got its puff from fabric discards. And, in the midst of the fast fashion trend, Nguyen wants her pieces to stand the test of time, rather than ending up in a landfill. “I want to make something functional and durable—something that people enjoy having for a long time,” Nguyen says.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @thuthuyngn

tracy powell portrait

Tracy Powell

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Whimsical. Cerebral. Upscale.

What originally started as a concept based on A Midsummer’s Night Dream, Tracy Powell’s Midnight Dream turned into a romantic fall collection full of red, blush, and black pieces. Tailoring is inspired by beetles and moths, using vinyl accents that turn the wearer into an ethereal creature. Chiffons, satins, and silks float underneath more structured capes and coats for garments both conceptual and wearable. Powell is “a person who likes details, which translates well into couture fashion.” Powell designs for the woman who loves high fashion and isn’t afraid to experiment with a bold look.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @gogirlflyfree

brenda rangel portrait

Brenda Rangel

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Safari. Business. Woman.

Adventurous style finds its place in the office in Brenda Rangel’s collection, Civilized Safari. Rangel’s business staples are made in subdued shades of silk and wool, while the accessories are anything but. Her custom-designed scarves, in animal patterns, bold prints, and bright colors, set her ensembles apart. Inspired by the wild style of 101 Dalmatians’ Cruella de Vil, Rangel’s collection is inclusive, and, as she says, “anyone can rock these pieces at any size.”

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @bahhhhrenda

keely rutledge portrait

Keely Rutledge

Hometown: Tuscarawas, Ohio

Collection in three words: Edgy. Deconstructed. Conceptual.

The opioid crisis has been vicious in Tuscarawas, Ohio, says Keely Rutledge, who has  firsthand experience witnessing the brutality of substance abuse. Rutledge is an alterations specialist at David’s Bridal, and that experience, along with witnessing the havoc wrought by drugs in her hometown, are key influences in her collection, Distressed Addiction, that pairs formal wear and materials such as organza, satin silk, and crepe with bold typography (one print shows a battle between “yes,” and “no”). Rutledge’s collection is yellow, to represent the “chaotic sunshine” of drug use, and black, to represent the harsh reality of death. After graduation, she plans to pursue an MFA in costume design. “I like my clothes to have a story,” she says.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @keelyrutledge

alanta slone portrait

Alanta Slone

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Collection in three words: Modern. Authentic. Sprezzatura (that’s Italian for “effortlessly beautiful”).

When you think of lingerie, you may not think of women’s empowerment. But Alanta Slone’s collection, la nouvelle femme | the new women, sets out to prove that strong and sexy can coexist. “I fell in love with lingerie around the time undergarments as outerwear became popular,” Slone says. “I love the idea that you can wear whatever you want—especially because so many women have been told what to wear (and where to wear it) for so long.” Slone, a Columbus native, found inspiration for her collection in a trip to France and a recent internship with lingerie retailer La Senza, where she will work after graduation. Keep an eye out for lots of elevated neutrals, blushes, and charcoal blacks in her collection—plus some showstopper corset trousers— on the runway.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @curlsgonwildx

ran tao portrait

Ran (Peach) Tao

Hometown: Guilin, Guangxi Province, China

Collection in three words: Black. Pink. Edgy.

Ran (Peach) Tao’s name may be a familiar one: In 2018, Columbus-based plus-size retailer ELOQUII picked Tao’s dress design to be sold online. For the Fashion Show, Tao has created a collection, Black and Pink, that contrasts the concepts of toughness and softness with materials ranging from PVC to silk organza. Tao, who credits her mother for passing down her “art gene” and her father for sharing his graphic design know-how, hopes to work for a major sportswear company after graduation and aspires to, someday, make a creative impact in her home country. “Right now, everything is made in China, but I hope, one day, we’ll see things designed in China,” she said.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @ohmypeach_ss

kristen wyant portrait

Kristen Wyant

Hometown: Zionsville, Indiana

Collection in three words: Elegant. Impactful. Fierce.

Kristen Wyant is into detail, The Lord of the Rings, and the intricacies of designing for film and TV, which often turns to materials beyond the sorts of fabrics expected in the fashion world. The Zionsville, Indiana, native’s  collection, Empowered, explores Wyant’s love of molding, casting, and sculpting as she designs historical costumes for women of high influence. Each garment is inspired by a different country—Japan, Egypt, England, and Greece—and incorporates her style influences such as Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, Queen Elizabeth II, Colleen Atwood, and Edith Head.

Email: [email protected]

Instagram: @theclamkristen

yuqi zhang portrait

Yuqi (Crystal) Zhang

Hometown: Weihai, Shandong Province, China

Collection in three words: Dreaming. Modern. Romantic.

Yuqi (Crystal) Zhang’s parents didn’t want her to learn to draw—they were worried it would compromise her studies, she says—but they did take her to art museums and her mother taught her to play piano, both inspirations in her creative endeavors today. Zhang’s collection, Daydreaming Above Clouds, brings natural beauty to her garment designs, which are constructed in shades of blue and white from mesh, satin, and textured fabrics with dramatic shapes, such as removable puffed sleeves. Fashion “was my dream from when I was really young, and it never changed,” said Zhang, whose parents will be in the audience at this year’s fashion show.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @crystalllyyy

yuyuan zhu portrait

Yuyuan (Yvonne) Zhu

Hometown: Huizhou, Guangdong, China

Collection in three words: Delicate. Fresh. Traditional.

Yuyuan (Yvonne) Zhu turns traditional Chinese costuming, called Hanfu, into modern, wearable street style. In her collection, Pale Breeze, Zhu trims hemlines and simplifies fabrics while keeping time-honored details such as pleating, embroidery, high waistlines, and Mandarin collars. She maintains that, while there is a small but growing trend toward ready-to-wear Hanfu garments, “the historical and traditional elements will never go out of style,” making Zhu’s collection timeless and enduring.

Email: [email protected]


Instagram: @yvonn_zhu