Meet our 2020 designers
Following the guidance of state and federal officials, and out of a commitment to the health and safety of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the community, Columbus College of Art & Design has canceled the 2020 CCAD Fashion Show, originally scheduled for Friday, May 8.
While the event could not go on as planned, it’s an annual spring tradition to highlight the outstanding emerging designers who were selected to show their work in the show. Below, learn more about these student designers and their planned collections. We look forward to sharing more of their work online in the future.
Edgy, Resourceful, Functional.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Instagram: @neonblushe (personal), @_rwac_ (collection)
With her eco-conscious collection Rebel With a Cause, Brianna Becaj focuses her attention on the sustainability of fashion. She created designs with different surface design techniques and natural fibers that have tailored silhouettes that won’t go unnoticed. The devil is indeed in the details as each piece has edgy or quirky details that catch the eye, such as hand-dyed fabric or leather harnesses.
Ethereal. Sustainable. Romantic.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
MollyKate Cline’s Creata (“Created” in Italian) collection celebrates beauty in the world. Cline uses sustainable fabrics in her collection, including silk crepe de chine fabric custom-printed with her own floral photography, hand-dyed habotai silk, and handmade silk ruffles using a shibori technique (twisting or folding cloth then dyeing it).
“I roll silk habotai and organza, and then hand pleat it to create these gorgeous ruffles,” resulting in delicate dresses, she says. “This technique is very labor intensive, so I like to put on worship music, and sing along or pray or think and just kind of meditate as the act of creating ruffles becomes therapeutic. This, to me, is creating as an act of worship.”
Li (Lucy) Cui
Dark, Night, Ocean.
Hometown: Shenzhen, China
With a background in engineering and business management, Lucy decided to pursue a career change to design clothing that connects traditional Chinese culture with modern trends in the fashion industry. Since starting at CCAD, she has become more confident in designing clothes. That self-assurance really shows in her new collection, Dark Night Ocean, which showcases high-end dresses made with luxurious fabrics like silk and organza in the deep green color of the sea.
“My goal is to design clothes for professional women to empower them and make them feel more confident in their workplace. ” Lucy says. While she had a great experience studying here, Lucy plans on returning to China and starting her own business there.
Utility. Street. Swim.
Hometown: North Canton, Ohio
Natalie Deorio stretched herself in creating her Fashion Show collection SWIM—But fashion. The lion’s share of the collection, which features swimwear and utility jackets, is made from waterproof spandex, neoprene, latex, and cotton canvas, which required her to practice new construction techniques and master different machines.
“It was a huge learning curve for me, but now that I’ve learned it, I think it's a really good skill to have,” she says.
Leading up to the project, Deorio has had tailoring and designer internships. At CCAD, she developed her personal style and learned a love for streetwear, which, along with utility trends, serves as inspiration for her new collection.
Classic. Chic. Colorful.
Hometown: New Albany, Ohio
After many years of taking care of her family and working, Erin went back to college majoring in fashion and retail at The Ohio State University; however, she knew it wasn’t the right fit. She wanted to make things with her hands. That’s where Columbus College of Art & Design came in.
“What I’ve learned at CCAD in pattern and tailoring has allowed me to take my vision and make it a reality,” Flynn says.
Her collection, Honky Cat, is a modern take on the vintage fashions of the ’60s and ’70s, with a twist of rock ’n’ roll. It features black, pinks, and creams, with some dazzle. Flynn’s showstopper is a bold and fun jumpsuit, with sleeves made from a quirky pattern.
Marissa Britt Holt
Feminine. Ethereal. Formal.
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Every woman deserves to feel beautiful in what she wears, says Marissa Britt Holt, whose collection for the Fashion Show is titled, appropriately, Every Woman, and includes designs for women in sizes 8–20, and whose models represent a variety of ethnicities.
“Everyone deserves to feel beautiful, and nobody should be told what they can or cannot wear,” says Holt. Her collection features pastels in silk wool, lace, and satin, and includes rompers and jumpsuits.
Since starting at CCAD, Holt’s style has evolved from bohemian ready-to-wear, to designs that include more feminine and ethereal looks.
“I can truly say I’ve found who I am as a designer and person, thanks to all CCAD has taught me,” she says.
Avant-Garde. Bioluminescent. Textured.
Hometown: Canal Winchester, Ohio
Like several designers in the show, Hannah Jarrell was inspired by nature; however, the process she used to create her collection meant watching BBC’s Blue Planet to learn about bioluminescent sea creatures. Hannah created a glow-in-the-dark concoction to illuminate her garments while using her own texturing techniques to get the look she wanted in her collection, Bioluminescent.
Working with habotai silk, power mesh, tulle, and goose feathers, Jarrell screen printed, laser cut and draped the materials, building an all-white, avant-garde aesthetic. What she’s learned from her creative process is not to take everything so seriously.
Jarrell explains, “I stopped looking for inspiration and, instead, I would let inspiration find me.”
Khadzhi (Hadji) Komilov
Elegant. Beautiful. Exotic.
Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia
Birds are the inspiration behind Khadzhi Komilov’s collection, The Story Under My Wings, which features blue, black, and green shades and eye-catching features, such as sequence details adorning the sleeves, train, and flares in some of his pieces. As a student at CCAD, Komilov has grown to take risks and improve his work as a designer, getting better and better when it comes to draping, constructing, and pattern drafting.
Komilov, who moved to Columbus to attend CCAD, says he would love to stay here after graduation. Columbus, he says, “is the city that makes me dream” and inspires me to follow my dreams. It has the perfect amount of everything I want and need.”
Huawei (Luke) Liu
Ocean. Fantasy. Memory.
Hometown: Guangzhou, Guandong, China
Liu, who wore school uniforms for half of his life, was drawn to streetwear and its subculture before moving to Columbus from China in his teens. He immersed himself into magazines featuring streetwear fashion to find his identity at a young age and credits this to a schoolmate for helping him to understand style and design.
In the designer’s collection, Sea Sojourner, Liu used the ocean to fuse different ideas to create a streetwear-based collection that is unique, functional, and great for mix and match. He believes in craftship and quality. He used hand sewing, natural fabrics, and surface techniques combined with human-made materials to craft a well-curated look. The challenge, he says, “was to strike the right balance between effortlessly stylish and over the top.”
He wants his collection to serve as a reminder to him and people to think for themselves, think beyond sales, and just have fun.
Yujia (Lévi) Li
Floral. Japanese. Girlish.
Hometown: Chengdu, Sichuan, China
This go-getting MFA student has already set up an online shop in China and plans to launch the Lévi brand this year. Inspired by Japan’s Shōwa era (1926–1989) culture, especially its advertisements featuring garments of the time, Li layered the images with personal sketches to create unique collage patterns and garment details.
Tokyo Love is in the Air features white, baby pink, light blue, and lime green materials printed with floral designs printed by the designer. What proved challenging was making leg-of-mutton sleeves and creating eight new looks together for the first time.
Li points out, “I had to consider the whole series in every single look.”
Memory. Heritage. Contemporary.
Hometown: Kaifeng, Henan, China
After working many years in the fashion industry in China and moving to Columbus, Xuena Pu decided to become a designer and promptly enrolled in CCAD.
For the show, she has created a look inspired by the simple, clean, and neat colors of nature, and reflected her sustainable fashion ethos. Drawing on her lifetime of experience, Pu used an ancient weaving technique in some of her pieces to showcase her skills. What’s more, she promises a big surprise evocative of her cultural heritage.
“My grandmother and my mother taught me so many ancient Chinese skills, which is really a big plus for me now. I applied some of them to my collection‘s design, making the pieces really stand out. I would like people to fall in love with my collection and Chinese culture.”
American. Freedom. Artisanal.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Sustainability isn’t the focus of Ariel Rapier’s collection, Wild ’n Blue , but it is an important element in her designs, after working in the fashion industry and seeing the amount of waste produced. With some exceptions, her materials are made in America, repurposed, biodegradable with natural dyes. “I believe we can produce in more conscious ways in this industry, and I didn’t want to contribute to the growing amount of waste created by the fashion industry,” she says.
Rapier’s show includes taking items such as Army uniforms and blankets, American Flags and other materials and reworking them into something new, more functional, and on-trend.
Empowering. Demanding. Reflective.
Hometown: Sewell, New Jersey,
Cassidy Sarin’s goal is to someday design custom costumes for musicians, an interest in full view in her collection Liquid Curse, which she says is inspired by “a hint of silhouettes worn by Madonna in the ‘90s mixed with the modern obsession of witches.”
This bold collection in olive, navy, brown, and wine (all in stretch velvet); black (in organza and mesh), and nude (powermesh) with laser-cut mirrors is intended to be “thought-provoking, eye-catching, and daring”—perfect for the stage.
Columbus has a role in this collection, she says. “After all, it’s a city “filled with emerging musicians and artists who all have a different voice and vibe. The inspiration is never-ending.”
Bold. Contemplative. Engaging.
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
When it came to constructing her Fashion Show collection, Mercy, Makenzie Stiles had to be committed to her designs. Very committed. After all, she was using a tattoo machine to make her mark on leather pieces.
“I couldn’t wipe dripping ink off the white leather like I could on skin. It stains and smears, so I had to do a lot of experimenting to get that right,” she says.
Stiles also teamed up with Donald “C-Note” Hooker to give incarcerated artists a platform to share their experience with the American justice system.
“I hope my collection inspires people to support rehabilitation initiatives, but if nothing else, I can remind others to have a bit of mercy for their fellow human beings,” says Stiles.