Jacob Maitland always enjoyed fashion, but it wasn’t until he took in Savage Beauty, a 2011 Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition featuring the late British designer Alexander McQueen, that he realized his calling. After graduating from high school, the Upper Arlington native attended cosmetology school at the Aveda Hair Institute in Columbus, becoming a hair stylist and working in Chicago and Los Angeles.
But the exhibition — held a year after McQueen’s death — changed it all.
“I had an epiphany. It hit home with me,” Maitland says. “It caused me to think, ‘This is what I want to do. This is what I love.’ And so I made a portfolio relatively quickly — I had things I’d been doing in my spare time over the six years (since graduation) because I’d always made things, sewn things. I was completely self-taught before CCAD, and was completely learning as I went along, but I made a portfolio and I found I got in — and got a scholarship two weeks before school started. I’ve been loving it ever since.”
Friday, May 13, Maitland and 16 other senior fashion design students — plus one MFA student — will see months’ worth of hard work on the runway in this year’s CCAD Senior Fashion Show. Catch the first two parts of our multiweek series with these fashion standouts here and here, read more from Maitland below and get ready for even more great stories from these students about their inspirations, their collections and their time at CCAD in the weeks to come.
Maitland will debut five eveningwear looks — Dior-inspired confections embellished with crystals, beads and luxurious fabrics — at this year’s show. His designs make use of corsets and elaborately constructed, boned-under structures to create a “highly exaggerated” feminine silhouette. Making the dresses “was a lot of work,” Maitland confesses. “And a lot of it is hand-sewn, so there were a lot of sleepless nights, for sure.” Among the standout materials he employed is a silk organza weave with nylon that, Maitland says, “almost looks like glass. It’s very cool, and was the first fabric I got. It really inspired everything else.”
“Over the course of my education, I really kind of honed in on what really does fascinate me about making clothes, and usually it is the unseen details that are really interesting to me. Like, how you create illusions on the body with fashion, with certain interfacing and waist stays and things that aren’t seen by anyone looking at you. The garment is creating an illusion to make your body look its best,” says Maitland. “This was my first time making evening gowns, but based on my research and based on trial and error throughout the process, I would now consider myself an expert. ... My learning process in college has been a lot of choosing something that's a very difficult task and figuring it out."
Maitland credits his fashion-oriented mother and his curious, research-oriented father for influencing his interest in and approach to fashion design. And, he says, he’s thrilled to have them there when his work makes its debut in May. “I want to make my parents proud,” he says. “I’m 27, and they’re still supporting me, and I’m excited to be able to show them something I’m proud of. ... They haven’t seen anything so far, so it will be a total surprise for my family, and I’m really excited to hear their reactions.”
Join CCAD for the hottest runway event in Columbus. The CCAD Senior Fashion Show gets underway Friday, May 13. Click here for more information.