Ask Lauren Metelitz how she came to study at CCAD, and she’ll confess, “it was kind of random. I never knew anyone here, or knew about Columbus or Ohio.” But the Valencia, California, native had an art teacher and mentor who encouraged her to consider the college. So Metelitz decided to pay CCAD and Columbus a visit, and the rest, as they say, is history. “I’m so glad I came here. I’m so glad I went out of state and got out of my comfort zone,” says Metelitz, who graduates in May. Studying Fashion Design at CCAD “was the best decision ever. I’m glad I did it,” she says.
Metelitz is one of 17 seniors and one MFA student whose designs will hit the runway Friday, May 13, at the CCAD Senior Fashion Show. As the student designers (and their models) get ready for the show, so, too will we. Over the next few weeks, we’re chatting with them about their inspirations, their collections, their time at CCAD and more. Hear from Metelitz below, and be sure to catch up with the first part of the series here.
Despite starting college with no experience on a sewing machine, Metelitz quickly took to the commercial machines used in class. Still, to put together a collection for a fashion show — Metelitz is showing five looks in all — ”is such a jump from everything else we’ve ever done in the Fashion department. Doing your own collection is a very new thing ... but it’s very rewarding,” she says. An internship at Abercrombie & Fitch helped. As she researched images for the brand — runway photos and other imagery — she gained inspiration for her own work. Then in the fall, she visited New York to shop for fabric. “That was really fun, that was one of the most exciting parts,” she recalls. Fun, that is, until she ran out of materials. “There were times I had to go to Jo-Ann’s and just use whatever I could get my hands on,” says Metelitz.
Metelitz’s collection for the fashion show draws inspiration from Spain, particularly its culture of bullfighting and flamenco dancing. The aesthetics of bullfighting — the arena and the colorful staging, and the matadors’ elaborate dress — were compelling, “but I struggled with the fact that it is such a controversial thing, it’s something that I don’t support,” Metelitz says. “Matadors, they dress in these crazy, custom-made, hand-embellished costumes, and then they go out to fight and kill and get blood on themselves. … The performance itself is tragic, in my eyes, so that’s why my collection is all black.” She was taken, too, by flamenco, with its “contrast of stomping the feet really hard but gracefully moving the hands. ... I liked that whole idea of power versus elegance, which ties into the whole theme of beauty versus tragedy, which is what bullfighting portrays.” Her collection’s nods to the theme include slices in the fabric, bolero-style hats on some of the models, and a fringed capelet on another.
Metelitz says her designs “aren’t something you’d wear any old day. I feel like you’d have to feel daring to wear it — and definitely confident. ... I feel like that’s such a big part of fashion, being able to put something on and feel like it’s the coolest thing.”
Join CCAD for the hottest runway event in Columbus. The CCAD Senior Fashion Show gets underway Friday, May 13. Click here for more information.