In Their Element Part Two: A Conversation With UT Design Students

The University of Texas at Austin's Senior Design Student Fashion Show, “Elements,” takes place on April 14 at the Frank Erwin Center. Twenty two students will showcase athletic-wear and bridal pieces they created last semester, and a three-piece collection they have been working on this semester.

Story by Ethan Elkins

Photos by Malayna Ellis 

In this installment, ORANGE interviewed six design students and asked about their collections, inspiration and plans after graduation.

 

Mario Salazar — 22, Design Major

  Mario Salazar shows ORANGE one of his pieces he’ll be using in the fashion show.

Mario Salazar shows ORANGE one of his pieces he’ll be using in the fashion show.

What inspired your collection?

The main theme of my inspiration came from the movie Interstellar. I am basing it off of the visuals from the movie and the theory of relativity. My collection is actually called “Relativity,” having to do with gravity and space travel.

Which piece are you the most proud of?

I am excited to show the bridal jumpsuit I made. It took a long time to make, and I am excited for people to see the direction I went with it.

Which designer inspires you?

My favorite designers are Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren. I like a simple, classic looks for men and women with clean lines, which they all incorporate.  

What part of the fashion show are you the most excited about?

I’m excited to see all of my classmates’ collections on the floor. We have been working hard for about three years now, and I want to see everyone’s faces when they see their clothes going down the runway.

 

Avani Patel — 21, Design and Finance Major

  Avani lays out fabric to start cutting out her design.

Avani lays out fabric to start cutting out her design.

What inspired your collection?

My collection was inspired by a painting that was made in 1914 by Theo van Doesburg. When I saw it, I was stricken by how modern it looked, even though it was created over a century ago. My collection is basically a ‘90s reinterpretation of the '60s. I used a lot of the color schemes and geometric lines that the painting incorporates, which is basically “dirtied” primary colors.

Which piece are you the most proud of?

My evening wear. I started out absolutely hating it. I began by ordering this fabric online called Champagne. It came in and was baby pink, and everyone who knows me knows I hate pink, and don’t usually wear or design with it. I had a lot of issues in the beginning with construction, and I had to hand-sew most of the dress, so it ended up taking a lot of time. When I finally saw it on the model, I was very shocked.

Which designer inspires you?

I like Giambattista Valli a lot because he knows how to make a woman super powerful and feminine at the same time. I also love Josep Font of Delpozo because his creations are very structural and colorful.

 

Victoria Espinoza — 23, Design and Journalism Major

  Victoria cuts out her stencils for her next piece.

Victoria cuts out her stencils for her next piece.

What inspired your collection?

My collection is inspired by young millennial girls who are body confident and comfortable with what they wear. That is often hard to find at a teenager’s age, but with the way times are changing, more and more girls are becoming more confident with themselves due to body-positive images being shown in the media. I designed evening wear targeted at girls who may want to wear something different to their Homecoming or Prom.

Which piece are you the most proud of?

My evening gown. It is inspired by mermaids, which I love. It has a high neck that is only being held up by three buttons. It comes down low in the back and has a mermaid braid that I constructed in the back. The dress is a seafoam green that is very pretty and 100 percent silk.

What designer inspires you?

Definitely Calvin Klein. He is very good at his Ready to Wear. He is known for his jeans, which is where I started out. His evening wear is very simple, and I feel like my style is also very simple with a twist.

Which area of the design industry do you aspire to go into?

Editorials — that’s what I like to do, writing about fashion. I also like styling. I feel like I am not at the point yet where I can style for others, but I am working on it. That is actually what I am doing at my internship now at Austin Fit Magazine. I’m in Editorial, but I also help style their shoots.

 

Marisa Garcia — 23, Design Major

  Marisa displays her skater inspired piece to ORANGE.

Marisa displays her skater inspired piece to ORANGE.

What inspired your collection?

I was really inspired by skateboarding. I started skateboarding when I came to UT, so it helped me think about what I would want to wear and how I would want to help my friends improve the garments they skate in, especially for women. A lot of times, women in skateboarding have to settle for what we wear, or we have to look like a boy. The only good things to buy are boy’s clothes, so I wanted to make something that was functional for women but also stylish and met the needs that the market is missing.

Which piece are you the most proud of?

Either my overalls or a wool jacket with a checkerboard lining. The overalls are denim, and the same checkerboard lining in the jacket is also used for the straps on the overalls.

What designer inspires you?

If I had to choose, I would say Betsey Johnson. I don’t have the same style aesthetic that she does, but I look at her stuff and would love to make pieces as crazy as hers.

What area of the design industry do you aspire to go into?

Definitely active wear for skateboarding.

 

Tasneem Saifee — 23, Retail Merchandising and Design Major with a minor in Korean and a Business Foundations Certificate

  Tasneem carefully clips together the pieces for her next garment.

Tasneem carefully clips together the pieces for her next garment.

What inspired your collection?

The Austin skyline inspired my collection, specifically the geometric shapes and colors. I was inspired by when I look at the skyline and see light emitting from the windows. That was where I got the colors and shapes of the clothes from.

Which piece are you the most proud of?

From all the pieces that are being shown, i’m very proud of my bridal gown, which was inspired by Lord of the Rings. The tagline of the dress was, “One dress to rule them all.” It was influenced by the elvish culture Tolkien wrote about, so it is very powerful and elegant at the same time. I don’t really like white dresses, and I come from a culture where we don’t wear white dresses, but rather colorful ones at our weddings, so I decided to put colors into it.

Which designer inspires you?

I would say Zuhair Murad. He has really nice gowns. After actually making a bridal gown, I learned how hard it is. My level of respect for him went up a notch.

What part of the fashion show are you the most excited about?

I’m excited to see everything come together and have my family see my clothes. They know I have gone through so much, and they have really supported me emotionally. There are some times when I have wanted to give up and say I didn’t want to do this anymore, but they have helped me pull through. I’m also excited for my friends to see everything as well because most of them are science majors, and they don’t understand how designing works and how much work really goes into it.  

 

Tré Miles — 22, Retail Merchandising Major with a minor in Business and Design

  Tré trims the fabric of his piece to even out the edges.

Tré trims the fabric of his piece to even out the edges.

What inspired your collection?

My collection was inspired by my personal views, but also social issues. One of the biggest things I was trying to make a statement with was gender neutrality. Clothing and fashion really informs what we think about gender, so through fashion we can reinform what we think about it. My intention is to break down the barriers of what is considered feminine and masculine and put all of the clothes on the same people.

Which designer inspires you?

I have a mix of favorites for different things. The first of two that I reference quite often would be Shane Oliver of HBA, which is a relatively new brand that is seen on Rihanna and A$AP Rocky. He makes a lot of cultural and social statements in his clothing. The second would be Schiaparelli, who was a famous designer from before our time who was known for working with the likes of Salvador Dali. She had a lot of bold and loud statements. She was the one that inspired the term “shocking pink” because she was the first person to bring pink into the conversation of high fashion. I like both sides of being able to make a social statement, but also have a bit of tongue-in-cheek.

Which area of the design industry do you aspire to go into?

The place I would like to be in would be one of two things: the first, which has always come naturally to me, is styling. When I was little, I always used to style my sister and I. I would have so much fun dressing up other people and myself. The second would be show production. I have worked backstage at a few shows during New York Fashion Week, and I like the ability to put on a show, design it aesthetically and work with a designer to bring their vision together.