This article was originally published in the June 2009 issue of AATCC News.
Winners Share Their Experiences
By Diana A. Wyman
Meet four up-and-coming
Miranda Shilati, a May 2009 graduate of Syracuse University; Eleanor Hoffman, a rising senior at North Carolina State University; Erika Neumayer, a recent graduate of Dominican University; and Wesley Kathryn Woods, a senior at Auburn University.
As winners of AATCC’s 2009 Concept 2 Consumer® student design competition, their fabric and garment designs were selected by professionals in the design, fashion, and retail industries as the best in their categories.
Tell readers a little about yourself.
Miranda: I received a BFA from Syracuse University,
graduating on May 10, 2009 and majoring in Surface Pattern Design. I hope to
find a job working as a pattern designer. While I am willing to work in most
industries, I really have an affinity for bedding and apparel patterns, so I
hope to find a job sometime soon in either of those industries.
Eleanor: [I am pursuing a] double major: Art & Design/Textile Technology. I am studying textiles in hopes of ultimately finding a career in it but I have been interested in it since I was little and I love what I do. I am currently working in wardrobe at Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, S.C. I am sewing and altering costumes for the opera Louise. I am also a dresser for the principals in Louise as well as Alvin Ailey Dance American Dance Company and Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.
Erika: I have a bachelor’s degree with distinction in apparel design. I just graduated from Dominican University in May 09 and I am going to Goa, India at the end of June as well as Paris for the month of July. With this in mind, I plan on looking for employment upon my return from Paris. I honestly have no clue where my career path will take me, but I would love to design textiles. Right now I am doing some freelance work for friends and family.
Wesley: I am majoring in Apparel Design and Production Management at Auburn University. I think textiles are just as important a design element as any stitch or garment detail, and I would love to have a career designing something such as fabrics. I am currently interning in Atlanta, Ga. with a gown designer. I love wedding and eveningwear gowns and I think this will be the perfect opportunity for me to get to see how the industry works from a designer's point of view. After I finish my internship at the end of July, I'll return to Auburn to finish school and graduate in December. My road is pretty much clear after that, I'll have to see where the wind blows me.
What was the most difficult part of the competition? What did you learn?
Miranda: Creating a variety of patterns that were able to be strong designs that stood on their own, but also worked well enough together so when mixed and matched one wouldn't overpower another. I think I learned to have more confidence in my work and the progress I've made over the years. Looking at where I started in my major three years ago, I never would've expected to win a national competition with what I was designing back then.
Eleanor: It was really hard figuring out color placement and trying to use all of the colors from the palette. I tend to stick to more simple palettes so this was a good challenge for me. I learned a lot about creating repeat patterns for fabric as well as what goes into printing them.
Erika: I really try to learn from all that I do and this was a great example. I learned the value of presentation. I worked for a long time with the graphic design department in order to gain the knowledge I believe is critical to presenting your work on a poster board.
Wesley: The hardest part of this competition was definitely the final garment. When I submitted my design to the preliminary competition in November, I didn't consider the fact that I might have to actually construct one of the garments so I didn't consider that in my illustrations. Having to create a line of garments from the AATCC's concept and color standards definitely taught me how to design for someone else instead of myself.
What was the best part of the competition?
Miranda: Winning $1,000.
Eleanor: Being able to use the new techniques I was learning to create something I am proud of. It was also nice to be recognized for all of my hard work.
Erika: Realizing that I do make good design. In this industry, there are constantly ups and downs, and having confidence in yourself is vital to success and sometimes I don't always have that. After this competition, I feel much better about my design and my future.
Wesley: I thought the competition's design concepts were very well interpreted and communicated. This helped guide my designs and inspiration.
What was the inspiration for your design(s)?
Miranda: I liked the color palette Freedom and from that I just attempted to create a pattern I thought I would like to wear. When I showed it to my roommate to ask her opinion of it, she had mentioned it would make great rain boots, which is what put me on the path to creating a whole collection of rainwear.
Eleanor: My designs were all inspired by patterns created from architectural diagrams. I was originally inspired by a diagram of Washington, DC that I saw in an architecture studio at school. Other patterns stemmed from tree placement and building diagrams, as well as topographical maps.
Erika: I like to get inspiration from other cultures and their traditional textiles, but I also really enjoy finding inspiration in emotions, feelings and other intangible things.
Wesley: I was primarily drawn to [the] “Biological Identity” [color palette] because of the colors. My style is ultra feminine and the color palette was so sweet and exactly my taste. I learned in grade school that no two snowflakes are the same, and that helped me tie together the concept of “Biological Identity” with a dressy/casual winter collection.