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At Fashion Design Workshop Students Find Inspiration in “Anything and Everything”

December 03 2014

As part of Youth Design Academy, fist-year Youth Designers enjoyed a terrific workshop led by MassArt Fashion Design student Christian Restrepo, whose dramatic, award-winning designs have been showcased at the ICA, in Boston Magazine, and many other venues and publications.

“The designs Christian showed us were very interesting and different," said Youth Designer Tara Rahman, a junior at Boston International High School, "I learned that you can be inspired by anything and everything.”

Christian’s work challenged Youth Designers to think about fashion as visual story-telling and “wearable art” that needs to be daring, dramatic, and original to complete in today’s high-fashion marketplace. Jessica Villar, a Youth Designer from Brighton High School, echoed Tara’s sentiment. “I learned that anything can be a great idea,” she said, “like when Christian used the bottom of a frying pan in his dress design!”

Yes, Christian did, in fact, incorporate an image of a frying pan into the design of a gorgeous gown! After breakfast one morning he noticed the interesting combination of colors and textures left in the frying pan, so he photographed the pan, printed the photograph on fabric, and designed the rest of the dress to harmonize with it.

“What I loved about the workshop is that we got to do our own designs,” said Janet Diaz, another Youth Designer from Brighton High. Indeed, each student designed a “collection” of  three looks on a common theme, learning steps in the design process—defining the brief, creating a mood board, sharing their ideas and sketches for feedback, exploring a range of tools and materials, and finally presenting their work in critique format for discussion. “The project we did was helpful because we got to learn about the process and the work it takes to just make one design,” said Tara.

Although time was short, the students took up the challenge to mine their own interests outside the world of fashion as inspiration for their clothing designs. Janet's clothing designs, for example, were inspired by the colors and textures of the beach in her native Puerto Rico. 

“The Fashion Design workshop was a great way to get students to stop and think about what they see every day,” says Alisa Aronson, Youth Design Education Specialist and MassArt Assistant Professor of Design. “Moving from uncritically following trends to creating expressions of their own uniqueness is an important step in their growth," she adds. "Being resourceful, imaginative, and using the design process to create their own looks is empowering.”

The chance to learn more about the world of fashion is of strong interest to today’s teens. Youth Design provides a variety of opportunities for students to explore fashion design process, learn about fashion careers, and express themselves through this medium while building transferrable skills.

The Fashion Design workshop was a memorable experience for the Youth Designers' first summer. Thanks to Christian Restrepo for teaching this workshop and to MassArt Fashion Design faculty Sondra Grace and Meg Young for working with Alisa to plan and coordinate it.

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