Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Alumna debuts fashion line Jahnavi Rao Staff Reporter Alumna Samantha Leibowitz’s career in fashion began when she was a student in Dr. Mary Kaye Rhude-Faust’s classroom. Her interest in designing clothing ultimately led her to become the CEO and creative director of her own company, Samantha Leibowitz New York. Leibowitz, a graduate of West Virginia University, worked for over eight different designers and corporations in both Pennsylvania and New York. She was a colorist at Lilly Pulitzer and a designer at The Natori Company. At Natori, Leibowitz learned that corporate “wasn’t the right feel for me. I’m someone who’s very independent and outgoing, and I knew what I wanted to do. I worked for another designer for about five months. I fell in love with the control (of entrepreneurship), how she picked her designs, how she did her hiring.” Leibowitz’s experiences with the designer spurred her to start her own venture. She moved to Manhattan last year to build her own company. In August, Leibowitz announced the release of her fashion line, Samantha Leibowitz New York. With help from her mentors and a group of employees, Leibowitz’s designs and clothes will launch in stores this January. Leibowitz is confident that her products will be seen around the Philadelphia area. “We will definitely be in the Main Line very soon,” Leibowitz said. “I’ve been communicating with a lot of boutiques in the area.” Leibowitz plans to introduce her products to the same region where she had her first exposure to designing clothing. As a Conestoga student, she took fashion classes both in and out of school and was on the fashion board for Nordstrom in King of Prussia. She also founded the club Take a Blink for Pink, in which she used her interest in fashion to help reach her goal of raising money for the Susan B. Komen foundation. “I had students in the club run the fashion show. They modeled my clothing on a runway in the cafeteria,” Leibowitz said. “It was packed. (We)
Students create personalized pieces
Angela Ngyuen/The SPOKE
Marvelous metals: Students perfect a metal snowflake and use a machine to drill a hole in their piece.
Michael Li and Jahnavi Rao Managing Editor and Staff Reporter
Courtesy Samantha Leibowitz
Fashion forward: Designer Samantha Liebowitz poses in a dress of her creation. She recently completed a fashion shoot for her clothing in Mexico. definitely had a couple hundred people there.” Leibowitz sees her passion for fashion as a medium to make an impact in the community around her. She knows that her skills will distinguish her in from other designers.
“I realized I was designing for other people versus designing exactly what I want for myself,” Leibowitz said. “I have a lot of technical ideas that really are different and unique from all the millions of designers out there currently.”
Courtesy Samantha Leibowitz
All in the details: Alumna Samantha Leibowitz (right) puts the finishing touches on her model. Leibowitz created her fashion line in August. She hopes to expand her collection to local boutiques.
The sounds of clanging metals and whirring drills fill the air of room 203. Students are scattered around the table, using polishing machines and finishing their products with steel wool. Under the guidance of teacher Piera Raffaele, students showcase their creativity through their metal projects. “I say we’re making key chains, but it’s really up to you to design what you want to do,” Raffaele said. Rather than make a key chain with a pattern, sophomore Ashleigh Lake chose to shape her piece into a playful hummingbird. “I started by tracing the picture I wanted onto tracing paper, then gluing it right onto the piece of copper, and used a little saw to cut it out,” Lake said. Though the process seems labor intensive, Lake said working with metals is not as difficult as it might seem. “I’m also in Studio Art I this year and Metals is so different because it doesn’t require any past experience. When I went into the class I had never worked with metals before and now I’ve learned so much,” Lake said. Raffaele gives her students much freedom to work by themselves, but before the room comes alive the noises of metalworking, there are a number of techniques to be learned. “When it looks like most of us are finished with a project, the teacher then uses the beginning of class to demonstrate how to make a certain ring,” senior Dahye Yoon said. When class starts, Raffaele often opens with a demonstration on techniques including blanking and piercing, in which a “blank” or “scrap” of metal is punched out of a larger chunk of metal. She also
teaches forming, or the reshaping of a piece without loss of material. Students then learn how to sand and rivet their pieces. Each technique needs a certain tool. The multitude of instruments on the wall of the Metals room range from rawhide mallets to belt sanders. “It’s very tool-intensive,” Raffaele said. “In the beginning, maybe the first couple of days, we’re just going over all the equipment: how to use a drill press, how to use the dremels, how to use the torches.” Because of the nature of the acetylene torches, shards of metal and saws, safety is a serious concern. Students “have to come in and wear glasses; they’re not supposed
“When I went into the class I had never worked with metals before and now I’ve learned so much.” -Sophomore Ashleigh Lake to wear headphones and they have to pull their hair back. We work with these buffing wheels here and if you have long hair you don’t want to get your hair stuck in there,” Raffaele said. “Definitely, safety is the number one thing that we teach in this class.” Lake went into the semester-long course thinking that she would only be working on jewelry, but she was pleasantly surprised by the variety of projects in Metals. “I’d heard it had to do with jewelry making, so that was all I had really expected. But we do tons of different projects besides jewelry, like key chains and ornaments and things like that which I really enjoy because there’s always something new to do,” Lake said.
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