photoshoot: behind the scenes even more diy projects fashion week coverage product giveaways friday five & more
EDITORS-IN-CHIEF April Zhang MJ Batson (finally returning in the fall!) editorial & publishing FASHION Vivian Carlson, Victor Ha, Madeleine Luckel STREET STYLE BEAUTY Becca Gevertz, Samantha Rose Marissa Petteruti DIY ART Mo Hy Chelsea English ENTERTAINMENT THAT GIRL/THAT GUY Marissa Bergman Michelle Frea PHOTOGRAPHY HEALTH Erin Schwartz, Eve Blazo Marissa Ilardi BLOG COPY Tiffany Mendoza Camille Spencer-Salmon
business FUNDRAISING Liv Nam
PUBLICITY Liz Kelley
ADVERTISING SALES Hyoju Lim
in this issue 6
LETTERS FROM THE EDITORS
18 FASHION 20 Olympic Style 24 Happy Feet 26 BEAUTY 28 Summer Splash 30 Sunset Nails 32 HEALTH 34 Athletic Allure 36 DIY 38 Book Clutch 44 ENTERTAINMENT 46 BTW: Two Hearts 52 THAT GIRL/THAT GUY 54 Cassie Packard ‘13 58 President Ruth Simmons 62 ART 64 Diane Zhou ‘14 69 Arlando Battle ‘12 76 SPECIAL: BROWN FASHION SHOW 78 The Designers 110 Let There Be Light
On the cover: Hannah Kimmel Photographer: Carolyn Shasha
EDITORS’ [letter from the absentee editor | May 1, 2012] Hello All! I hope you are all having a great end to your semester and doing amazing work for your finals. But, if that is not the case, no worries. There is always next year! So, I am writing this letter as my way of saying goodbye to this semester and welcoming in the next. I have indeed missed Brown dearly during this semester abroad and I am beyond excited to be back for my final year at Brown. I am also beyond proud of Unhemmed and the great work that has been done this semester and being able to see the magazine get better with each issue is a great feeling. Although we will be losing some readers due to graduation, I am excited to gain the new ones. Though the old move onto the new, I welcome the new as they grow into the old. Unfortunately, we cannot stay at Brown forever, but as long as we are here we might as well make it count. Next year will be my final year at Brown (and Unhemmed ) and although bittersweet I look forward to the beginning of the end. I have big plans and I look forward to watching the magazine continue to grow. So as this year at Brown winds down, I hope you all take the time to appreciate how amazing Brown truly is. My appreciation for Brown has indeed grown during my time away and I would not trade my time at Brown for anything. Alright well that’s about it. Have a lovely end to your semester and happy graduation to the class of 2012. I will indeed miss seeing a lot of the faces that I had come to know as familiar when I return. Unfortunately those few seniors I wish I had gotten to know will be off to the real world but I will say lesson learned. Sometimes you have just have to say hello. So if I didn’t get the chance I just want to say hello, in the midst of my goodbye. Well good luck graduates with the real world. I will be seeing you there soon. And as for everyone else, ever true, ever Brown. I cannot wait to see you in the fall and enjoy the May issue. Best,
’ LETTERS To everyone:
Goodbyes suck. Really, they’re the worst. The year is ending, seniors are graduating, and people are off to do bigger and better things -- nothing could be more bittersweet. But as the saying goes, this isn’t goodbye, this is just “see you later.” So to the seniors that I’ve spent all year reluctantly preparing to say goodbye to, see you later. To those who are prematurely and unexpectedly leaving, see you later. And to those that I’ve regrettably only just gotten to know and are unfortunately graduating already, see you later. And, of course, to Ruth, see you later. As for everyone else, have the best summer yet, and see you in the fall. We have had an amazing year here at Unhemmed, and I’d like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who was involved: our wonderful staff of editors and photographers that has become like a family, our contributing writers without whom we would have no magazine, all the featured students (and faculty) for being so incredible and for letting us interview them, and to all of you readers who make doing all of this worthwhile. I also want to thank the lovely team at Fashion@Brown, who put on an amazing show this year and are just infinitely awesome. In this issue, we have pages and pages of coverage from the fashion show, including profiles on all of the designers and a special photoshoot featuring the designers’ clothing (directed by fashion editor Victor Ha). Also in this issue: our resident “Behind the Wardrobe” columnist, entertainment writer Caroline Bologna interviews the costume designer of BTV’s Two Hearts, art editor Chelsea English introduces us to two extremely talented student artists, and that girl/that guy editor Michelle Frea gives us a peek into the life of a fashionable student. This issue, more than ever, is a celebration of Brown and its inspiring students. Though I’m sad about saying all these goodbyes (disguised as see-you-laters), I’m looking forward to the end of finals (obviously), the summer (duh), and my senior year (of course). It’s all so exciting. To the class of 2012, congratulations and best wishes in all your future endeavors. To President Simmons, thank you for being amazing. And to everyone, good luck on all your finals. Enjoy this issue during one of your (many) study breaks - I promise it’ll be worth it. See you later. Love,
RACHEL SHUR ‘12
Photo by Elaine Kuckertz
Thoughts about graduating “Graduation for me will be incredibly bittersweet. Brown has given me the best 4 years of my life, and I’ll miss my friends who are scattering all over the world, but I am very excited to start the next chapter of my life!”
Style inspiration musicians I admire
Photo by Erin Schwartz
Photo by Victor Ha
ALLISON LAROCCI ‘13
ADDIE MITCHELL ‘15
Summer plans research at the RISD museum
Summer plans working at Sephora
ANNA BYON ‘15
Next must-have purchase several black t-shirts Thoughts about graduating “I feel an almost surreal combination of excitement and terror, but I think I’m fine with that.”
Photo by Erin Schwartz
Photo by Erin Schwartz
ATILIO BARREDA ‘12
VERA CAROTHERS â€˜14
Photo by Elaine Kuckertz
Summer plans interning at 826DC, a creative and literary arts education non-profit
Photo by Erin Schwartz
EDDIE RE ‘12 MARIAGRAZIA LAFAUCI ‘12
Photo by Erin Schwartz
Summer plans California
DIANE ZHOU ‘15
Next must-have purchase bright colored headband (for Spring Weekend)
Photo by Erin Schwartz
CHRISTOPHER THOMPSON ‘15
Summer plans learning to DJ
JONG HYUN “TOM” PARK ‘15 Next must-have purchase a colorblock dress Summer plans Spain in June for a study-abroad program and working at the Department of Art, Culture, and Tourism in Providence
Photo by April Zhang
Photo by Becca Gevertz
ELAINE KUCKERTZ ‘13
KIRSTIN PURTICH ‘12
Photo by Victor Ha
Thoughts about graduating “I’m a little nervous, but I’m also excited to move into the real world.”
OLYMPIC STYLE: LONDON 2012 AND THE ATHLETIC TREND by Elaine Kuckertz
Stella McCartney with athletes modeling her Olympic Kit
Prabal Gurung SS 12
Alexander Wang SS 12
s we power through the last round of papers and exams, all of us look forward to summer. Wherever we will be, there is one event that the entire world will be anticipating: the summer Olympics. Even for those of us who are not sports fans, it is difficult to deny the exhilaration of watching super-athletes smash world records and seeing underdogs beat the odds. As we gear up for the Olympics, everyone’s eyes are on London, and not just because it is the venue. Enter Stella McCartney. This British powerhouse has dominated the international fashion scene since she began her own label in 2001. This year, the excitement steps up another level-McCartney designed the uniform for Great Britain’s Olympic and Paralympic teams. In light of this project, the real excitement is McCartney’s spring collection. Amongst the polka dot and floral patterns of this collection are small details reminiscent of athletics. In designing ultrafunctional pieces for Olympic competition, it is easy to see elements such as “slithers of perforated breathable fabrics sliced into little crepe dresses, and oversize polo shirts and bomber jackets,” writes Hamish Bowles in his review of the collection at Vogue.com.
photos via Vogue.com
Stella McCartney SS 12
Further evidence of this Olympic inspiration is McCartney’s color scheme: navy blues, muted reds, and stark whites, a clear nod to the Union Jack. Bowles concludes, “the mood was one of effortless sophistication.” This effortless sophistication of sporty details and Olympic inspiration crept into New York’s collections as well. Prabal Gurung, despite the florals and baby blue pastel hues featured in his spring show, could not stay away from the sporty details. For him, the juxtaposition of such a feminine theme was a way to balance both looks, creating one that “lost all athleticism and looked provocative and sensual.” Alexander Wang’s athletic look was much more overt, with mesh hoodies that he labeled “racing suits.” As the Olympic excitement begins to gain momentum, fashion followers around the globe are becoming inspired not only by the athletes’ world-class performances, but also by the uniforms that they don. These functional pieces, when taken out of their competitive context, can be equally chic. Pairing track pants, traditionally associated with fitness, with a pair of snakeskin Louboutins is a great way to stir some trouble up with your wardrobe.
happy feet by Anisa Khanmohamed
eet. The very mention of those (mostly) grounddwelling appendages of ours tends to invoke quite an array of reactions. Many of these are not exactly pleasant or all that enthralling to begin with (well, depending on what you’re into...but that’s a different story.) The ways in which we adorn them, however, seem to communicate much more. Here’s a look at a few current spring/summer shoe trends: jelly shoes, colorful soles, and “men’s” shoes for women—especially notable for their quirkiness and attention-getting capabilities. Anyone remember Vivienne Westwood’s collaboration with Brazilian shoe manufacturer Melissa, and what that produced? Their incredibly adorable collection of rubber sandals, flats, booties, even heels, and now loafers for men, was to die for (some are even scented!) The light and bright rainbow of colors, and large whimsical hearts, bows, and pegasus wings that accessorize them, and the simple fact that they are made of rubber, are all evocative of a playful, carefree attitude. And isn’t that what the warmer months of the year are for? They just might remind you of a slightly more grown-up version of those funky jelly shoes you wore when you were little. Another trend, standout soles, has a bit of legal and political controversy attached to it. Specifically, designer Christian Louboutin lost his case against Yves Saint
Laurent over the signature red sole. More recently, the wife of Syria’s President bought an exclusive pair of Louboutins amidst the continuing anti-Assad uprisings and widespread government crackdown, resulting in more negative associations for the brand. But why limit ourselves to red soles, anyway? As the ever-so-charming New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham noted in one of his street-style slideshows, it’s almost as if, in reaction to the squabbling generated by that single color, there has been a move to diversify the palette of the sole. Thirdly, in a nod to the androgyny much of fashion has been promoting as of late, “men’s” shoes are in for women. Tennis shoes, oxfords, flip flops, TOMS, not to mention the pairs of boat shoes so ubiquitously present at Brown...are all shoe styles wearable by both guys and girls through the
seasonal transition. Athletic shoes by brands such as Nike are quick to remind us that the joys of neon-spiked sneakers will continue to thrive this pre-summer workout season, regardless of the wearer’s gender. Oxfords in eye-popping colors, metallics, and prints are perfect for a girl who wants to keep up the menswear move in her wardrobe, but would rather put the proper tones like black and cognac into storage till next fall. Also for guys, who might like to lighten things up as well, there is the colored-sole oxford! It wouldn’t surprise me to spot rubber oxfords either—why not? All in all, the options are limitless for those who want a dose of outlandishness in their spring and summer shoe choices. Now is definitely a great time to take your pick and try something less conventional.
summer splash Whether you’re chilling by the beach or dressing for a hardearned internship, these products will make you look fabulous! by Marissa Petteruti
for a g n i ’s ok e lo Benefit also r ’ u yo ry tain in If l look, t at lip-s a t -s Lip natura this gre ($29) e . mor etint” – blush a n e s a “B bles u o d
Bron z Bronz er Guerlai n’s Te er co r m one t ailore es in two racotta d for other s hade blo for br s unett ndes and , es. ($ the 50)
Ey ma esha Lo nce dow op ca” w Eyes Kat h tio ns ill giv ado Von D w to e ch you Pal ’s Tru e oo se an a tte in e Ro fro rra “M y m ($3 of c i Vid 6). olo a rfu l
Lipst ic with N k Make a s A “Schi RS’ lipst plash ick in ap.” ( $24)
Nails Try Essie’s “Poppy-razzi” neon collection with “Lights” (hot pink), “Camera” (coral), “Action” (yellow), and “Bazooka” (orange). ($8 per color)
SUNSET N A bright and simple nail tutorial for those lazy summer days in the sun!
Choose two bright nail polishes. With the first color, draw a diagonal line from one corner of the nail to the other and fill in one side.
With the second color, fill in the other side of the nail.
by Kadechanya Wilailak and Michelle Chang photos by Mariya Bashkatova
ATHLETIC ALLURE by Lauren Warner
“Active wear” doesn’t just consist of shapeless tshirts, oversized sweatpants, and all too plain, worn out sneakers. This all too unoriginal and not quite couture athletic gear is no longer the only option. With brands like Lululemon, Nike, and Asics revamping everything from
shoes to sweatbands, there are endless ways to look sporty yet sleek this summer. With multicolored sneakers, flattering, fitted tops, and vibrant running shorts you’ll have no problem keeping it chic on the street, in the pool, or even when climbing a mountain.
Whether you’re working as a lifeguard or just enjoying swimming laps, rather than settle for a simple racer back, try a suit with a bit more flair. Make a splash by choosing a one pieces with a slight v-neckline or doubled over wrapping in bright colors and patterns. And, for comfortable yet cute pool shoes, go with something both waterproof and trendy, like the new gladiator style Havaianas.
When transitioning from pool to the golf course, swap the simple polo top with a pretty, ruffled blouse to look polished and poised. Pair with perfectly tapered shorts in any shade from sunshine yellow to petal pink to complete the look. As an alternative to this twopiece combo, choose a sleeveless polo dress that’s both elegant and comfortable. Switching over to the tennis courts but not looking to restrict your style to simplistic tennis whites? Serve up some originality with a scoop neck, pleated dress in an eye-catching color like indigo or a classic white and navy.
The country club isn’t the only place to be active in the summer, so if you prefer climbing rocks, hiking, or camping, make sure to head to the hills in style. Rather than piling on layers, sport cute and totally convenient outerwear yet, like a Uniqlo jacket. With the warmth of a down jacket and sleekness of a parka the Uniqlo jacket is a must have. Better yet, you can bunch these trendy coats up small enough to fit in a pocket. Then, retire your school bag for a fun, feminine backpack with a variety of pockets in a floral or paisley design and you’ll stand out all the way up the trails.
If you’re running rather than climbing, you should still be speeding along in style. Perfectly fitted tanks in pretty pastels or neon hues with added details like mesh lace or cross back straps are lightweight and comfortable yet completely chic. Pair with brightly colored or patterned shorts to finish this marathon-winning look. Choose a creative and electrifying combo of colors for your sneakers and you’ll transform the street into an active-wear runway.
Regardless of the sport you choose, cute accessories will go with any look. Exchange a basic white sweatband for a delicate and pretty hair band that will add some pizzazz to your ponytail while holding your hair in place. To keep your iPod accessible, show it off with an armband in a fun color to match you shoes or top. And, for all your active accessories, carry along a bag that’s just right the balance of sporty and sophisticated. You’ll make the transition from street, or mountain, or pool, or court, to chic, quicker than someone can compliment you’re anything but average workout gear.
DIY BOOK CLUTCH by Mo Hy
You will need: Hardcover book Exacto knife Clasp Paintbrush Glue Ruler
1. Take your book and open it to the second or third page.
2. Apply a liberal amount of glue to the edges of the pages with a brush.
3. Keep the book open and weigh it down with those textbooks you should be using to study for finals. This will help prevent wrinkles in the pages as they dry.
4. After allowing it to dry, open to the first glued page and mark a rectangle about 1 inch from each side. 5. Use your Exacto knife to cut along these lines to remove a few pages at a time. Carve away until youâ€™ve reached your desired depth.
6. Brush in more glue on the sides and inside of this newly cut section.
7. Close the book and weigh it down again. 8. Cut an x into the page that you just glued down.
9. Take each of the four sections you just created and glue them down into the recessed region.
10. Adhere your clasp. 11. Pat yourself on the back. You now have a fancy upcycled clutch.
BEHIND THE WARDROBE: TWO HEARTS By Caroline Bologna
“At a prestigious dance academy, the young and persevering Vesper just can’t seem to catch a break in the hostile, chic environment. Things seem at their worst when director Byron and his lackey Michael won’t even give her the time of day. However, things take an unexpected turn when she finds an abandoned and comatose Gabriel. Vesper and her high strung roommate, Eliza, soon find themselves caught in the middle of something much more mysterious and impending as they are drawn into the unseen world of the two-hearted, the good, and the evil.”
pring of 2012 promises to be a film season packed with many exciting projects in the wardrobe world. Amongst these is Brown’s very own student film, Two Hearts. Directed by senior Calvin Main, the new BTV movie is a tale of ethics, ambition, and acceptance set against an Upper East Side-esque background. As the film’s Facebook page categorizes it in the genre of “Transcendent Drama,” it is clear that Two Hearts is both a product and source of refreshing inspiration. For this month’s Behind the Wardrobe feature, I had the rare opportunity to actually interview the costume designer. Dorothy Thurston ‘13.5, who also wrote the screenplay for Two Hearts, was kind enough to answer a few questions about her wardrobe designs for the film and the costuming process in general. What has been your previous experience with costuming and fashion in general? How did you first get interested in costume design? My experience in designing costuming for specific characters came from an obsession with Japanese animated shows. There is a practice associated with Japanese animation called “cosplay” (short for costume play) in which fans dress up as popular characters. There are two schools of cosplay; some believe that costumes should be exact replicas of the outfits featured in the animation, and others allow free range to create outfits that the characters might wear. I was more interested in the latter, not only because I was interested in creating my own designs, but because it was challenging to create an ensemble based off of the character’s actions and attitude. What was your design aesthetic for the movie? Did you have any particular inspirations? Do the wardrobes enhance characterization? Much of my inspiration for the costuming came from flipping through Saks Fifth Avenue styles, and from watching my personal guilty pleasure Gossip Girl. Clothing changes how others act towards us, how we think of ourselves, and also how we act physically, by restricting our movement in ways. One of my goals for the costuming was to pick outfits that made the actors feel emotionally and physically more like the characters, and that would simulta-
neously encourage their scene partners to see them as the characters. The main character of this movie is a transplant into this world and doesn’t feel like she truly fits. Her costuming is much less flashy and expensive in comparison to the characters that she interacts with. The director of this movie is very attuned to visual picture, and the two of us are very passionate about color and its emotional implications. Many of the characters go through color transition across their outfits as the film progresses and their character changes emotionally. How did you acquire all of the pieces? How many costumes did you have to put together? I started with a bunch of brightly-colored fitted coats, print dresses, intricate earrings, and preppy headbands. I’m a big fan of vests, collared shirts, nice slacks, and ties on men. I had a fantastic time putting together the male character’s outfits and picking out matching scarves and accessories (although constantly having to iron their costumes during production was less thrilling). The costumes from Two Hearts were purchased from thrift stores, Target, and supplemented with accessories from Claire’s…There are a bunch of main characters that needed from five to seven outfits and coordinated accessories. I did one-on-one costume fittings for each of the main actors at the beginning of the semester. It was important to me to see how the actor moved and felt in the costume. Each time they tried on an ensemble I waited to see if they thought that they looked good in it. I wanted the costumes to empower the actors to be proud and excited to wear the clothing. Were there any particular challenges or more difficult costumes to create? Costuming for movies is particularly difficult because you have to watch for continuity errors. If a character is going to be seen in a costume more than once it is a good idea to make sure that you have multiple copies of each important item just incase something gets wrecked or lost in transit from set. Generally I am wary of borrowing costume items because accidents happen on set, and this movie has a bunch of action scenes and fake blood work. Also if it isn’t on my costume rack, I have no control over it. We often film out of order for scheduling locations purposes. For one of the first scenes we used a tank top that was owned by one of
the actresses. When we started to film the consecutive scene we couldn’t find the tank top. We had to think up a quick fix by covering her more with a towel that had been around her shoulders in the previous scene, and by shooting around it. Another one of the great challenges of costuming for this movie was the weather in Providence. We’ve been filming all semester and weather has transitioned from winter to warmer weather and now into rain. Actors have had to wear Tshirts in a freezing downpour, or a three-piece suit and a scarf on a hot, sunny day. One trick that I have learned is to give the characters a purse or bag, so that they can take a layer off and put it away during a scene. This way the actor doesn’t have to spend five hours of filming sweating immensely if in the previous scene they had been wearing a long-coat. Every now and then during production we purposefully tried to keep actors extra warm or cool if the director wanted to character to be uncomfortable or shaken. Did the actors use their own clothes? Because there are over 40 actors in this film, some of the extras used pieces from their own closet. I coordinated ahead of time with these actors via email and gave them a list of acceptable clothing colors and styles. They brought a selection of clothing with them to set and we would put together outfits on the fly depending on how the group of extra’s looked together. It is important to make sure that the background actors are wearing cohesive outfits, and nothing eye grabbing, so that they fit the tone of the scene and location. When costuming for a movie you have to be careful with stripes, fabric choices, and certain prints because they “zebra” and blur in a strange way when viewed on screen. Also, you can’t use anything with a logo on it for legal reasons. In summing up her extensive work on Two Hearts, Thurston spoke optimistically. “It’s been an amazing experience working with the actors and director to overcome these challenges and see this movie come to life.” I think I can speak for many Brown students when I say that I am very excited to see the fruits of her labor and the rest of what BTV has to offer. photos courtesy of BTV’s Two Hearts
photo by Erin Schwartz
by Michelle Frea
photo via Cassie Packard
’ve had the privilege of getting to know Cassie Packard and can say with conviction that she is truly one of the most multifaceted people that I know. A junior from San Francisco, Cassie is concentrating in art history and hopes to work in a museum after graduation. When I first met Cassie last year I thought she was a total hipster, but Spring Weekend changed that perception. Cassie substituted her artsy persona to transform into the ultimate frat star—clad in a bro tank and headband, even with a sippy cup in hand. It was after this encounter that I realized that I couldn’t label Cassie Packard as one specific “type” of person. Yes, she is obsessed with post-modern photography, but she also loves to get fratty and reminisce about the warm California sunshine. Last semester Cassie studied in Paris, further influencing her style. As a result, she frequently wears solids, layers, and polished accessories, reflecting her sophisticated fashion tastes. I sat down with her to hear more about the
ways in which her life’s experiences have impacted her chic, trendy attire. Who is your style icon? I would say Garance Doré or Brigitte Bardot. What is currently your favorite article of clothing? The watch my dad gave my mom for their anniversary. It’s vintage Cartier and holds a lot of sentimental value for me. How has living in France influenced your style? Well when I was there I definitely dressed pretty French… it’s a lot of fun and every season they have one or two colors that are the colors of the season. When I was there in the fall it was camel and orange-red…like poppy. And the French think Americans show too much skin. I have some French girlfriends who dress so cute in blazers and booties…people don’t really dress like that here.
Are there specific aspects of French style that you particularly like? French jeans are cropped a bit above the ankle, which is a very flattering point. Here in America, we have more individualism in style. In Paris, there would be a few trends that everyone would follow, but here you see different things.
when I’m old and have a house with, like, gourmet butters. [Laughs] What are your plans for this summer? I’m working at the Guggenheim in New York as a PR/Media intern. It’s my dream job!
What’s your favorite current trend? Where can you be found the most on campus? The glittery Miu Miu booties. Those are really fun. If you Campus Market. Everyday I go there to get Luna bars and I were wearing those shoes you could not have a boring night! also check to see if they have yogurt covered strawberries— they’re Welch’s brand. Is there a current trend that you particularly hate? Ah there are so many I can’t even pick one! Probably when SciLi or Rock? people are super boring with their style. I guess that’s not Rock obviously. The ambience of the Rock is just great, really a trend though. [Laughs] whereas the SciLi is like a cold prison. Where is your favorite place in the world? I spent a summer in the south of France when I was in high school and loved the lavender fields in Aix-en-Provence. I’m obsessed with the south of France and want to live there
Cassie Packard is both witty and candid, and her style reflects her hip personality. Interviewing Cassie furthered my belief that she is an avant-garde individual with a passion for art, fashion, and, quite simply, life itself.
PRESIDENT RUTH SIMMONS
a tribute to Brownâ€™s number one fashion icon by Anisa Khanmohamed
My first true introduction to the venerable Ruth Simmons occurred at last year’s Third World Welcome dinner when I was still a mere pre-frosh. I remember how wowed we youngsters felt to see her in the same room as us, taking the time out of her immensely busy schedule to personally welcome us to Brown. It was certainly humbling, as was her welcoming speech to us the next day at the beginning of ADOCH in which she emphasized the values of global citizenry and the commitment to serving others that we must cultivate throughout our lives. I was inspired and in awe, to say the least, and it quickly grew clear to me that yes, this was clearly the school that would become home for the next few years. Brown’s student culture definitely involves a whole lot of Ruth lovin’, but this love can easily be pushed farther into the realm of fashion. How about looking to President Simmons not only as a terrific model for kindness, dedication, personality, and charm, but also for style? As college students often (and rather unfortunately) commit to the cult of the casual when it comes to our own clothing-related choices, we may be dismissive of the ever-formal, everproper garb worn by a university president, even when she is our very own Ruth. However, there is a lot to be said and learned from the creative ways in which President Simmons works around the uniformity of dress expected of someone in her position. These are lessons that can be of great help to everyone’s wardrobe. For instance, have you ever noticed President Sim-
mons’ glasses? Their tortoiseshell frames, slightly squared shape, and gold accents are far from banal. Another notable aspect of Ruth’s style is her adeptness for accessorizing. From the understated elegance of small, wide hoop earrings to the timelessness of a strand (or two, or a few!) of pearls, it is evident that she knows how to communicate a sense of herself through these seemingly minute stylistic choices. She also knows when the other details of her outfit, such as the intricate collar of a suit top or a loosely tied, floral print scarf should take center stage, and she adjusts her choice of jewelry accordingly. Oh, and let’s not forget her excellent command of color, print, and texture! Our president doesn’t limit herself to a daily grind of black or navy blue standard suits. Even though yours or my idea of an everyday outfit might be far removed from the suit camp, we can still take away an important message from Ruth’s fashion: one should not conform to any prescribed notion of a “uniform.” President Simmons’ fantastic fashion sense include a commitment to boldness and reaching out of the “conventional box,” an awareness and addressing of the power held by every piece of clothing (no matter how small), and a firm sense of individuality. These lessons can certainly transcend concerns for one’s external adornments, and any current student here will most likely agree that these themes have been essential to Ruth’s message to us as we continue to grow at Brown. Ruth, thank you for all you have done for Brown!
Class year: 2014 From: NJ Concentration: MCM track 2 and Visual Art
Why are you an artist? How did you become involved in art? Because I can’t help doodling everywhere. I got involved in art because I was jealous of these kids in my preschool class and I wanted to be better than them. What inspires you? Wayne Thiebaud’s cityscapes, Katamari Damacy, weird abandoned structures, comics, cute things. What medium do you normally work in? Oil paint because I like the smell and pencils because they’re the easiest and most intuitive. Do you have a favorite artist? I can’t pick a single favorite but I really really really like Kate Beaton.
Does your expressiveness play a role in the way you dress or “your look”? Yep. I love bright colors and clashing patterns both in art and in personal style. How has being at Brown affected you creatively? I love the freedom that the Visual Arts instructors here give, and I’ve been able to try out a lot of new media and different styles. Plus, there are so many creative outlets here that I always feel motivated to make more stuff. Also, being so close to RISD lets me see a more technically-oriented, preprofessional approach to art, and the contrast is kind of enlightening. What does your creative process involve? A lot of the time, I get ideas from misinterpreting things I see and thinking they’re something that they’re not. So I guess my creative process involves a lot of misunderstanding and being wrong. Also, I doodle a lot in a sketchbook.
Banana Oil on canvas. “It’s meant to refer to Gravity’s Rainbow but you can make of it what you will.”
Dinosaur Oil on canvas â€œI wanted to paint something comforting.â€?
Street Style Done in Adobe Photoshop. â€œI wanted to depict some version of current street style trends but it ended up being weird.â€?
Clock Graphite on paper
ARLANDO BATTLE Class year: 2012 From: Jacksonville, FL Concentration: Visual Arts
Why are you an artist? How did you become involved in art? In elementary school one of my teachers had me enlarge logos by hand. I was really good. When I came to Brown I explored contemporary art, semiotics, computer science, and the politics of art. What inspires you? I am inspired by human expression, originality, and Manga.
how Harry Potter exists in a book, exists as a toy, and exists in a movie and one’s relationship with the different mediums, I am exploring the places in between those modes of existence. Lately I have been creating videos, as videos can be cleaner to make and easier to edit. However videos require a lot of planning. Overall I am always sketching out my ideas and looking for things.
Do you have a favorite artist? I do not have one favorite artists, but I admire Street ArtWhat medium do you normally work in? ists and artists with a Design or Science like sensibility. My I do not favor any one medium. I make paintings, sculp- favorite artists lately have been KAWS and Keith Haring. tures, videos, gifs, photographs, sounds, websites, performances, fashion, and I create gesamtkunstwerks. I explore Does your expressiveness play a role in the way you dress how mediums may inform one another and how mediums or “your look”? are interacted with. I create grand narratives which requires Not really. I hate buying clothes. When I shop I usually my work to exist in different mediums. If ones thinks about know exactly what I want, how it should feel, and I am not
interested in trends. I am quite picky and I wonâ€™t buy something if a criteria is lacking too much. Now I tend to wear all black or grays and stripes and every once in a while I will wear a lot of colors. If my expressiveness plays a role in my look, its created a multidisciplinary aesthetic.
I started to burn out with Computer Science so I took the knowledge from my Computer Science experience and used them into my Art to create websites. I took courses like Hybrid Art, Silkscreen, MCM, and a RISD fashion course. These courses developed my analytical and creative sensibilities and opened my eyes to the art world. As a senior I feel that I have gained a lot of insight and intuition that would be impossible to develop at any other University.
How has being at Brown affected you creatively? Brown has been amazing! I came in with a narrow classical outlook on what art was and what it wasnâ€™t. I was going to concentrate in Computer Science so I took a few Computer What does your creative process involve? Science courses. This experience made me realize that it Keeping everything on order: sketching, conceptualizatakes a lot of time and iterations to build something great. tion, conversations, research, sharing, and stealing.
Doba Mixed Media on Canvas
Grand Narrative Oil on Canvas
John Michel Photograph
John Michel 2 Photograph
Moma Reigns Granoff Digital Print
You Will Not Be Digital Print see more of Arlandoâ€™s work at arlando.net
BROWN FASHION SHOW
the designers Unhemmed goes behind the scenes of Fashion@Brownâ€™s second annual Brown Fashion Show, held in the Granoff Center on Thursday, April 26th. Organized by an amazing team of student coordinators, featuring student designers and models, and with the help of an outstanding team of student hair stylists and makeup artists, the Brown Fashion Show is truly an mustsee event. The level of talent, diversity of aesthetic and skill level, and quality of spectacle that culminates on this night makes this new annual event something to look forward to year after year, hopefully for a long time. Our editors and writers get to know each of the fifteen designers to learn what it takes to create a collection. From creative inspirations to surprising challenges, get a more detailed and personalized picture than what flashed by on the runway.
photos by Mariya Bashkatova, Dan Fethke, Sally Luu, Erin Schwartz, and Carolyn Shasha
ALEXANDRA NUTTBROWN by April Zhang
Alexandra Nuttbrown ‘14.5, an English concentrator from Los Altos, CA, designed a gorgeous blackand-cream floor-length gown for the show. Alexandra played with the contrast of black and cream instead of the expected black and white to create “something dramatic, yet elegant.”
and Zadig et Voltaire watches. My equestrian sensibility was formed by years spent horse riding in France, and now at Brown.
How did you get into fashion design? I grew up in my mom’s sewing room, ensconced in a chaotic sea of fabrics, and exposed to two very stylish Describe your personal style/fashion philosophy. aunts working in the fashion and art worlds. My mom As you can probably guess from my dress, I love clean sent me to sewing classes at the ripe old age of seven, lines, simplicity, and elegance. I favor neutral colors like and I started sewing pillows, teddy bears, bags, and other navy, black, grey, and oatmeal. It’s rare for me to wear ac- crafty stuff. Later I became more interested in apparel, tual colors, other than the occasional turquoise. My aes- becoming more conscious of how I myself, and those thetic is androgynous, garçon manqué – blazers, slacks, around me expressed themselves through their clothing. cable knits, black leather equestrian boots, and beat up I started making a casual turquoise jersey dress years ago, brown leather satchels. I suppose living in France for but never completed it. This show was my first real stab middle and High School has influenced my fashion aes- at fashion design. thetic. I was surrounded by chic women in aviators and well-dressed men, students smoking at the gates of my What was the design process like? High School in leather boots, satchels from the market, I started out with the intention of creating something
elegant, couture, and dramatic. I sketched out several designs before coming to my final one, including a medieval red dress with a structured fluffy white collar! The design evolved as I worked on it. The focus of the dress was to line everything up correctly, including the bi-colored strap in back, to create the sense of duality and contrast. How did you feel during the show? I expected the show to be a lot more stressful than it ended up being. We did several run-throughs the days before, and though make-up and hair was rather chaotic, it all worked out smoothly. It turns out fashion shows really are as easy as walking down the runway in designer clothes. Then again, the coordinators and hair and make-up help were godsends, catering to us needy designers! What was the best part of the night? The highlight of the show was seeing my friends afterwards and hearing their impressions of my dress. I havenâ€™t really shared my creative side with anyone so it was cool to finally expose that part of my self and see that people reacted positively!
VICTOR HA by Liliana Sykes
The regular fashionista on Brown’s campus knows Victor Ha ‘15. Even as a freshman, Victor has solidified his position as a rising star in the fashion world. Personally knowing the designer, I always try to look my best when I see him. His approval of whatever I am wearing is the ultimate compliment. The night of the interview Victor entered my dorm room looking effortlessly stylish, as per usual. He rocked a black v-neck sweater underneath a beige cocoon sweater with three quarter length sleeves. The look was finished off with black skinny jeans, graphic gray Toms, and a black crossbody bag with caramel accents. And of course, his perfectly coiffed black hair was precisely parted to the side. My “studying clothes” seemed to pale in comparison to his stylish outfit. With the fashion show just ending, he and I had a lot to talk about. Victor gives insight to life, fashion, and what everyone should think about in order to amp up their style. How did you get your start in designing? I’ve been sketching since I was young, but I just started
sewing last semester in Ian Gonsher’s engineering class, which was really fun and great! Fashion was something I was always interested in but never pursued in high school. There weren’t as many opportunities, which is why I guess I never learned to sew! But I’ve always been interested and have always read Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. You could definitely see your love for fashion in your latest collection. How did it feel to see your designs in a show? It was so amazing. Though we couldn’t see the whole show from where we were standing, it was so incredible to see your vision coming to life. Where did you draw your inspiration for this line? I think where I like to start is with colors. I value simplicity and cleanliness, and I get there through color and form. As far as inspiration, I could say I was inspired by churches (what with the color scheme and all), but that really wasn’t what the clothes were about. I feel like that’s
a little bullshit to me. I was really about clean red and white. Well, we loved the red and white! Can you describe your collection in your own words? Romantic, but for the modern woman. That’s what I like to think. Can you describe your personal style in a few words? I like to play around. I think that’s my personal style, just because I don’t have one specific style. Sometimes I’m in all black like today, or sometimes I’m a little preppy boy in baby white shorts and a polo. What’s your favorite trend right now? I usually don’t like to pay attention to trends, which I think sounds kind of “uppity,” but I promise you it’s not! For me, it’s not about going with the crowd but with what appeals to you. But if I had to pick a trend of the moment that I thought was really nice, I’d say the high-low skirt. What is the next thing you are dying to buy? Brandy Melville button downs that tie above the midriff. They’re just so cute for summer. I need three in different colors ASAP! What style tip would you give someone? Go outside of your comfort zone. I think it’s important to play around. If you’re really into one thing, you run the risk of pigeon-holing yourself, and that’s when you lose the fun of dressing up.
At first glance, Austin Snyder ‘13 appears to be a typical Brown student: stylish, intellectual, a history and visual art concentrator who runs for Varsity Cross Country and Track. He’s probably that guy you waited behind in the Blue Room, off to grab a sandwich before running off to work in List Art Center. Underneath that spiky red hair and calm demeanor lays a talented designer we should all be keeping our eyes on. Before Austin sketched clothes, he sketched cars—lots of them. He was fascinated by the structure and silhouette, how a form enveloped and protected the body. It was only natural that Austin progressed from cars to clothing. After all, they both perform the same goal—protecting the wearer from harm as he goes about his day-to-day. Soon, Austin was hooked and the summer after his freshman year at Brown, took a design class at RISD and never looked back. Since then, Austin has taken 6 more classes at RISD and developed an architectural, streamlined aesthetic. His current collection strays from his penchant for structure. Austin’s knitwear collection is still cut close to the body but expresses what Austin describes as an “I don’t give a fuck attitude of post punk rock-and-roll of by Catherine Gao
80s and 90s mixed with Uzbekistan inspiration.” Austin was drawn to a small town in Uzbekistan called Kiva that has maintained its way of life for hundreds of years, a time capsule in a rapidly evolving modern world. Austin draws inspiration from history and likens building a collection to building an essay. Austin describes his methodological approach as “breaking down history to find degrees of separation.” In the summer of 2011, Austin visited Bosnia to study conflict resolution and human rights in Bosnia and his experience there informed the mood of his current collection. The dark makeup, slightly disheveled hair, and combat boots all serve to create and somber, but not “completely destitute” atmosphere. Austin created his collection for an independent study on machine knitting, a time-consuming process involving a manual machine. Austin apologized because he had “given up on any kind of social life” and he has literally “worked himself into the ground.” Nevertheless, Austin was happy with how smooth the show went and that “people are seeing just how much mental and physical work [he] put into creating this collection.”
by Anisa Khanmohamed
Fahmina Ahmed, a junior from New York concentrating in visual art and architecture, is the creative mastermind behind the stand-out ensembles constructed from zip ties and MetroCards. In addition to designing for f@b, she works for BuDS and Clerestory, and volunteers through Brown Arts Mentoring. During my interview with her, she provided some fascinating insight into what her personal process as a designer is like, and on her progressive views of the fashion world at large. How did you first get into fashion design? I’ve been making my own clothes since I was like fourteen, but they weren’t related to “design.” I didn’t like the way things off the rack fit me. I was between sizes and I just wasn’t satisfied by it. Also it was really expensive, so I started just making stuff. I study architecture so design
is something I started studying in college and it kind of came together through the fashion show—the two parts, me as a seamstress and me as a designer. What was the process of designing for this year’s show like? As an artist I like to find materials that inspire me and then figure out ways to aggregate them into larger structural forms. So for Fashion at Brown, I thought of these pieces as autobiographies—I have made clothes my entire life, mostly because I didn’t like the way clothes fitted my body...I’ve had scoliosis and felt like my body was always a little crooked because of that, and also...I was usually like a size two in the waist and a four or six in my hips. I just didn’t like the way things fit me so
I just started sewing and the pieces for the show took those two elements of me. I used found object materials—zip ties, which I tried to repurpose...and MetroCards, which are something I grew up [with] in New York and I touched every single day and I thought it would be cool to try to break up the pattern of the MetroCard and repurpose it in some kind of way. MetroCard shells always reminded me of beetles, the way they’re kind of hard and crunchy, and the graphic patterns are like beetle shells and that’s how I came up with the silhouette of the dress, which is a bulbous form, almost like a beetle spreading its wings and it has really graphic patterns. On the other hand, the zip ties are about the asymmetry of my body and the emphasis of silhouette. How or when did you make that move, from feeling uncomfortable with certain aspects of your body to beginning to embrace it? Well, I think part of the fashion world is having very linear models that almost look like coat hangers, and I tried to work with the female body rather than have the garment itself be sort of an entity that exists outside of the female body. I actually don’t use a mannequin, I use a duct tape mannequin that I made off of my own body, so all those dresses actually fit me. The silhouettes I created kind of exaggerate the hip-waist ratio of the female form. I think most of my dresses try to work with the hourglass nature of the female body and treating it as its own sculptural form. I was interested in the way the bustle would move with the girl swaying her hips. And in the other piece the zip ties were meant to sit right at the hips, to create visual emphasis, which I think is very feminine. How did you go about collecting all those MetroCards? Oh my god [laughs]. I walked around really crowded subway stations and I would wear latex gloves so I wouldn’t have to touch them and picked them up, literally picked them up off the floor and I got around a thousand of them. And then I’d take them home and they were gross so I’d bleach them and then washed them and then I cut them into thirds to break them up graphically. I cut the black strip off, and then, the remainder of the MetroCard I cut the part that was mostly blue and then a part that was mostly yellow, so that I’d have three graphics to create different arrays.
Is there anything else you’d like to add about your ideas on fashion—current trends you’ve noticed that interest you, or anything like that? I guess I am a fashion designer because I make clothes but I’ve never considered myself tuned into the world of fashion. I respect my peers immensely, but I think the overall world of fashion needs a big wakeup call in terms of purporting unrealistic ideals. I feel like I exist a little bit outside of that, because my stuff isn’t expensive. I don’t even use fabric often. I mostly use cheap fabric as an underpinning and then cover it with found object art.
SOFIA RUIZ by April Zhang
Sofia Ruiz ‘14 designs to make a difference. A double concentrator in developmental studies and visual art, Sofia calls both Mexico City and San Diego home. Instead of sewing a collection in the traditional sense, Sofia designed graphic print t-shirts and tanks for her non-profit organization, Hands for Latin America. Sofia made sure to find a factory in Latin America that hires local, has no child labor, and has good working conditions to produce her clothing. Thus, her project is self-sustaining: profits from t-shirt sales directly benefit children in Latin America, while manufacturing the shirts creates jobs for people in need with fair pay and safe work environments. She explains, “My non-profit organization not only tries to reduce child poverty, but it also attempts to create a solution to the cyclic problems poverty creates.” A truly inspiring endeavor, Sofia shows us that fashion can empower us to change the world. Can you tell us more about Hands for Latin America? Hands For Latin America is a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide basic humanitarian needs to children in Latin America, including food, water, shelter, clothing and healthcare through the sale of one of a kind fashion. I hope one day to expand my line of products to create a one-of-a-kind fashion line dedicated to helping our world. Tell us more about your collection. My collection is a line of graphic t-shirts, designed for my non-profit organization called Hands For Latin America. The crux of the line is my logo, which if you look closely is a map of Latin America within the palm of the hand. My collection’s purpose is to show that fashion can make a difference. Was there anything significant about the styling of the models? The styling for the show was done specifically to demonstrate the versatility of my t-shirts. I wanted to make
clear that my t-shirts can be worn in a variety of contexts, not just with jeans. How did you conceive of your idea for the logo design? I’ve always been obsessed with hands, as a part of the human body... I find them to be incredibly beautiful, and a part of the body that tells an individual’s story in the way they are used or the way they look. A hand is a part of the body in constant contact with our world. I wanted to have my organization’s name include the word hand and for my designs to have hands. Describe your personal style/fashion philosophy. I would describe my style as eclectic. I don’t really believe in following trends, or seasonal mandates. I approach dressing almost as like wearing a costume.. who do I want to be today, my clothes reflect my mood. I would identify Carrie Bradshaw’s style as most similar to mine. It’s a bit costume-y. How did you get into fashion design? I’ve always been obsessed with clothes, designers, magazines, styling, and fashion photography and I knew I wanted to immerse myself in the fashion industry one way or another. At the same time, I’ve always been interested in humanitarian aid and community service, so I wanted to ideate a way to combine both. I always thought that something so crucial in our lives as fashion could be transformed into a vehicle for change in our world, which is when my designing career began and how Hands For Latin America came into conception. What was your experience during the show? My experience of being in a fashion show was amazing. Before and during the show all I can describe is anxiety and adrenaline. After the show, I was absolutely thrilled; my models looked great and the response I got from people was beautiful.
Please visit www.HandsForLatinAmerica.org for more information about Sofia’s non-profit organization and how you can contribute to her cause!
LUCY FELDMAN by April Zhang
An English concentrator from Portland, Oregon, Lucy Feldman ‘14 is not only a fashion@brown designer, but also a coordinator. How she managed to organize the show while putting together a collection is unbelievable, especially considering the success of both the show and her earthy, fairy-like collection. How would you describe your collection? I refer to this as a “woodland fairy” lingerie look, but one of the great things about the show atmosphere was getting feedback from other designers –– I heard “Adam and Eve” a few times and “Grecian” at least once. I feel like twine and chiffon are a somewhat unconventional materials combination, but I wanted to emphasize the tops while still pulling together a complete look. What’s your fashion philosophy? The fashion@brown coordinators had a conversation with a couple industry members yesterday that made me think about this. While I wouldn’t consider myself a particularly “fashionable” person, I think something that comes out of working with fashion@brown in coordinating and planning fashion week is a greater appreciation for the substance of fashion –– it’s a set of external aesthetic choices that can’t help but reflect something about an interior.
How did this collection come to be from start to finish? What started as a roll of ugly hardware store twine became a pile of braids, which ultimately became the green bra-top. The road to the two completed pieces was very design-as-you-go, hands-on learning, as I have no training beyond basic sewing skills. My models were very patient and let me pin and unpin and repin and unpin again over and over. What was the highlight of the show? Was their any backstage drama or stressful moment? Because I’ve been working on the planning of the show since the fall semester, I think every moment of the show was a highlight! How cheesy. It was definitely difficult managing everyone’s goals and questions backstage in the hair and makeup room, and I did have an OH NO moment when I realized almost everyone was done with hair and makeup except for my models, one of whom was still wearing the sweats she came in. But we had such a great team of artists I think everything came together beautifully.
NAOMI JACOBS by April Zhang
Naomi Jacobs, who will be graduating with a Masterâ€™s Degree in Urban Education Policy this spring, has always had a passion for fashion and drawing. Originally from Baltimore, Naomi got more involved in the world of fashion when she modeled for the Fashion Design Club at the University of Virginia, her alma mater. On her 21st birthday, she was given a sewing machine, and her fashion design career officially took off. How would you describe your collection? My current collection showcases clothes with clean lines and solid patterns. The goal is to create pieces that are stylish, yet comfortable and versatile for young professionals. This concept was also reflected in the minimalist accessories, hair, and makeup for the runway show. Describe your design and sewing process. I take my inspiration from existing outfits and tailor ideas to create updated looks and flattering shapes for women with similar sizes to my own. Since I am always trying to expand my skill set, I decided to use partial patterns for the first time in order to learn how to incorporate invisible zippers and pockets. The pants zipper was definitely a challenge. Not only is ensuring no ripples extremely difficult, a few hours before the runway show the slide broke, forcing a last minute trip to Joann Fabrics and frantic sewing. I even enlisted the help of my mom during the crisis!
MATT HILL by Taryn Riemer
San Francisco native Matt Hill ‘15 is one of Brown’s newest fashion forces. From his first foray into the design world, which involved sewing a dress by hand from couch upholstery, Matt has since elevated to the world of high fashion. His newest ‘60s inspired collection show at Brown Fashion Week is an edgier take on the classic early-‘60s look that would have any Mad Men fan lining up outside his door. From his creative process to his slightly embarrassing muse, Matt shared the secrets behind his collection. How did you get started as a designer? I was encouraged by a friend’s mom to take classes at Academy of Art in San Francisco during the summer and it ended up being so awesome that I went with it. My first dress was actually made out of couch upholstery and I made it entirely by hand. Because the fabric was so thick, I kept pricking myself with the needle but I finished that dress and it looked amazing. Tell me a little about your aesthetic as a designer. There are a few things that interest me most: above all, experimentation with texture, color and silhouette. My style is always changing. What inspired your collection for the upcoming f@b show? The inspiration is grounded in the ‘60s. In the last Wall Street Journal Art issue, they had an amazing ‘60s-inspired shoot that took place in Pasadena and seeing it really shaped my collection. Also, Prada’s recent super 60’s collection served as an inspiration. She has prints of really bedazzled cars, and when it goes from runway to street wear it looks really badass yet sophisticated. That’s what I want.
What is your creative process like? When I’m most inspired I’m usually listening to music and the ideas come from that. They’re always really sudden and not very composed, but I can later put the ideas together into something more cohesive. I also like to get my ideas down in writing or with simple sketched. If I’m going to bring something to full execution, I’ll usually make an artistic sketch and then progress to draping and eventually construction. My main hurdle is mustering up the discipline and focus to bring something to fruition. Who are your favorite designers/style icons? Which designer has been a point of reference for you? Prada in this case was definitely a source of inspiration, but designers I most admire would include Alexander McQueen, Marc Jacobs, and Dries Van Noten. If you could design an outfit for anyone, living or dead, who exemplifies your design aesthetic, who would it be? There was definitely a bit of a muse for this collection…I’m a little embarrassed to say this but its Lana Del Ray. Her music was definitely a source of inspiration throughout the project. She has this vintage aesthetic, and I think my clothes would be sick on her. How do you want people to feel in your clothes? Sexy! It seems obvious but designers often view clothes intellectually, or as an art form or a form of expression, but I’m focused on having people feel good in what they’re wearing. I want my clothes to above all be aesthetically pleasing. What is an item every woman should have in her wardrobe that can elevate her style? Jack Purcell for Converse shoes. They’re so versatile; you can wear them with anything. What is your must have item for spring? Definitely Persol shades. I want a pair so badly; I would just feel so chic!
JULIAN EZENWA by April Zhang
An economics concentrator from Lagos, Nigeria, Julian Ezenwa ‘14 designed a gorgeous and impeccably constructed collection, which featured beautiful textiles, playful shapes, and included both menswear and womenswear. It was a seriously impressive collection with plenty of personality. Tell us about your collection. My collection is themed around culture and colonialism and the conglomerate of so many different aspects and ideas it represents. It is an homage to my alter-ego Levi Fenty, a bad boy from London. I decided to use “African fabrics,” (Ankara) which actually were originally Indonesian fabrics but were sold to African colonies by Dutch traders. Most aspects of the design and aesthetic were inspired by some of Levi’s favorite things: Lace, Pompadours, and Red lipstick.
How would you define your pseronal style? I went to boarding school since I was 11, and have been wearing school uniforms daily probably since I was 6. So Brown has been my initial contact with personal style. I have found that my tastes evolve constantly, although after interning in Paris last summer I can’t help but have an addiction to trench coats and scarves. I tend to match my tones to the weather, when it’s dreary I tend to wear loud colors and sometimes will stroll in my turquoise jeans. During the summer, I bring out my straw fedora and linen shorts. How did you get into fashion design? The first time I designed was during the Brown visual art program in Pont Aven, France. I literally took paper and wire, and started mending it into a dress, it did turn out looking like a lamp though. I think fashion design
is very similar to writing poetry, blank pages are scary but if you let yourself be vulnerable it’s delightful. What was your design process? I ordered the fabrics from Lagos, and started designing once I got them. Out of every design I brought to life there were probably another ten designs I threw in the bin. What was the hardest part of the design/sewing process? I found that designing clothes for men was much more difficult than it was for designing women’s. I think there’s more room to standout if you design for men because it is traditionally more rigid. How did you feel during the show? It’s very different seeing your designs hung up in a closet than having five gorgeous people wear them (Shout out to Serena, Celline, Clarence, Linda, and Jared!). I thoroughly enjoyed being consulted about every single aspect of my models’ hair and makeup, things I hadn’t previously thought about. A quick glance at google images and a reply “make her look like that,” solved the problem.
MJ BATSON by Madeleine Luckel
At Brown’s 2nd Annual Fashion Show, MJ Batson, the Unhemmed co-editor-in-chief, showed a collection that possessed her signature confidence and sophistication. MJ’s collection last year demonstrated her affinity for bright hues, memorably styled with balloons and face paint. While this visual pop showed up on the runway again last week, the contrast of her printed designs with white fabric allowed her palette and handiwork to stand out even more. Her silhouettes demonstrated a wide range, from a mini with a gathered hem, to a dramatic floor length number. The cut-out detailing on the back of one piece and tailored waists evidenced a worthwhile attention to detail and high skill level. MJ, a visual arts concentrator, is currently abroad in London. She cited her new location, or “concrete jungle,” as an indirect inspiration. MJ misses nature, and is used to being surrounded by greenery in her native South and rainy Providence. She says, “I started to play around with the idea of taking back the winter by creating my own trees. It’s ironic because the prints are different variations of branches…so in a way the trees are still dead....” All of her fabric, originally ivory, was printed by hand - an especially large undertaking. Having such an integral role in the process from its beginning, was both more feasible and gratifying for MJ as an artist.
While MJ’s vision, to “show the tension between what really does and doesn’t exist” was successfully executed; she does add that not being able to completely realize her vision is always stressful. Creating a collection while in school is difficult enough, not to mention being across the Atlantic from the situation on campus. MJ says the logistics - coordinating with models and members of the Fashion@Brown team, and planning the timing of shipments were among her greatest challenges. She adds, “I am, or better yet was, infamous for not properly finishing…but being in London was a challenge because I wasn’t able to do any fittings. It was mortifying to think that after doing all this work there was a possibility that the garments [wouldn’t] fit.” MJ gave special thanks to Jake Karr, her personal coordinator the night of the show, and photographer Derrick Tsang - loyal friends whose on campus help was essential to her success. Of Jake, MJ reflected, “I found it very flattering that he walked with my girls at the end of the second show. Second to me, he’s my next biggest critic.” She concludes, “So all in all this show was stressful on a whole new level, but I did it in order to challenge myself…I am very happy that it went as well as it did. I had great models, great friends and a very patient John White.”
VIVIAN CARLSON by Audrey Cho
A blonde ballerina figure with a simply wonderful floral patterned skirt waves to me from afar. After slyly envying her white denim jacket, I rise to meet Vivi Carlson, the sophomore designer and Unhemmed Fashion co-editor from Denver, Colorado. In fact, until her back injury at age 16, Vivian was a classically trained ballerina. Lucky for us, the avid audience of all things fashion, she’s started designing and creating artwork more regularly since then. Vivian’s interest in fashion started quite early when she designed her first gala dress with local Denver designer, Gabriel Conroy, at age 12. Donning a navy blue floor length gown with a sweetheart neckline and ornate metallic lace train (remember, she is only 12 years old at this moment!), the fashionable young girl made headlines in the local paper. “It was fun!” She says, “ And it started a tradition of designing dresses specifically for this event.” Conroy, who makes custom ensembles for many of Carlson’s mother’s friends, became her mentor. Vivian worked with Conroy during her junior and senior years of high school, learning croquis, fashion figure drawing, and much more. “I really have him to thank…” Vivian says, “[He is] my inspiration, my guidance... he’s always encouraged me to keep experimenting on my own.” Apart from Conroy, Vivian finds inspiration in ballet, pastels, and the fabrics themselves. A nod back to her dancing days, ballet gives Vivian a trained eye: “I focus on the line and fit [of the] fabric.” Her collection for this year revolves around pastels, staying true to this palette. Last year, as a freshman, Vivian created a whimsical, modern-day princess look. Vivian’s pieces this year are inspired by batik prints matched with pretty chiffons that glide with effortless grace on the runway. Presenting two dresses and a top and bottom look, Vivian even modeled one of her own dresses. She laughs as she tells me after, “I almost tripped during the first show!” At the 9 pm show, however, Vivian’s runway is perfect. In fact, at the end of
the show, Vivian reflects, “the show was a success and it was wonderful to see all the different creative ideas and talents of other designers.” As I wait to see her in the long gown, the models float down the runway in pieces that render an elegant energy through their individual delicacy. I lean over to remind my friend that the designer is only a sophomore. Indeed, it was hard to remember that fact a week earlier when I asked her if she had a title to her collection. “Batik reminds me of leaving a piece of fabric outside and then having it rained on.” She continued, “there’s not really a title [to the collection], but it’s more the story behind the creative processes of making the fabric.” When I inquired further, she elaborated as if describing poetry. “While it’s actually not made by rain drops hitting the fabric, batik has a character to it. It’s very unique and special in a sense that batik fabric is handmade and not very mass produced, and it tries to maintain subtle flaws that I really enjoy in fabric.” Not only did Vivian model her own clothing this year, but she also prepared the entire collection herself. “It’s a one woman kind of journey, so to say,” as she explains that she does all the sewing, cutting, designing, and fitting. This year’s entire collection took around 100 hours. But for Vivian, working on her collection is a both an outlet and a passion. Baffling those of us who
lack this skill set (myself included), Vivian sews in her free time and using the process as an escape. To focus on sewing, “you have to disengage yourself from the worries around you,” she says, “but it’s also the time when I feel at peace, and I feel more relaxed when I’m doing it.” Still, sewing doesn’t always put Vivian in a happy place: “it’s frustrating at times, when I don’t know a specific drape I want to do on a skirt, for example,” Vivian admits. Yet last year, Vivian was the only freshman designer and the opener of the first-ever Fashion @ Brown. Though “a little daunting,” joining Unhemmed and the show were essential steps for Vivian to become part of a creative community she missed. For the future, Vivian ideally wants to pursue both fashion and science, and is currently a cognitive neuroscience concentrator. She hopes to create two chapters of her life - starting with science then moving onto fashion (or vice versa). “I’ve had semesters that are very science heavy and then those that are very designart heavy,” she says, “I’ve had to do a lot of self reflection while at Brown.” But for now, Vivian is pursuing both passions. “I’m still trying to find a balance,” she says in the end. Whatever she pursues, it seems likely Vivian will do so with the same elegance and poise of the dresses that left Brown speechless last week.
Ramya Mahalingam ‘14 is new to the fashion world but already making a name for herself. In nine short months, Ramya has gone from fashion novice to bona fide designer. After teaching herself to sew on a rusty sewing machine Ramya has cultivated a bold design aesthetic and successfully presented her first collection in this year’s f@b show. With a love for rich sari fabric and the natural feminine form, Ramya’s pieces are a fresh take on traditional Indian elements. How did you get started as a designer? I was interning at an intimate apparel startup firm over the summer, and I was working on the sewing patterns, when I realized that my task might be more effective if I knew how to sew. I went on Craigslist and found a really old, dilapidated, fifteen-dollar sewing machine that, despite all the rust and scratches, still worked. I brought it home, YouTubed a couple of things about threading the bobbin, etc, went to Lorraine’s to buy a ‘bag of rags’ and just went from there. Tell me a little about your aesthetic as a designer. I like to create looks that accent the female form. All my designs so far have been very much about the fitting of the garment. Describe your collection. This collection is about the modern, Indian woman finding the best way to fit into a Western world. What inspired your collection? by Taryn Riemer
The patterns on Indian sari and dupatta fabrics. Who are your favorite designers/style icons? Which designer has been a point of reference for you? I wasn’t into fashion until nine months ago. So I don’t really have any! What is your creative process like? I start by pulling all the fabric I own onto the floor, pulling out ones that I think go well together or that I want to overlay, and then draping them around myself or around some object in the room. I’ll start cutting out a basic shape and then my idea of what I want the garment to look like will get more defined, and I might sketch out some of the more complicated parts like fastenings, pleats, etc. How do you want people to feel in your clothes? Beautiful -- is that a cliché answer? I want people to feel like their bodies are being celebrated by the fabric they are swathed in. What is your must have item for spring? Seabago docksides. They look great with skirts and shorts and basically everything. And they feel great when they’re wet - precaution for random Providence showers! What is an item every woman should have in her wardrobe? Whatever makes her feel good!
BRIDGET SAUER by Audrey Cho
“It’s just a celebration of spring and colors,” she says gently as she unravels a scarf of an exquisite array of violet, turquoise, and crimson pink. Taking a cool sip from her iced tea, junior Bridget Sauer continues modestly, “It’s just silk paint on scarves I bought from India.” Because the paint seeps into the silk and dries instantly, each scarf takes only half an hour to two hours to create. So indeed, they take less time to produce than clothing. Nonetheless, these exuberant pieces of thrilling palettes are nothing to be disregarded, and I sigh in relief knowing that she’ll be able to present these beauties to the Brown community in the Fashion @ Brown runway show. A Visual Arts concentrator from Philadelphia, Sauer used to be on the Swimming team before she quit to seriously pursue her passion and creative outlet of art. Sauer originally considered becoming a traditional artist. However, this past summer when Sauer started painting on silk at home, she decided that she wanted to wear her paintings. At first, her scarves were passed around by word of mouth, beginning with her mother’s friends. As interest expanded, with the help of her mother, Sauer created a website, bsauer.com (which I highly recommend you visit) to display and sell her work. Sauer describes this shift to fashion as a desire to be part of something larger and novel. “Fashion is now becoming art,” she claims as she cites examples from MoMA and Les Arts Decoratifs’s exhibitions of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs. Sauer admits that she doesn’t know how to sew or do fittings, but she maintains a high regard for fashion as the next imminent stage of art: “it’s the newest art form… fashion designers are infiltrating the art world.” When asked if she has a particular theme or inspiration behind her collection and aesthetic, Sauer notes her personal taste as the leading factor that drives her to her “colorful, happy, bright” prints. Taking a color theory class at RISD under William Miller, Sauer exudes an appreciation of learning the science behind the colors and how they influence one another and her
own color choices. Adjusting her narrow sunglasses while perched on the steps of the Blue Room, Sauer admits she’s a bit nervous about her first show. But this seems silly when she explains her plans for the upcoming year – an internship in Paris with the legendary house Hermès. After showing her scarves this fall to Pierre-Alexis Dumas, Hermès Creative Director and Brown alumnus, Sauer scored an interview over spring break and landed the dream job to work with graphic designers for the whole year in Paris. A week later, I’m the nervous one, tapping my feet against the chair, eager for Sauer’s collection to debut as the lights dim. Earlier during our talk, she wished her models to be original: “I want them to be really uninhibited. I want them to be energized, embody the scarves themselves, and I know they will.” On this matter, Sauer is spot on. Just as her scarves radiate energy of bold yellows, blues, reds, and greens, Sauer’s models embody the same dynamism on the runway. “My favorite moment was when my models took their first steps on the runway,” Sauer says. “When the lights hit the silk, I lost my breath for a moment. The colors were illuminated just as I had envisioned them to be, and my models’ vibrancy really brought my designs to life.” For the show, Sauer accomplished the silk dress that she hoped to present as a finale piece, and the model, Jesse, strolled down with a perfect mélange of the sass, ‘tude, and glam that the scarf emits. On her experience after the show, Sauer comments: “Backstage at the show was a whirlwind of color, nerves, and excitement. All of the designs were so unique and innovative in their own rights. It was such a testament to the interdisciplinary creative atmosphere that thrives in the design community at Brown.” Down the road, Sauer hopes to have her own fashion house. And with her aesthetic motto, “I design to make the wearers feel alive,” I cannot wait to follow Bridget Sauer’s claim to fashion history.
Don’t let her young age fool you. Lee Bernstein’s woven rope dress was one of the most memorable pieces in the second annual Fashion@Brown show. The creative freshman nurtured her love for art at a young age. While other girls were playing with their Barbies, Lee was sewing and weaving in 4th grade. For the Brown Fashion Show, Lee showcased one dress made from thick sailor’s rope and string. What do you plan on concentrating in? Visual Art What do you do outside of designing? I write for the Brown Daily Herald. What’s something surprising about the dress that people don’t know about? It weighs 40-50 pounds. Would you ever wear this out in real life? It’s a showpiece and quite heavy so maybe not. What was the most difficult challenge you faced in making this dress? Fitting the top and the bottom was hard because it weighed so much since the entire dress was woven together. How did you get interested in designing? I took a design class in high school and for our final project, we had an alternative fashion show. We had to make clothing from unconventional materials but they had to be wearable.
LEE RNSTEIN by Catherine Gao
Is that how you arrived at your earthy, innovative, alterna-fabric aesthetic? Yes, I like using materials that have other purposes, things like rope that were manufactured to be used for something other than clothing. Did you have a good time at the show? Yea, it was great and I got to model my own dress.
APRIL ZHANG by Madeleine Luckel
At last week’s fashion show, April Zhang, the Unhemmed co-editor in chief, showed a collection bursting with her signature vibrant color palette. Her pieces not only demonstrated an advanced structural ability, but also stood out for their use of recycled materials. The plastic overlay over one skirt and the jewelry, also made by April, were highlights of this ingenuity. Her use of pattern was richly layered in a way that wove shapes together, almost akin to the weaving of fabric itself. April’s cuts, shifts, and nipped-in waists with full skirts demonstrated a variety and a consistent, almost retro, aesthetic. Not surprisingly a visual arts concentrator, April’s execution evidenced not only the depth and breadth of her skill set, but also how involved she was in every step of the process. What are your inspirations for the pieces in the show? What is your creative process, and do these designs relate to your other work? I knew I wanted to design my own textiles. I went to the Rhode Island recycle center (RRIE) to get materials for my painting class, but I ended up finding piles of
cheap cotton, cardboard tubes, and random other odds and ends. I started to paint shapes onto the cotton and used cardboard tubes and wood scraps from the painting studio to stamp color on top. I had a lot of fun layering prints and colors. Last year, my collection was colorful with a triangle motif, but the colors were solid and it had a very different feel. But I think geometric shapes and bright colors will always be a part of my work. Describe the technical aspects/challenges of making these pieces. The great thing about the techniques I used and the look I was going for was that I didn’t have to do much sewing, and I didn’t hem anything. Once painted, the cotton became a lot like paper. Who do you envision wearing your clothing? My clothing is for people who aren’t afraid of color, print, and wackiness. I want fashion to be fun, and for the people who wear my clothing to stand out in a crowd.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
This yearâ€™s Brown designers illuminate the essence of their collections by creating their own commandments. For those of us who swear by the Holy Book of Fashion, these divine rules of dress will keep us from turning to stone.
Thou shalt exude class - Alexandra Nuttbrown
Thou shalt thy
- Victor Ha
- Austin Snyder
Thou shalt refashion - Fahmina Ahmed
Thou shalt dress to make a difference
- Sofia Ruiz
Thou shalt indulge in lingerie - Lucy Feldman
- Naomi Jacobs
Thou shalt break the mold - Matt Hill
Thou shalt be fiercely vibrant - Julian Ezenwa
heads - MJ Batson
models: Dominika Fiolna, Analise Roland, Christina Barry
Thou shalt embrace
batik - Vivian Carlson
Thou shalt fit in - Ramya Mahalingam
B.Sauer - Bridget Sauer
Thou shalt wear
rope - Lee Bernstein
Thou shalt not fear prints - April Zhang
by Victor Ha photographers: Katie Cusumano, Carolyn Shasha models: Katherine James, Hannah Kimmel, Essie Quakyi
Special Thanks to St. Stephenâ€™s Church