Melanie Cho, Most Creative
A lamp may not seem like an obvious source of inspiration for a fashion collection, but for senior Melanie Cho, it was exactly that, earning her collection the “Most Creative” award.
“Using the human form as a metaphor for light, I wanted to create lamps that would showcase the light of the wearer,” Cho said in an email interview.
With a simple color pallet, Cho focused her collection on texture, structure and geometric shapes in order to create shadow and depth in her pieces.
Currently interning as a textile designer at Le Studio Anthost in New York, Cho said winning this award has encouraged her to keep working toward her dreams.
“[This award] acted as a huge affirmation and encouragement to me as a designer,” Cho said. “Every artist should find meaning and beauty in their own works, but the fact that other people also took time to acknowledge my collection makes me believe that something I did must have translated well to the audience. That connection is what will keep me motivated to work harder.”
With a passion for illustration and art, Cho said she hopes to continue her career in New York, saying, “[I] would love to tell stories through my art and designs.”
Phillip Miller, Best Construction
To Phillip Miller, detailed and precise construction is the difference between a garment that looks homemade and one that is retail-ready—a mindset that won the recent graduate the award for “Best Construction.”
“If I were to pick any of the awards that I could have won, that was the one I would have wanted,” Miller said. “To me, a garment not only has to be beautiful, it has to be constructed well, and when I look at my own work, I want it to look like the real thing.”
Learning several new techniques along the way, such as distressing and stonewashing, Miller designed four menswear looks.
“I drew a lot of inspiration from the modern craftsman ideal of a guy who has a profession but on the side does what he loves doing, which is using his hands to make the world a beautiful place through design and environmental stewardship,” Miller said.
Miller recently accepted a position with a new fashion design center opening in Denver as the house pattern maker.
“It is a really exciting space and a really exciting opportunity for me,” Miller said. “It is the kind of business that I have always imagined opening someday.”
Valerie Graumann, Most Marketable
From the moment she started sketching out designs for this collection, senior Valerie Graumann knew she wanted to design clothes that real women could wear, winning her the award of “Most Marketable.”
“Winning this award has given me a new sense of confidence that my designs are sellable and that people, other than my mom, think that they are good designs,” Graumann said in an email interview. “I like the thought that people would want to wear my clothes.”
Drawing inspiration from different textures, such as wood, fur, metal and leather, Graumann set out to design a collection that contrasted hard and soft.
“I did not end up encompassing every texture in my designs but the designs still stem from this inspiration,” she said. “I wanted to play with hard and soft, which inspired me to place metal in every look.”
Addicted to sewing ever since ninth grade, Graumann is currently in the process of finding work in South Dakota.
“I have a couple jobs lined up but I don’t want to jinx them,” Graumann said. “In the future, I hope to be able to share my ideas with a creative team whether that is working for a company or starting my own company. We will see what God has planned for me.”