SCAD Fashion Show has come and gone. During one fabulous night under the bright lights of the runway, up-and-coming designers finally showcased their amazing collections. What transpired before their designs hit the runway? What of the countless hours they invested in that moment of grace?
Student designers, including Molly Sayers, enjoy a standing ovation after SCAD Fashion Show.
I had the privilege of following senior designers during their sprint to the runway. I sat in during their final critiques and heard their struggles and excitement as they pulled their collections together. The hours I spent inside Eckburg Hall, where the designers finalized the finest work of their college careers, were hypnotizing. It was illuminating to learn about one student’s work and hop to the next, only to be filled with admiration for another and yet another. But the collaboration between Molly Sayers (B.F.A., fashion, senior) and Kristin Hughes (B.F.A., fibers, senior) left the most enduring impression on me.
I first encountered their collection when I watched the models preview the looks for fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra during his surprise visit to SCAD to critique student work. I was instantly drawn to how the garments moved and the unusual use of shiny wooden triangles, purposefully placed throughout the pieces. I adored the soft fabric, which perfectly draped the models, trailing behind each movement. The craftsmanship was impeccable. Intrigued, I interviewed Sayers and Hughes to learn more, and so began my journey shadowing them throughout their process to the final runway.
The inspiration for the collection sprouted from a combination of Islamic art and architecture. This came from Sayers, who has called many places home in her lifetime, including Qatar. With these initial concepts in mind, her focus turned to harmonizing geometric elements with something organic while simultaneously achieving minimalism, a notable trait of Islamic art. Why wood? Sayers has always endeavored to bewilder viewers by paring a stiff material with flowing fabric. She wanted to defy the assumption that wood is inflexible and un-wearable.
The Texas-born designers bonded over their interest in exploring diverse materials. Hughes’ practice primarily involves wood. She enjoys manipulating the element in various ways. When Sayers saw her work she knew a partnership was inevitable. “Since I am in fibers, I look more at the construction of a basic textile — it’s not as much business, it’s more fine art,” said Hughes. “So it has been a joy to get out of the fine art realm and be involved with a creative outlet for product development.”
In the early stages, Sayers and Hughes experimented with many different types of wood including iron-on-wood, typically used for construction purposes. However, it became clear that simply fastening the wood to the fabric achieved perfect juxtaposition. Hughes laser cut four different sized triangles to match the exact drape and movement of each garment.
As wood is a relatively untouched material within the fashion industry, their process was not always smooth. In particular, there was the issue of how to adhere the wood to the jersey fabric. Additionally, the duo had to address basic design challenges, such as balance, proportion, rhythm, emphasis and unity. Ultimately, relying on their skill and friendship, Sayers and Hughes found solutions and were chosen to participate in SCAD Fashion Show.
“I have always wanted this,” said Sayers. “Since I was in seventh grade and I looked up SCAD from Qatar on my computer. I carry that energy to create better, go further, be bolder, and explore how far I can go because of this experience.”
It was a treat to follow their story and see the fairytale ending on the runway at SCAD Museum of Art. I send my best wishes to my classmates for their future endeavors. As we cross the stage to graduate this weekend, congratulations.