The next generation of local designers blooms this spring
Saturday, May 14, 2016. A little bit after 8 p.m., the countdown is over and the magic begins on a temporary catwalk built inside the Barnes Foundation for second year in a row.
The students of the Moore College of Art & Design presented their final projects for the 2016 Fashion Show, “A Genre of Her Own: Mirroring Picasso,” a tribute to the Spanish painter and the foundation’s exhibition of “Picasso: The Great War.”
The show began with designs created by junior students, who presented an athleisure collection for the first time in the history of the show. Sixteen students were involved in the creation of the collection called “Rapid Response.”
The second part of the show was reserved for seven sophomore designers. Together they created the collection “Wild Garden” which incorporated a sportswear fabrication element.
The central part of the show was the presentation of the 20 students who are graduating this year.
Latex, nature, the Victorian Gothic style and a city dweller’s war against pigeons were some of the elements that inspired these young designers to create their collections.
Take the case of Maria Elena Robles. Her collection was inspired by tattoo art.
“Artrevida,” the name of Robles’ first collection, consisted of designs in black decorated with tattoo-inspired embroidery and transparent elements.
According to Robles, the idea for the collection germinated during a summer internship with Manuel, the designer at Manuel American Designs in Nashville, Tenn.
“I feel like that kind of goes back to my roots and my Mexican heritage,” she said.
Robles, who grew up Camden, N.J., said she knew she wanted to be a fashion designer since she was 12 years old.
“I grew up in a traditional Mexican culture, so creativity was always around,” she said. “My aunts were always making crafts and even when I saw my mom making tortillas with her hands, there was something that sparked my passion, making things with my hands. Fashion design gave me the freedom to express myself with fabric.”
This is the reason why she decided to get her degree in fashion design at the Moore College of Art & Design, where she said she was introduced to so many things.
“I felt like, when coming to Moore, that I had this broad idea of what I wanted to do in my life but I feel this expanded my thinking,” said Robles. “They helped me a lot, they helped to improve my self-esteem and to improve my style.”
This is something her family helped her with as well.
“I’m very grateful to my family for helping me and supporting me in my career,” she said. Even though it’s very competitive they know I’m capable of accomplishing my goals.”
Robles hopes to continue working in the U.S., something she feels that she needs to do in order to accomplish her long-term goal: “Going to Mexico and trying to make a name for myself there.”