To most, “fashion” is only a noun—a statement, perception or convention about one’s style and personality. But for the students of The University of Texas at Austin‘s Division of Textiles and Apparel, “fashion” as a verb—to create, give form, or adapt—holds much more significance. Senior designer, Lillie Noe, gave us an inside look at how she and her peers continually redefine the concept of fashion as she prepared to present her designs at the 2015 University of Texas Fashion Show, Fusion.
Applause Blog: The University of Texas Fashion show, organized by the University Fashion Group, will showcase pieces from 24 senior design students. How does it feel to know that thousands of people will see your work?
Lillie Noe: It’s insane! It doesn’t feel real. We’re a small, dedicated program, working in our two sewing labs and we’re very tight knit. We’ve been preparing for this showcase all year, but few people have seen what we’ve been working on besides our friends and families. Even though we’ve all worked on separate garments, it feels like a joint project. I’m so excited about all of us as a whole that I forget to be nervous about my individual pieces!
Apart from the clothes, I’m nervous about falling down on stage. I’ve always been a klutz, so it’s definitely within the realm of possibility.
AB: You created the design for each piece of your collection. From inception to finished product, what does the design process entail?
LN: Design begins with inspiration. We sketch ideas and make technical drawings to sort out the details. Then, we go to the human body-or rather, the next best thing-our dress forms. We drape muslin (a plain, basic fabric) over the dress form, then pin and cut to create the shape of the garment. It’s like sculpting with fabric! From there, we trace the paper patterns, cut the real fabric and sew the final product. Of course, there are a lot of bumps along the way.
AB: From where did you draw inspiration for the pieces in your collection?
LN: My collection is inspired by nature and technology. I not only made the dresses, but also the fabric. Each print was based on a pattern found in nature and was digitally printed on to the fabric. For the silhouettes, I was inspired by classic garments from 1950s and 60s fashion. I wanted to blend vintage looks and modern technology.
AB: Who would be the ideal person or group of people to wear your collection?
LN: I envision my dresses being worn to a fun workplace or to daytime parties. My target customer would be a professional woman who wants to stand out. I think my clothes speak to a certain state of mind more than any particular group or age range. I hope my clothes appeal to a diverse group of women.
AB: Students in UT’s Division of Textiles and Apparel study all aspects of the industry, from the science behind garment production to the business principles necessary for commercial success. How has this well-rounded background prepared you for this?
LN: Our fashion program is unique because we have access to all the great resources UT has to offer-the Frank Erwin Center being one! We take chemistry and textile laboratory classes so we understand how fibers work and we take business classes to help us succeed in an industry setting or even start our own businesses. This gives us a definite leg up with selecting fabrics and understanding what kind of clothes are marketable. In fashion we make art; but more often than not it’s art for sale. We have to keep that in mind in whatever we do.
I’m also majoring in Plan II Honors, which has exposed me to many truly incredible courses and professors. I’m thankful to be at UT. I’ve benefited tremendously from a broad education that has provided wonderful perspective on a huge variety of professions and disciplines.
On Thursday, April 23, the University Fashion Group will present the 2015 University of Texas Fashion Show, “Fusion”, at the Frank Erwin Center! Come see the original collections from Lillie and the other twenty-three senior designers at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are free and can be picked up in person at the North Box Office, but the experience will be priceless, so don’t miss it!
Visit the Frank Erwin Center website to see who's coming, and subscribe to Be the First to Know to get a jump on upcoming pre-sales and ticket giveaways.