Matthew Gottesman ’13 views fashion design as “an experiment in creativity,” beginning with sketches and original machine knits that he transforms – through intensive trial and error – into full looks that will fit his models flawlessly for the April 27 Cornell Fashion Collective spring runway show.
Evoking an “interplanetary expedition to a jungle planet,” his collection of pants, shorts, dresses, parkas and sweaters – named “Io” after one of Jupiter’s moons – draws on such influences as sci-fi films “Prometheus” and “Star Wars” and the spacey sounds of the electronic band M83. To develop his aesthetic, he experimented with plastics and parachute nylons and even worked with Paper No. 9, a Brooklyn company that specializes in sustainable textiles, to create an original fabric that bonds white paper to green denim.
Gottesman and more than 40 other student designers – mainly from the Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design (FSAD) in the College of Human Ecology and a few from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences and of Architecture, Art and Planning – are busy cutting, stitching and fitting, putting the finishing touches on their pieces for this year’s show, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Barton Hall. From freshman designers – each of whom will create one look related to a common theme, “The Seven Deadly Sins” – to seniors who will send eight to 10 ensembles down the runway, the annual show is an opportunity for undergraduates to display their finest examples of high fashion.
“It’s a huge time commitment and a labor of love, but it is also intensely gratifying work,” said Gottesman.
Show organizers have been working round-the-clock, too. Susan Freeman ’13, president of the collective, said planning for this year’s event started just after last year’s show. She leads an executive board of eight students who oversee every element of the show – runway installation, promotion, model castings, ticket sales and more – making Cornell’s event one of the only completely student-run collegiate fashion shows. Freeman, who also relies on student volunteers from across campus to stage the spectacle, expects about 2,000 people to watch the show.
“I’m excited to see everything come together,” she said. “Almost all of this work is done outside of class, so our designers and executive board members have given so much to make the event successful.”
For the first time, the show will also be streamed to Cornell alumni and friends through an online platform set up by the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.
In addition to Gottesman’s experimental pieces, designer Caroline Delson ’13, who also serves on the executive board, is creating a menswear line that incorporates stretch denim, velvet, frosted vinyl, Japanese cotton and neoprene – most commonly used in wetsuits. Katelyn Ridgeway ’13 is developing an earthy line of outdoor apparel that combines classic wools with modern waterproof and abrasion-resistant fabrics.
“Quite a few students designed their own fabric and created digital prints for them, and many students took advantage of the laser cutter this semester,” said Delson of the high-tech design equipment in the Human Ecology Building. “It’s brought the visual impact of the show to a new level.”
In total, about 150 original looks will go down the runway, modeled by Cornell and even a few high school students. Sophomores will show pieces under the theme “Reimagining the Button-Down Shirt,” and the Pendleton Scholarship Team, a group of FSAD designers and applied economics and management students, are collaborating on a Boy Scout-influenced young menswear line fashioned with fabrics donated by Pendleton Woolen Mills, an iconic American brand headed by Mort Bishop III ’74.
“The show is such an important event – we see it as the culmination of four years of learning, discovery and creative expression,” Delson said. “It is not only an opportunity to show our work … but to celebrate my friends and peers in all their talents and hard work.”
Tickets are $10 presale and $15 at the door. For tickets and complete show information, visit http://www.cornellfashioncollective.com.
Ted Boscia is assistant director of communications for the College of Human Ecology.