Senior, Art + Design
Concept Statement: Elysian: a marvelous and unexpected collection that showcases the potential beauty of unconventionally sustainable materials by using neglected natural waste. By transforming invasive plants, food waste, and weeds, I’m enhancing natural surplus and giving “throwaway” materials a second life. I’m turning ephemeral flora into evergreen materials by preserving them in naturally derived glycerin. All the natural fibers in this collection start out white and are hand-dyed using onion skins, goldenrod flowers, and other plants. By using what is naturally and locally available to me, I am creating a collection that displays natural beauty in a new and wondrous way.
What was the inspiration behind your collection?
The intricacy, mystery, and undeniable beauty of nature inspires me to create pieces that spark interest in natural dyes and materials. Elysian showcases the potential beauty of unconventionally sustainable materials by using neglected natural waste. By transforming invasive plants, food waste, and weeds, I’m enhancing natural surplus and giving “throwaway” materials a second life.
What were the main fabric or fabric manipulation processes you used in your garments?
In my research, I came across a method of plant preservation using glycerin, a colorless, odorless compound made from plant oils. By replacing the water content in kudzu and ivy leaves with glycerin, I have created an evergreen material that can withstand being sewn together and used as applique. I am repurposing harmful invasive plants in a way that utilizes the best parts of their nature.
I also utilized a technique called eco-printing, where I hammered the natural color out of weeds and invasive plants directly onto fabric to make a green mosaic of leaves and vines. All the natural fibers in the collection start out white and are hand-dyed using onion skins, goldenrod flowers, and other plants. All the vegetables used for dyeing have been donated from grocery stores that would have thrown them away otherwise. The goldenrod was found growing naturally around Raleigh.
What will you take away from your time working with Art2Wear?
I am so thankful for my time working on Art2Wear, even if I didn’t get to present my work on the runway. I was able to explore and experiment with methods that would not have normally been a part of a fashion design studio. I was able to work alongside some of the best designers I’ve ever met and make garments that were better than I ever imagined. Creating for Art2Wear had made me a better designer because I’ve been pushed even further to think outside the box, and had the opportunity to learn in such a creative and positive space.
How has Covid-19 affected your collection, if at all?
Unfortunately, Covid prevented me from completing the last two garments in my collection as I had originally intended. Because I didn’t have a dye kitchen and equipment, I eco-printed instead of dyeing with goldenrod. I also tweaked some of my designs so that they would work with the leftover pre-dyed material I had.
Thanks to my parents for supporting me all through college and encouraging me to to what I love. Thanks to my lovely studio ladies for being there alongside me for every late night. And thanks to Precious Lovell for motivating me to work hard and never settle for less.
Senior, Art + Design
Selcouth; (adjective) rare, strange, unfamiliar – yet completely marvelous