When I was in high school, I was selected to join the honors program at Fontbonne, and I accepted. Accordingly, I was required to take at least twelve credits of honors courses offered here. I completed that after my sophomore year. However, there is one last thing that needs to be done in order to complete the honors program before I graduate. It is required to complete an honors senior project. The meaning of this is very broad and completely depends on the student and their major. It is pretty much up to the student what they want to do for the final project, as long as it is initially approved and extends beyond standard classroom work that is assigned to everyone else.
I knew that I wanted to do a project that required hands-on work because I really enjoy being crafty. The teacher of my independent study visual merchandising class connected me with a store owner named Dorothy. She recently opened her store, Bespoke, at a new location on Cherokee Street. It is a very large space with room for two window displays. Therefore, I helped Dorothy out by building a visual display that she can keep up year-round. Bespoke is not a traditional boutique or clothing store. Dorothy creates custom-made garments for people, and also sews alterations on pre-made garments. Accordingly, I wanted to incorporate tools that she uses daily, such as thread, ribbon, buttons, needles, and measuring tape. I used these items to create screens as the backdrop (and within the store), as you can see from the pictures. Maroon, gray, and tan is the color scheme of the Bespoke logo, so I continued that in the display. Finally, there are two dress forms in one of the windows that are intended to tell a story of how a garment is put together. That is why the first look is partially sewn.
I really enjoyed working on this project and getting to know Dorothy over the last couple months. It was a great learning experience having the opportunity to see her at work and hear all about her background. And like I said before, I love being crafty! Now that the project is done, I need to compile my process into a portfolio. After I turn that in, I can officially say that I completed the honors program at Fontbonne.
This semester, I am enrolled in an independent study visual merchandising class. This is the first time I have taken an independent study, so it is a very different structure to get used to. Everything is done on my own time, yet I still have to communicate with my classmates because we are completing displays as a team. There are four of us in the class.
There are two windows displays that we work with. For our first challenge, we took a trip to the St. Louis Art Museum as inspiration. In particular, we visited the Nick Cave exhibit. He is an artist that creates pieces out of found objects. Accordingly, we were to do the same and use a very limited budget. We also used the artists Andy Warhol and Alexander McQueen as an inspiration. I worked on the display that combined the Nick Cave and Andy Warhol aesthetic. This was extremely fun to create. I loved having creative freedom to do as many wacky things as I wanted with whatever I could find. Also, I’m a huge fan of bright colors. So, it made me happy using such a diverse color scheme as well.
It can be difficult to see all the elements of this display in the below picture. The materials used are the following. A variety of fabrics in multiple colors are draped and pinned to the entire back of the wall. The side panels consist of poster board covered in buttons, beads, sequins, glitter, and flowers. Suspended from the ceiling are colorful furry pillows, plastic bowling pins, and giant flower petals made out of poster board. One mannequin wears a cape made out of a rug and hat made out of a pillow and yarn. The other mannequin’s dress was made out of flowers stuck into a cage-like structure. Each mannequin then stands on a furry rug. The floor is covered in foil. Then, on top of that, there are layers of beads, buttons, sequins, flowers, and pillow stuffing.
Stop by Anheuser Busch Hall to see these up close and in person, and determine your interpretation of the artwork. They will only be there for a limited time until we put a new display up!
“Art is what you can get away with.” -Andy Warhol
A dream of mine came true this week. I was able to meet a local St. Louis designer featured on the hit show Project Runway! If you have never seen the show, then you must be living under a rock (and obviously not a very fashionable rock). Haha!
In case you haven’t seen the show, it is a chance for up and coming designers to make clothing based on various themes, limitations, and time restrictions in order to keep things interesting. Famous designers, models and fashion icons like Michael Kors and Heidi Klum critique the clothing at the end of each challenge. It is a very fast paced and exciting show.
Remember AJ Thouvenot from Season 8? He was known for his outlandish garments usually equipped with lots of colors, patterns, and various embellishments. Believe it or not, he was a guest speaker in my FAS205.01 Apparel Production and Evaluation course at Fontbonne last week.
I could hardly contain my excitement when AJ flew through the door, carrying five shirts from his men’s collection and a short, gunmetal grey dress covered with intricate embellishments. It was AWESOME! I was eyeing something that was once only an idea and now a tangible piece of wearable art.
AJ spoke about his life, project runway, his inspirations (rock and roll is one of them, which I adore) and his current brand. He said one thing that stood out to me. I nervously raised my hand and asked what advice he would give someone wanting to pursue a career in the fashion industry. He paused for a second and told me to take every opportunity. He answered, “Even if you think you aren’t ready…just do it. Do it even if you have to fake it. Fake it until you make it! You never know when you’ll be able to get that opportunity again if ever.” His words were a definite sign to me. I try to take as many opportunities as I can, but I always question if I’m ready. AJ’s advice inspired me to take every opportunity and jump right in. You never know what you will miss if you only dip your toes in!
Check out AJ’s creative designs at http://www.andyjdesigns.com
Fontbonne University offers an amazing Fashion Merchandising major, and last semester I was able to take two classes from this program: Fashion Merchandising 101 and The Fashion Industry. I really enjoyed both courses, as they were an introduction to the fashion world’s ins and outs.
As a business major I am not only interested in finance, which is my concentration, but I also like to immerse myself in the world of fashion and look for opportunities to learn. This is the reason I volunteered for Saint Louis Fashion Week last Thursday!
At 4pm when I arrived the atmosphere at Union Station was relaxed; models were hanging out and getting their makeup done, volunteers were learning their tasks for the day and the DJ was testing the equipment. At 6pm people started arriving and that is when it turned really hectic!
The atmosphere was amazing, people were dressed to impress and they were talking and enjoying the lounge that was set up to receive all the guests. At 7:50pm we started ushering people to their seats, at 8:05pm sharp the show started.
There were three fashion designers showing that night: Yigal Azrouël, Tess Giberson and Timo Weiland. Their collections showed a wide range of pieces, from classic sweaters to edgy lace blouses, crop tops, pants, jumpsuits, etc. I was fortunate to meet Stan Herman and Fern Mallis, very influential people in the fashion world.
I really liked the experience and I learned a lot, I am looking forward to volunteering again next spring!