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Designers, attendees talk fashion at MSU Horticulture Gardens pop-up show

March 25, 2019

Focusing on a mashup of agriculture and horticulture, apparel and textile design majors at Michigan State hosted a pop-up fashion show Friday at the MSU Horticulture Gardens. Designers and attendees talked designs, inspirations and fashion on MSU's campus.

Apparel and textile design students created one design each to be presented during the fashion show. Looks varied from skirts, dresses, jumpsuits and even headpieces. The usage of tulle, nylon, vinyl, leather and even string lights were among the fabrics and accessories used.

Agriculture and history was a main focus for designers like Miguel Rodriguez, a junior majoring in apparel and textile design.

“My design was inspired by the Louvre Museum and the Buddhist hand but while creating this, I wanted to throw in my own cultural aspect of things,” Rodriguez said. “I really wanted to interpret a tier dress and to show the layers of life and beauty.”

Apparel and textile design senior Cassie Giles focused on her inspiration and passion for two-dimensional art. She said her design is a combination of a German church and the Pirangi cashew tree, the largest cashew tree in the world.

"I combined them by hand painting the fruit of the cashew tree onto white fabric in the colors that are inside of the church," Giles said. "I am very much like a lighthearted, free-spirited person so that's what I want to do with my designs.”

Both of the designers have a strong passion for fashion and want to continue their journey with it.

“Fashion, to me, is a form of art in a way — to express what you're feeling, your emotions, the inner you,” Rodriguez said. “It's a way to interpret that and to be able to put it out there, it's a way of making yourself vulnerable but with a concept and with a mold of what you are feeling.”

Apparel and textile design senior Paige O’Grady went from volunteering in the show to being a designer and PR director.

"It’s incredible to be able to experience that, going from being a volunteer to a on stage designer in the show and director," O'Grady said.

O’Grady spent ten hours hand-sewing the gatherings on her top and finished the pants after a total of sixteen hours combined. Her piece was inspired by the Gateway Arch and hydrangeas.

“My goal after college is to work for a corporate design company. I want to work in a bigger-scale company, a bigger environment,” O’Grady said. “Eventually, I would like to have my own company. I love dresses, feminine designs — I lean more towards whimsical, sophisticated designs.”

As for Giles, she wants to end the trend of "fast fashion." Fast fashion is a popular trend displayed in media that one could describe as cheap, trendy clothes.

“I am actually very against fast fashion and the mindset of consumerism,” Giles said. “Which is kind of ironic that I am going into fashion and contributing to it, just because it's the second most polluting industry after the auto industry. That's why I'm going into it — because I want to change that and work with sustainable fashion.”

Apparel and textile design sophomore Tyana Robinson attended the pop-up show to support her fellow classmates and hopes to have her designs presented at next year's show. She said she believes every student on campus has a sense of style they express every day.

“We have students who look like they dress for themselves,” Robinson said. “I think it's important to be yourself, to have that idiosyncratic look and feel with whatever you are wearing that would definitely do justice to your look that day.”

Although technology is growing and urging many to go digital, Rodriguez, Giles and O’Grady all said they prefer to use a pen or pencil for their designs.

“I am a very old-fashioned person,” Rodriguez said. “I've always stuck to pen and pencil. I'm the type of person — if I think of something — I have to be able to put it down and digitally, it's just not my thing. I'm not really a technology person — it can get complicated, files can get deleted”

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