September 15th, several up-and coming designers presented in the Art Institute Spring 2016 fashion show, as a part of New York Fashion Week. The young designers were students or recent graduates and showcasing their creations for the first time. Five of the designers shared their inspiration behind their collections.
Christopher “Kiki” Terrels – While at the University of Utah, studying engineering, Kiki’s interest in snowboarding peaked and he became interested in designing functional and fashionable snowboard gear. For his “Ironclad” collection, Kiki was inspired by medieval armor. “I want it to have a rugged and durable feel while not being too heavy-handed. I’ve designed these clothes to be suitable for any occasion,” said Kiki, keeping in mind the collection was for the spring season. Kiki’s career in fashion has been influenced by Billy Reid, a designer who’s able to bring high quality garments to consumers at fairly reasonable prices and Sally Leon, one of the designers behind some of Levi’s capsule collections.
Deron Shields – A Baltimore native, Deron begin his foray into fashion at Baltimore Community College, later moving to New York City to pursue his dreams. He was soon cast as a sewing expert on Lifetime’s “24 Hour Catwalk,” getting him in front of fashion insiders like Alexa Chung, James LaForce, Cynthia Rowley, and Derek Blasberg. Deron’s goal with his “Concrete Rose” collection was to make women feel flawless with an ever present touch of glamour and he designed his looks from the bottom up. “My design process involves creating textiles and fabrics and drawing inspiration from the art and nature—all that surrounds me becomes my inspiration,” says Deron.
Eric Jernigan – Since the age six, Eric has dreamt of showing at New York Fashion Week. This year his dream came true with his “Beauteous Eruption” collection. Eric crafted his show on the premise that every show, like a play or a musical, should have both a story and characters. “My designs feature silhouettes, fabrics, and colors that allude to volcanic eruptions,” said Eric of his eveningwear designs. His influences include such fashion greats as Galliano, McQueen, Versace, Posen, Jacobs, and Milena.
Lavan Chxeize – A recent graduate, Lavan was born in the Republic of Georgia and was first drawn to fashion when he began investigating the origin of his last name and found a connection to luxury and high fashion. His New York Fashion Week collection, “Love Letters from Berlin,” was “inspired by Berlin in the 1920s and 1940s, especially the history of hardship facing the gay population during that time,” says Lavan. ““With my collection, I want to push what the boundaries of menswear and challenge the constructs of gender-appropriate clothing.”
Ebony Taylor – Unlike most fashion students, Ebony is balancing her time as a fashion student with a career in the military. Rather than hinder her studies, Ebony strongly believes the balance between military and school has helped her as a designer. Her interest in fashion was first piqued while she served in San Diego and became enamored by the water and she started out working with swim and resortwear. Ebony designed her collection “End Game” for New York Fashion Week after she had a dream about a loved one who had passed away. “I want[ed] my collection to be sophisticated with a hint of [being flirty], perhaps enticing the imagination,” says Ebony. “The collection features the classic black and white color palette, and the fabric choices are all about movement.”
The Art Institute of New York participated in New York Fashion Week on September 15, 2015. For the full show, click here.