New York City
The Fashion Studio
Summer College 2013
Hi, I'm Dana! I'm really excited to be in the Fashion Studio course this summer. I'm a rising senior at Friends Seminary in New York City, where I play varsity basketball and run with the cross country team. I also lead the student organization S.E.A.K, which promotes self-confidence through fitness. I find fashion, just like fitness, to be an empowering tool. In my free time I add to my ever-growing book of design inspiration by searching magazines, blogs, and the streets of New York.
I'm looking forward to collaborating with other students who are passionate about fashion and design! I hope to make great friends this summer and develop my voice as a designer.
As my first week at Summer College winds down, I am realizing how quickly the life of a college student flies by! Over the past week I've been busily working in my sketchbook, meeting new people, and attending the many dorm activities such as chocolate dipping night (yum!). I've really come to enjoy the independence of living and studying on a college campus. Walking to class over one of Ithaca's gorges, which truly looks as though it belongs in a national park, is one of my favorite parts of the day (it also helps that it's much cooler at 9 in the morning than on my walk back to the dorms at 4). The balance of work and socializing has made for a very enjoyable first week!
On the first day, seeing the gallery where my class will display our final design work, I flashed forward to the final presentation. I pictured myself standing proudly in front of my portfolio with students that I have shared great memories and become close with. Luckily, this is becoming a reality. Starting on the second day, after struggling a little with Photoshop, one of my classmates quickly came to the rescue. During the first project on trend forecasting, our professor Alana Staiti gave us a glimpse into the long hours of studio culture. Even though we were there for only a few hours, our time in the computer lab bonded our class.
In my free time, I've found myself working in my sketchbook and doing image research, but not alone! After class and during the weekend I've been meeting my classmates to work in the beautiful Human Ecology Commons room or the computer lab. When we aren't inside, we are walking around the Cornell campus looking for inspiration and taking pictures. Our small class of 15 has also allowed us to receive individual attention from our professor. The artistic freedom we were given for our portfolios is exciting, but also daunting. Thankfully, Alana is always available during class to discuss the direction I'm taking and give guidance.
The critiques of our group projects and class activities are an interesting part of my day as I get to listen to the diverse perspectives of students with many different backgrounds and personalities. Our class' online discussion on Blackboard is another way I have been able to learn about my classmates. Questions such as "What is at stake when we appropriate designs from other cultures?" have forced me to think critically about topics that are brushed over by the fashion industry and have made for lively discussions.
With pages in my sketchbook filling up and the number of friends I've made growing every day, this first week has been a success! Despite the full days of class, my friends and I have had plenty of time to explore. Collegetown Bagels (CTB) is a favorite!
With only a few days until my final portfolio presentation, stress is mounting. My class is spending more and more time in the studio, Photoshopping every last pixel and rethinking layouts until the composition is close to perfect. Thankfully, the class's camaraderie makes working into the late evening fun; there's always someone to cheer you on when you spark a great idea or order Insomnia Cookies when a design goes wrong.
Aside from portfolio work, we took an exciting trip to Cornell's costume collection where we brushed up on some fashion history by analyzing vintage pieces. In the past two weeks we have also been studying the 3D form. We went to the Johnson Museum of Art on the Cornell campus and tried out Cornell's very own body scanner, which scans your body using cameras and creates a digital 3D image! We also completed a project with a Tyvek suit. Given only four hours to deconstruct and reconstruct the Tyvek into an original garment, my class created some pretty amazing looks! Many different projects are occurring at once, and so good time management skills have been really important this week. I've really come to enjoy my daily routine. After class I've been running around Beebe Lake (which is right next to the dorms) to let off some steam after sitting for most of the day.
After a busy two and a half weeks, I'm proud to see my hard work take shape. The final portfolio presentation on Friday will be a chance for the Summer College and Human Ecology communities to see everyone's unique and inspiring work. Until then, the CAD lab in the human ecology building will be our home!
Although it's nice to be home, I'm really missing Cornell! Living and studying there for three weeks made me feel ready and excited for college. After reflecting on the course, I realized how much I accomplished. I completed a portfolio that I am really proud of, made great friends from very different backgrounds, and experienced greater independence. The class exceeded my expectations. We really dug deep into what fashion means. As my professor Alana says, "once you start talking about fashion, you start talking about everything else." That phrase really became the motto of our course. Studying fashion design goes beyond aesthetics. We learned how to design meaningful clothing and be critical of how we visualize and express our ideas.
During the final portfolio presentation in the gallery, I was able to step back and see all of my class' work. Other Summer College students were also able to see that the fashion course was not just sketching and coloring. Everyone that came was really impressed with the unique inspirations and detailed work of our class.
Now that I'm gearing up for school to start again, I am truly missing my class and friends at Cornell. The diverse mix of students and our amazing professor Alana Staiti made the past three weeks so much fun—wish I could go back!