UT fashion students showcase creations in ‘Synthesis’

Annual show will feature 22 designers and is free and open to the public.


Highlights

Brides, ballerinas and little black dresses — you’ll see them all at this year’s UT Fashion Show, “Synthesis.”

Brides, ballerinas and little black dresses — you’ll see them all at this year’s UT Fashion Show, “Synthesis.”

The free show, which will be at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Frank Erwin Center, will showcase the work of 22 students with a passion for fashion.

“I like having the ability to envision something and have it come to life with my own hands and not have to go around looking for it,” said 22-year-old Linette Montana, whose designs will be featured in the show. “I like having the power to create trends and not follow them.”

Organized by the University Fashion Group, the annual show is expected to attract more than 5,000 people. New this year is a segment called Winning Season, which will feature game-day garments made of fabric donated by the University Co-op, a founding and title sponsor of the show.

We checked in with five students who are part of this year’s show about their collections, inspiration and hopes for the future.

ELEXIS SPENCER, 20, from Harker Heights

How long have you been interested in fashion?

I remember falling in love with fashion when “That’s So Raven” aired on TV. Raven, an eccentric teenager aspiring to be a fashion designer, somehow ignited the desire in me. Come to find out, fashion is in my family as well, so I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later!

What do you like about being a designer?

I’ve learned from this past year that being a fashion designer is a lot of work. From concept to creation, designing is 95 percent hard work and 5 percent glamour. I love being a part of the process.

How do you describe your style?

My aesthetic harmonizes the softness of draping with a flattering, tailored look. I love to showcase the body and skin, because the body is a canvas for clothing, and it is so beautiful. Why not show off some skin?

What was your inspiration for this year’s fashion show?

My inspiration for everything in the fashion show was slightly different yet held a similar, unifying theme — representing black people in an uplifting way (and people of color in general).

What are you favorite colors and textures to work with?

I have found myself working with neutral colors and smooth textures recently. I like to keep my textiles simple because my designs are bold.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?

Being a designer, patience is critical. You may make many mistakes, and sometimes even have to start over again. There are many sleepless nights, and we just push through it. There’s nothing else I would rather be doing with sacrificing my sleep than this.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I hope to be a full-time freelance designer. Having that kind of flexibility is living the dream. However, after I have retired from that life, I would love to be a fashion professor.

Why do you encourage people to come out to the show?

I think I’ve encouraged a lot of people to come out because this is our big final project — this is what we have dedicated these past two semesters to working on. We love to have people come out because we are proud of our work and want to share that with the world. Some of us are hoping to get connections and jobs from this show as well.

DEE TING, 22, born in Cebu City, Philippines (moved to Chicago at 10, then McKinney at 13)

How long have you been interested in fashion?

I started really caring about the way I presented myself in the seventh grade; in the eighth grade I experimented with rocking all black clothes, leather biker jackets, a 6-inch mohawk and big Dr. Martens boots. Eventually I grew out of that phase when I went into high school, where I found interest in more contemporary and tailored men’s fashion, wearing blazers and chinos and ties every day. I never thought I would pursue a career in fashion, but it had always been a passion of mine.

What do you like about being a designer?

I love being able to manifest my thoughts, feelings and ideas into a real-life tangible product, and to have other people connect with it and identify with it, so much so that they would want to wear it and represent themselves through my work. It gives me a sense of connection with other people that can’t be found in other forms of art.

How do you describe your style?

It’s all over the place sometimes, but I’ve found interest in minimalist streetwear and dressed-down kimonos. As far as my design style, I take great inspiration from concepts and moods more than anything. I love thinking of what the people of tomorrow will be wearing, so I emphasize futurism and minimalism. I like to create bold, dramatic, yet simple garments that give a sense of the future of fashion.

What was your inspiration for this year’s fashion show?

For this year’s fashion show, I was inspired by the concept of contrast. The contrast between light and dark, new and old, future and past. I take a lot of inspiration from modern architecture, traditional Asian fashion, science-fiction films and concept artists like Ralph McQuarrie.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?

The hardest part about being a designer is knowing the balance between what you want to create and what people can relate to. At the end of the day, designers out in the real world have a job to do, and sometimes you have to sacrifice some creative input to make it work for the market.

What designers have inspired you?

I am inspired by Rick Owens, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Thierry Mugler and Gareth Pugh.

How has Austin influenced the way you design?

Austin is such a great incubator for the arts and self-expression. The city gives you a sense of courage and creative freedom that I have never felt before, and it inspired me to really dig deep and be fearless in my designs. I take the saying “Keep Austin Weird” to heart, and I let my inner weird shine through.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I’d like to think I’ll be well into my career as a designer, maybe even owning my own brand. However, I’m very open to the fact that maybe in 10 years my goals and interest will change. All I know is that in 10 years, I’ll still be doing what I love the most — creating.

Why do you encourage people to come out to the show?

I encourage people to come to the fashion show because it’s an incredible experience to see the manifestation of our thoughts, feelings and ideas come to life. Our garments represent who we are, where we come from and what we want to say to the world, and we’d love to share our story.

LINETTE MONTANA, 22, from El Paso

How long have you been interested in fashion?

Fashion has been a lifestyle for me, a reflection of my emotions, since childhood.

How do you describe your style?

Minimalistic, sophisticated and empowering.

What was your inspiration for this year’s fashion show?

I was inspired by a classic button-down and the feeling one gets by wearing one. Normally when a person wears a button-down they feel empowered, professional and sharp. I wanted to take this feeling and add to it an unexpected feeling of comfort. With the feeling of comfort comes a feeling of being free, free of worries and duties.

What are you favorite colors and textures to work with?

I love to work with both structured and flowy fabrics in order to create pieces with architectural elements as well ones with an airy and light feel.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?

The hardest part about being a designer is having to funnel all of your creative ideas in order to create a concrete design.

What designers have inspired you?

Palmer Harding, Céline, Delpozo.

How has Austin influenced the way you design?

Austin has unwrapped my creative side. People in Austin are very liberal and welcoming toward new ideas, creativity and voice. All these qualities are what make a fashion designer stand out.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Being the founder and CEO of a successful, ethically manufactured and eco-conscious brand. I believe that every individual and company should have a positive impact on the environment and impoverished societies that struggle to make a living on a daily basis.

Why do you encourage people to come out to the show?

It’s a great experience to be a part of designer’s debut into the fashion industry and to be able to attend the world’s biggest student fashion show.

JORDAN BUTLER, 22, from San Antonio

What do you like about being a designer?

I love the ability to create exactly what pops into my head. I also love being able to add to social conversations via the garments I produce. However, sometimes I just design garments to challenge my skills, or just simply because I think they’re fun.

How do you describe your style?

My personal style is, very much so, all over the place. I really like to mix masculine and feminine styles, so I’ll often shop in both sections. Nearly all of the clothes I wear are from thrift stores, nothing fancy and “vintage,” just whatever is cheap and wearable.

What was your inspiration for this year’s fashion show?

My entire collection began with my print. It’s an X-ray of human vertebrae and a pelvis and is so alluringly dark and magical. I decided to mix my print with some more classically denoted “feminine” design lines and came to this new men’s collection. I recognize that maybe there is a market out there for men who want a gown or a billowy pant, but maybe they want to keep this dark, eerie aesthetic along with it. I wanted to create a collection that would give a new outlet to a consumer who maybe feels that there is a slim availability of clothes that they can wear to express a different style intention and also have a pleasing fit.

What are you favorite colors and textures to work with?

A friend of mine once told me, “Jewel tones remind me of you,” and I think that answers this question perfectly. I enjoy the manipulation of fabric through its presence under light, so I often use fabric that reflects light dynamically.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?

For me, I am so overly analytical, I feel like I suppress my own creativity at times. I’d say I’m a 70/30 split between analytical and creative. It’s insanely difficult for me to just let myself work and not overthink the design and process.

What designers have inspired you?

Grace Wales Bonner is all-around amazing! I love Alexander McQueen for his theater, impeccable storytelling and tailoring. Comme des Garcons for their excessive use of fabric and abandonment of the typical human form through dramatic shapes and textures. Palomo Spain for pioneering a new form of masculinity in fashion and giving an outlet to those who don’t want menswear to be confined to a two-piece suit.

How has Austin influenced the way you design?

If anything, it’s taught me how not to design. The style here is very homogeneous to me. Of course, there are exceptions to that, but generally, I feel like Austin is one of those cities where everyone tries to be different, but everyone just ends up being the same.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully backpacking somewhere beautiful.

Why do you encourage people to come out to the show?

Going to the fashion show my freshman year is one of the reasons I switched majors. Nothing distinctly mesmerized me about it, but when I sat there watching garments come down the runway, I began thinking of garments that I wanted to make and decided to take some design classes, just to break up all of the science classes I was taking, and I finally switched to design a year later. This is not to say that I think people should attend because they should switch their major, but this is an exciting event that can break up the monotony that you feel in your life.

VERONICA LOZANO, 21, from Laredo

How long have you been interested in fashion?

As a child, I grew up with loving, creative parents. My father was a radio host/singer-songwriter, and my mother was always making her own home décor. Because of this, I was naturally drawn to all things creative. Throughout school I tried several instruments, art, sculpting, photography and even theater. In the end, I could not get apparel design out of my head, and by high school I decided to follow my heart.

What do you like about being a designer?

Everything! You’re constantly working in an industry and environment that challenges you, and you’re surrounded by passionate, inspiring individuals.

What was your inspiration for this year’s fashion show?

My biggest inspiration for this year’s fashion show was designing things that would make the women in them feel empowered, beautiful and delicate at the same time.

What is the hardest part about being a designer?

Right now, it would have to be how time-consuming it can be. From the design process to the construction, it can get overwhelming. But the feeling of a finished garment makes it all worth it!

What designers have inspired you?

Josep Font of Delpozo, Rosie Assoulin, Valentino, Christian Dior.

How has Austin influenced the way you design?

I came from a town where there is basically zero fashion awareness. Coming to a creative place such as Austin definitely helped open my eyes to so many different people and their unique styles.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I see myself continuing to grow and gain knowledge in the design industry as well as contributing to ethical, environmental sustainability. I find it extremely important to become a part of the solution and not the problem.

Why do you encourage people to come out to the show?

To support young, rising professionals that poured their heart and souls into creating these amazing collections! I have met some of the most hardworking individuals here in our design program — it’s a must to come watch!



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