When Design Worlds Collide
The annual IIDA Center City Fashion Show competition took place recently at the House of Blues in downtown San Diego. Design Institute of San Diego sends a student team every year and this year's student team - made up of 4th year students Michelle Tello, Melissa Kemp, Ivan Segovia-Jimenez, Christina Barsegyan, Vanessa Manuele and Jennifer Schillinger - took 1st place in the Student Team category. We had the opportunity to sit down with the DISD team, still buzzing from their win, and talk about their amazing experience.
Q: How did you first hear about the IIDA Fashion Show?
Christina: Michelle. She joined IIDA. She's the student leader for the school along with Tamara and so she really just got on board and encouraged us to do it too.
Michelle: Tamara, the other student leader, was going to be working on the show with the firm she was interning at so I was going to be heading the DISD team.
Q: How long did you have to complete the project?
Michelle: We had about a month to complete our garment and concept board.
Q: What were the guidelines? Was there a specific theme to the fashion show?
Michelle: The theme to this year's fashion show was Music, since the event would take place at the House of Blues.
Christina: We created a Post-Apocalyptic Warrior, and she represented this idea of the world has come to an end and she is here to bring music back and this idea of unifying and creating community again through the voice and the sounds of music.
Q: What were the restrictions?
Vanessa: Each team had a sponsor. Ours was Sherwin Williams and we were allowed to use things that they gave us, and we had to use the fabric from the fabric grab as well. And that was really it. We had a lot of creative freedom as far as that goes.
Q: How did you all brainstorm about what your garment would look like?
Melissa: It was definitely an evolution. We had a Pinterest that everyone was pinning to. We got together a few different times to refine things because we had ideas of what we wanted but the materials limited us and we changed the design, I think in the end for the good, kind of like most things happen at the very last minute. That last week, it all finally came together. We just all kept pushing and asking for feedback.
Michelle: We all agreed that it was very important for us to push the envelope and really give them something completely unexpected. We knew that they would expect the garments to reflect a musical genre, or pay homage to a classic band/artist, and being the rebellious group that we are, we knew we would do none of that.
Vanessa: Just piecing it all together, it's just a bunch of little things. Cutting it, holding things together. Weaving fabric through the pieces. But it ended up looking really good.
Ivan: That was the easiest part for me. I think to me the hardest part was the design of the dress where it wasn't themey but it still conveyed our concept and we could still use our sponsor's materials. I think all three of those things were hard at first but when everything was all said and done, it ended up being amazing.
Jennifer: Our board was vertical compared to all the other boards that were horizontal so after we got that kind of edge, you know, and we started going outside of the box, we applied it to everything.
Christina: We broke rules. I think we all got stuck in the creative mode that sometimes we forget there's directions we're supposed to follow and so Michelle had some convincing to do with different committee members. Everybody was very accommodating and I think that really comes from having a strong concept. I think that is vital with everything that we've learned here at DISD. You come up with a concept and you have to see it through despite what other people might say or some of the road blocks you face along the way.
Q: Explain that moment when you were announced first place. What was that like?
Michelle: My heart almost jumped out of me! I was beyond ecstatic, my group members and I could only scream and jump in our excitement. It was an amazing feeling.
Ivan: There weren't that many schools so the first two schools walked and then of course we knew that we were the last ones to walk so before they even said - I don't even remember hearing them say Melissa's name or the school because we were already screaming bloody murder.
Jennifer: And they were announcing the next category and we were still screaming.
Q: What did you think about the design process for a costume and how does that vary from your typical design for interiors? Can you compare the two or are they too different?
Melissa: I certainly think there are a lot of things that cross over. The brainstorming process, developing that first concept was very much like we would do for interior design. Instead of bubble diagrams it was more sketches of different things, still using Pinterest and other inspiration and then collaborating together.
Christina: I think so too. I think it's really important to note that the process is the same but then the actual hands-on aspect is what really helps drive the understanding of what it takes to make something like this. I can draw something, but how do we actually go through the process of making it? And then you draw something and you're like "my material isn't really going to work." So then I'm back to the drawing board again. It's really similar to interior design.
Q: What is it that set you so far apart from the other schools?
Ivan: Work ethic.
Melissa: The concept!
Christina: Our concept was very abstract. And so it was this idea of you stick to your guns. You know, this is what we believe in. This is something we all felt very passionate about and we were excited about that and I think that's what leads us to this sense of confidence.
Ivan: I think another reason why we were so successful...from the very beginning, we never lost. Losing was never an option. We never talked about, "what happens if we lose?" Even before we had a concept, even before we had an outfit, even before we went there, we won.
Christina: There was this moment, we were at my house. It was the 11th hour and we were just trying to get this thing done. We finalized it and we stood back and we said, "win or lose, we're proud of what we did.â€? And at that point I think there was just this sense of relief and that's when the nerves just kind of faded. If the judges like it or if they don't, it doesn't matter because we love it. Either way, we're fine.
Christina: Yes, I agree with that.
Melissa: By this semester, not that it's easy, but it's a breath of fresh air after that 3rd year, 2nd semester.
Ivan: And there's also a confidence that comes with almost being done with the program. By now we've developed so many different concepts. We've done so many projects, built so many models. I think being further on in the program, a lot of what you've learned at DISD and being in college for X amount of years...it helps.
Michelle: Being further in the program, our ability to come up with better concepts or go through the design process as well as being able to think out of the box has gotten much better and helped us. Aside from it being extremely fun, it's great networking and a great experience to have on your résumé.
Q: Is there anything else anyone wants to add?
Vanessa: We are #1! We are #1!
Ivan: To the future teams, they've got big shoes to fill!
- DI Details July/August 2014
- DI Details March/April 2014
- DI Details Nov/Dec 2013
- DI Details Fall 2013
- DI Details July/August 2013
- DI Details May/June 2013
- DI Details March/April 2013
- A Commitment To Excellence Paves A Successful Path
- When Design Worlds Collide
- Trusting in the Process
- The Learning Never Ends
- DI Details Jan/Feb 2013
- DI Details Nov/Dec 2012
- DI Details Sept/Oct 2012
- DI Details July/August 2012
- DI Details May/June 2012
- DI Details March/April 2012
- DI Details Jan/Feb 2012
- DI Details Nov/Dec 2011
- DI Details Sept/Oct 2011
- DI Details July/August 2011
- DI Details May/June 2011
- DI Details March/April 2011
- DI Details Fall 2010
- DI Details July 2010
- DI Details June 2010
- DI Details May 2010
- DI Details April 2010
- DI Details Spring 2010
- DI Details 2008/2009