So I had the craziest day this past weekend. No, make that two days cause I didn’t go to bed. Or actually it was the craziest past couple of weeks, really. Let me explain…
On Saturday, October 6th, I had the honor of being a booth exhibitor, panelist, and showcasing fashion designer at WorldWideWomen Girls’ Festival at Santa Clara University. It was an extremely busy day but an amazing experience being able to inspire girls of all ages through mentoring and sharing my love for fashion. You might have seen a little peak on my Instagram Story, but here’s how my days really went:
6:00 AM Stretch, gym, shower, breakfast (kinda irrelevant but hey it’s real life).
9:00 AM – 11:59 PM I’ve always wanted to try sewing for 24 hours straight and guess what, I did (or at least as close to 24 hours as I could get). From 9 am Friday morning to 9 am Saturday morning, I made a total of three things: a shirred top, my finale dress (with a 200 inch curved hem had to be sewn, trimmed, clipped, ironed, understitched, and pressed), and my own outfit. I dealt with random things in between including fixing my sewing machine, finding shoes, making changes to call time, sending out reminders, printing promotional materials, and packing things.
12:00 AM – 9:00 AM Guess what, still sewing! In classic Angela fashion, I pulled an all-nighter, starting to sew my own outfit at 2am and worked down to the last minute at 9am. It was this navy satin jumpsuit with cap sleeves, french darts, straight pants, and an open back with a scooped waistline. Like all my last minute projects, it’s not perfect but at least I had something nice to wear! Was kinda delusional and had to shower, eat a giant cookie, and maybe shed a few tears before I was able to finish.
9:00 AM Got dressed, packed my things, and rushed out the door. Squeezed in a maybe 20 minute nap on the car ride there.
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM I had book signings at my booth in the expo. The booth continued to run throughout the day with the help of family friends, but I was only here in the morning. I shared my designs through a lookbook we put together and the two of my garments on display. We got hundreds of entries for our raffle for either a signed copy of my book or a free sewing lesson from me with two of the winner’s friends. Congrats to the Elsy H. and Sheyla P.! I’ll be contacting you shortly.
12:00 PM- 1:45 PM I was on the Arts and Entertainment panel to speak about my learning experiences, ups and downs, and advice to teens. Afterwards, there was one-on-one mentoring where participants could come speak to me individually and ask specific questions. I got to speak more in detail about business, branding, design, production, and future plans.
1:45 PM – 2:45 PM I quite literally ran to the theater rooms where the models were doing their hair and makeup. There was a bit of a mishap here, but everything worked out in the end. After frantically trying to get my clothes from the booth to our room, the girls got changed super fast while I made last minute adjustments. Oh and shoes! There was a lot of shoe-swapping including myself to get everyone’s look just right.
2:45 PM – 3:30 PM All of us headed to rehearsal with the 80+ other people who were also in the show. By all of us I mean the models, me, my mom, my sister, my sister’s friend, my best friend, my show production manger, my mentor, and my photographer. Yep, it takes a team! The models practiced walking and posing in their order to the music. Then we got a 10 minute break back in our room before they lined up backstage.
3:35 PM – 4:00 PM Show time! The models walked out in their groups and absolutely killed it! Then there’s me with my half bow/wave cause I got so nervous, haha.
It was so surreal being able to see my designs out on the stage after so much hard work. I got this really weird tingling yet calm, an “I’m almost going to burst” but softly, feeling inside of me once I realized what was happening. It was unlike any other weird feeling I’ve experienced before. Like after what, 7 years of sewing and designing? It was like everything I have every done was leading up to this moment. It wasn’t a wow or grand moment; instead, knowing that I still have the fire in me to really do something. Like I said in my panel, it was and still is a bit hard for me to figure out what my next steps should be after publishing my book. I just don’t know how to top that, you know? However this experience made me understand that my next steps don’t have to be big, I just have to push myself hard enough so that I create work I’m proud of.
Ok enough chatter, here are the real details to my collection!
This collection is centered around three prints that I designed, using photos from my trip to New York this summer. I manipulated the photos to create different colors, repeats, and sizes before printing them onto fabric. Combined with modern, feminine silhouettes, the line represents my exploration in both design and life.
In other words, I went to Parsons’ Pre-college Summer Intensive in July (more on this in a later blog post!) and one of the assignments was to create prints out of “ordinary” pictures in Photoshop. We walked around the streets of New York to look for subjects with interesting lines, colors, or composition. For orange print, it was originally a picture of a bicycle wheel, which I inverted the colors and liquefied. Then we have the jewel toned print composed of windows where I mirrored every other image to form a diamond pattern. The blue, Chanel-inspired print, was pictures of a bench mirrored vertically. We didn’t get a chance to see these prints be actually turned into fabric/garments, only printed on paper, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to continue to build on this work.
I ordered like 27 yards of the designs printed onto varying fabrics, including cotton sateen, faille, and crepe. It was super exciting to be able to finally have been a part of the whole design process, being able to work with my own fabric. My focus was on the fabrics I designed so I didn’t go too crazy with the lines of the clothes themselves. It turned out to be 3 mini collections, separated by fabric, in which I used white and similar silhouettes to tie them into one line. There’s a good variety, from flared dresses to structured blazers to shirred tops to tailored pants, so no matter what style you like, there’s something for you.
There were so many other things going on in my life that I had to take care of that I didn’t get a chance to really work on the clothes until the end of September. The past a week and a half was composed of 16 hour work days where I sewed my heart out until 2 am and got up at 6 am to go to the gym. It was probably the most sewing I’ve ever done in such a short time, the most finger pricks from needles I’ve had, and the most time I’ve spent sprawled on the floor cutting fabric. Honestly, I don’t know how I did it, in addition to all the other preparations, plus school, college classes, doctors appointments, multiple runs to the fabric store, fittings, meetings, emails, and another mentoring event the previous Saturday. It was a test not only to my technical ability to sew fast, but also to my determination and ability to work under pressure. Again, I’m really proud to have pushed myself because I’ve learnt so much through this challenge.
Nevertheless my sewing skills have definitely improved:
- I’ve gotten really good at invisible zippers and can do them in minutes now without any bumps at the seams.
- Print matching? After working with those complex prints? Easy!
- I never make clothes for anyone else (or have I ever I think) so this was a learning experience for me, trying to make clothes for other people of different sizes. Because of the short timeline, I didn’t get to measure the girls before I started cutting fabric which was pretty scary. Also, we only had one fitting a few days before the show where I only had finished half of the clothes to fit, and in other cases, we didn’t get a chance to do a fitting at all. I had to go with gut instincts in creating patterns and what outfit to make for whom, then make minor adjustments with safety pins on show day. I’m really lucky that everything turned out so well since I’m used to trying things on multiple times during the sewing process to make sure they’re fitting properly on myself.
This line is completely different from anything else I’ve ever done and although outside of my comfort zone, it’s definitely my design and embodies my design aesthetic. Prior to developing this line, I was having a hard time differentiating between my personal style and my style as a designer. I was subconsciously thinking that everything that I designed had to be something that I would want to wear. This created a design block in my head because my personal style is limited and something I haven’t fully developed yet.
After making the decision to use my Parsons’ prints, I finally learned that I don’t necessarily have to design clothes that I would wear myself, yet they can still represent me as a designer. I’m not in love with the garments nor could I see them in my wardrobe, yet I like them and am super proud to claim them as my work. In the time to come, I’ll continue to learn and discover my strengths and unique point of view in design.
Part 1- “The Window Print”
Georgia: Flared dress with front pockets, princess seams, invisible zipper, lined bodice.
Mahati: Tee with an elastic scrunch at the bust and wide-legged window print pants with fly front.
Vedika: Window print tie-blouse and white tailored twill shorts with pockets.
Part 2- “The Blue Print”
Erika: Shirred top with elastic cap sleeves/neckline and tailored pants with side zipper.
Jasi: Long sleeve wrap dress with ties, lined bodice, elastic wrists, ruffles.
Sarah: Princess seam top with ruffle straps, peplum, lined bodice, and white denim pants.
Part 3- “The Bicycle Print”
Jasmine: Wrap blouse with long ties and white denim skirt with orange topstitching, pockets.
Alex: Cropped lined blazer with contrast lapel, white strapless boned top, and high waisted shorts with invisible zipper, pockets.
Esha: Bralette/bustier inspired dress, entirely lined with full high-low skirt, invisible zipper.
Back to my day!
4:00 PM- 5:00 PM We went outside to take some group shots and the individual photos you see above. Thankfully the weather was super nice and the campus made for a really nice background.
As the girls finished their own photos, I was backstage clearing out the dressing room, packing the clothes and shoes back up.
5:00 PM We wrapped up the booth, packed everything back into the car, and promptly crashed at home.
A BIG THANK YOU to all of my friends and family for helping me out! I am so lucky to have had you on my team. I wish we took more photos together because truly, I couldn’t have done it without you. My mom, my dad, my sister, Nathania, Elton, Welson, Yung, Rachel, Ivy, Lauren, Natalie, models- you are all so amazing!
Was that not the longest blog post you’ve ever read? At this point we’re at 2100 words so I think I should cut it off. If only I could write this many words for school, haha.
Thanks for reading and for your support as always!