O'More Culture

A blog dedicated to documenting O'More College of Design campus life, collaborative projects, student travels and designer personalities.

To learn more, visit www.omorecollege.edu

Part Two: New Experiences at New York Fashion Week

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jennifer Nina Evans, a 2012 O’More graduate who debuted her spring/summer “Addiction” collection during the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City Sept. 8 at the Empire Hotel Rooftop. 

The Middle Tennessee native exhibited 12 looks alongside five other emerging designers during #NYFW. Evans also participated in the 2012 and 2013 Nashville Fashion Week.

In this two-part series, Jennifer will give readers insight into her collection and her first Fashion Week experiences.

SS 14 Addiction: New York Fashion Week
by Jennifer Nina Evans

The plane lands and everywhere I turn had signs saying “Welcome to New York City.” The taxi driver, who acted like the perfect tour guide, explained that she had a client earlier that morning arriving for fashion week, after learning I was visiting the city to show a collection during fashion week. 

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Each day started by wearing original Jennifer Nina Evans brand clothing, fixing my makeup the very best I could, and a cup of coffee.  Each morning I walked down to the nearest coffee shop to catch up on all the after-party madness, recap on all the shows from the day before, and network with the people I had met the day before—in the hopes of making a lasting impression on the wonderful people I bumped into during this trip. Sitting at the coffee you never know who will walk by (re: Ryan Gosling).

Then started the circling, from the front entrance of Lincoln Center to the backstage entrance to catch a glimpse of the people attending the shows, getting interviewed by magazines and blogs, and watching the runway shows moments after they walked. WWD, The Daily, and Luxury Living had daily prints covering each days excitement. Standing within reach of the designers, their collections, and the celebrities there to watch the show gave me so much motivation and drive to continue working non stop to the top. 

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Seeing the street fashion, literally everyone brings out their best for fashion week, showing the importance that fashion has on culture. The entire city celebrates fashion week with the large designers debuting their collections to hit the shelves next season, trunk shows displaying items for buyers, invite only parties, and press capturing every moment by being the first to interview and post the whole scoop. During fashion week everyone is networking, getting their photo taken, handing out business cards, invites, and flyers, anything to get noticed. 

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Seeing the progress I have made from my last fashion show, NYFW 13 Blood Collection at Nashville Fashion Week, and since graduating from O’More College of Design, really warmed my heart. Seeing growth in my ability to produce clothing that fits models without changes, knowing I made everything from head to toe, seeing that I have hit the mark on so many of this spring/summers trends, including use of whites, pastel colors, pleating details, cutouts, panels of prints, remains the biggest highlight of this whole experience.

NYFW made me feel like I belong.  It was worth all the hardships to have that feeling.

Looks from my collection:

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Guest Blog Post: New Experiences at New York Fashion Week

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jennifer Nina Evans, a 2012 O’More graduate who debuted her spring/summer “Addiction” collection during the 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City Sept. 8 at the Empire Hotel Rooftop. 

The Middle Tennessee native exhibited 12 looks alongside five other emerging designers during #NYFW. Evans also participated in the 2012 and 2013 Nashville Fashion Week.

In this two-part series, Jennifer will give readers insight into her collection and her first Fashion Week experiences.

SS 14 Addiction
by Jennifer Nina Evans

The SS 14 Collection “Addiction” takes the journey of the socialite having a well put-together life on the outside, with little details hinting into their troubled rebellious youth. 

This collection took about four months from researching/sketching to the final product. Something I want to achieve as a designer is to take a dark subject matter, and turn it into something beautiful.

I took a beautiful Mount Fuji sunset photo, delicate silks, and pops of lace, and juxtaposed them with the use of varsity and moto style jackets with contrasting sleeves, skulls and razor blades.  By doing this, a mix of youthful couture is born.

I picked Mount Fuji for the topic of addiction because of its forest Aokigahara (青木ヶ原), also known as the Sea of Trees. It’s a beautiful dense forest with an extremely high suicide rate, making Mount Fuji the focus for this collection. I used the sunset image of the mountain for color palette, silhouette, and print inspiration. The collection contains ready-to-wear basics, staple garments, and luxurious evening wear completing the spectrum of looks this outstanding woman needs to turn heads in a crowd. 

My process for any collection always starts with research. Research, research, research everything! I watch all the trends for color palette, silhouette, shapes, fabrics, patterns, cultural movements and repeats of decades. It’s good to see what’s happening now and cross reference from the past to predict the next season’s trends.

After getting an idea of where the trends are heading, I see which trends match up with my inspirational ideas. It’s really more organic than it sounds. It just happens. I live and breathe the inspirations, let the words and thoughts take over to develop a concept story for the clothing to follow. The sketches start to flow and the planning begins. I like my collections to tell a story, they have a certain order to them that flow from start to finish. The research and design process takes the longest of the whole process, each collection becomes my baby and I become obsessed. 

Next is the patterning, draping, grading, and fabric buying. I start my patterns fresh each collection. I correct mistakes from the last collection this way, and continue to improve my variety of silhouettes each collection. Quality of fabric is so important to me. I use the highest-quality fabrics that I can get my hands on. They fit the body best and are not a struggle to work with. I shop everywhere for fabric, even get fabric custom printed, like the mountain scene used in this collection. You never know where you will find the perfect fabric at the perfect price with the perfect amount. I always buy in bulk, it’s really a problem. When I fall in love with a fabric I must have it. I always find a use for it somehow.

The construction part of the collection is the most tedious. I have to control everything. Everything has to be perfect or it gets redone until it is perfect. Time management is key. I never procrastinate, and still end up working beyond 24/7. [note: My number one goal is to be able to quit my day job so I can focus all my attention on my brand].  

Once things start to come together I fit everything on my fit model. I compare this to the fit of the model form where the patterns were draped from. After fittings, styling and editing take place on each look.

I like for each look to stand on its own, and for the collection as a whole to read as one. No matter which sets of pieces you look at, you know it all came from the same collection.

This is the first of a two-part series on Jennifer Nina Evans’ 2014 spring/summer collection that the designer debuted during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 8, 2013.

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Addiction inspiration

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Addiction sketches 

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The aDARable label: Part Three

Today’s guest blog post is written by Martha Montiel-Lewis, the founder of DAR Project. The non-profit organization works with consignment sales around the country to collect items for distribution to low-income communities, both domestically and abroad.

This spring, the “Designing for a Cause” class at O’More College of Design is partnering with DAR Project to produce a Spring 2014 children’s clothing line that will give hope to Haitian women in extreme need. Martha and the participating fashion design students will periodically record their experiences through this blog.

I believe everyone has a special destiny, but not everyone resolves to attain it because it takes hard work. Reaching one’s destiny requires leaving behind familiar surroundings. It also demands persistence, the ability to change, when appropriate, and the willingness to respond to those incredible gut-checks that point you in the right direction.

I’ve been persistent in following my personal destiny, but while in Haiti I came to a mental and physical road block.  I thought to myself, “How in the H-E-double-hockey-sticks am I going to make this work?”  Like I mentioned in my previous post, Tibuk, the village we are working in, has no running water.  No electricity. No resources. I knew it was going to be crazy tough, but I didn’t realize how tough it was truly going to be. Then I thought about my partners at O’More. I thought about Annette and the students designing the line. I thought about Emery and Gigi. What lesson was I going to teach them if I just threw in the towel? Then I got to know the personal stories of the women sewing the line. It was at that moment I knew I couldn’t quit, I couldn’t give up. These women need this opportunity more than we can fathom.

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Meet Gabrielle Aliette. Gabrielle was born with a severe clubfoot defect. She has used crutches her entire life. She most likely needs an amputation and a prosthetic, but in Haiti this is almost impossible. Gabrielle has never been able to work because of her clubfoot. It was amazing seeing her sewing patterns using her one good foot. I was amazed by her fun spirit and her determination to do as well as the other women.

Gabrielle’s story changed me. From that point on I’ve been determined to make this project happen. And what do you know… things have started falling into place.

The first pieces of the puzzle that fell into place was when we found an incredible Haitian project manager who knows about quality and teaches at a vocational school on Cap Haitien. He is thrilled to be a part of this project. He has the kindest heart, and he was truly an answered prayer.

Second, on my flight down to Miami, I sat next to a wonderful couple. We exchanged stories, and we actually ended up knowing some of the same people. That’s not the part that is exciting. It’s that on my flight home, I sat next to a lady and again we shared stories and she ended up being the sister of the woman I sat next to on my way down!! She knew all about DAR Project and aDARable because her sister shared our conversation! What are the chances of that?!

Then there was the fact that the women needed new industrial sewing machines. We needed one for each one of them. A total of 10. I had only been back for a week when we received news of a donation of 7 industrial sewing machines!!! Jamie and Annette at O’More have opened their hearts to believing in this project and were able to give the women the donation of the sewing machines.

I guess what I’m trying to say is nothing good comes easy, right Kayla?! I am meant to be working on this project. These women need us, the town of Tibuk, Haiti needs us, and we…. well, we need them just as much.

The aDARable Label: Part Two

Today’s guest blog post is written by Martha Montiel-Lewis, the founder of DAR Project. The non-profit organization works with consignment sales around the country to collect items for distribution to low-income communities, both domestically and abroad.

This spring, the “Designing for a Cause” class at O’More College of Design is partnering with DAR Project to produce a Spring 2014 children’s clothing line that will give hope to Haitian women in extreme need. Martha and the participating fashion design students will periodically record their experiences through this blog.

Haiti. Where do I start? I spent my time watching the people, the children, the women, the poorest of the poor. I mentally swam in water so deep it was hard for me to breathe. I came to help, and to empower, but what I didn’t realize was I was actually going to learn more about myself than I’ve ever known. Haiti needs us, but our hearts, our souls, need the Haitian people.

I went there with a vision to empower women through our clothing project, aDARable. As many of you already know, this spring the “Designing for a Cause” class at O’More College of Design is partnering with us at DAR Project to produce a Spring 2014 children’s clothing line that will give hope to Haitian women in extreme need.

The women in Tibuk, Haiti need us and this project. It was extremely difficult at times to wrap my head around this project. After my first day there, I cried and emailed Annette, the instructor of the class, because I didn’t think it would be possible. But after that moment I had so many Jesus moments, and I know WE are suppose to being doing this project.

One of the dresses in the aDARable line.

One of the dresses in the aDARable line.

They say those with little give the most. It is so true. These beautiful people have so little… no running water, no electricity, very little food, money—but they give you so much love. Love truly is Haiti’s religion and it’s become mine too. I fell in love with this beautiful country, and its people, more than I ever realized I would. I have so much to share with you, but I’m still processing everything. I will be back with more soon.

In the meantime, here are some pictures of my journey:

Guest Blog Post: the aDARable Label

Today’s guest blog post is written by Martha Montiel-Lewis, the founder of DAR Project. The non-profit organization works with consignment sales around the country to collect items for distribution to low-income communities, both domestically and abroad.

This spring, the “Designing for a Cause” class at O’More College of Design is partnering with DAR Project to produce a Spring 2014 children’s clothing line that will give hope to Haitian women in extreme need. Martha and the participating fashion design students will periodically record their experiences through this blog.

HOLA, soy Martha! As I type, I am on a plane to Haiti—just another step in an exciting project I will tell you about.  

Let me tell you a little about myself: like a lot of you, I have this strong desire in my heart to make a difference and change someone’s life. Growing up with a father in the Army, and as a first generation Latin-American, I’ve had the incredible experience to see more of the world than most of the people I’ve met. As a young person travelling the globe, I was struck at how some children had so little, while others were blessed with an abundance—and this based purely on the family and community where they were born. It’s a fundamental concept, one of fairness and justice, that has always torn at my conscience. 

For those that know me, or have followed my DAR Project blog, it’s no secret that I’ve struggled a lot lately. I’ve felt a huge gap between what I know in my heart that I am meant to do and where I actually am, in terms of my career and what I am doing in the world. I know that I am on the path to finding that balance, but have been asking myself the same question over and over: “How in the heck is this [project] ever going to happen?”
 
Today I realized DAR Project is on the right path; because today, eight beautiful and creative souls presented to our team designs that will give life-changing opportunities. You see, these eight people have decided to join us on a journey to provide 10 women in Haiti with opportunities that will effect their daily lives.
 
These amazingly talented young women, all fashion design students at O’More College Design, will be the ones designing aDARable. aDARable will be a cause-driven children’s clothing line, one that will create pieces in sizes 2T to 6, all designed and patterned by these students. With the guidance of their talented O’More instructor Annette Medcalf, the garments (designed by the College ladies) will be produced with love by 10 Haiti hands. And in Spring 2014, children all over the South will (hopefully) be running around with aDARable printed on their labels…. and all those proceeds will benefit the participating Caribbean women.

I encourage you to read this story that details our initiative to really understand what we are doing and how it will change lives.
 
I can’t wait to introduce you to each one—the students and the Haitian women—individually very soon. In the meantime, I will leave you with a couple of pictures of the beautiful Haitian faces I will be seeing in the next few hours!

imageThe seven O’More students and me (far right), after their design and concept presentation
 
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Twenty Haitian women “try out” for one of 10 spots to produce aDARable

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Haitian women during their job interviews earlier this month. (far right) Older sewing machines that were donated for women to use







GUEST BLOG POST: Jazz Age Lawn Party

Today’s guest blog post is written by  Emily Mae Anderson, a fashion design alumna who showed her “I Got Life” collection in the 14th Annual Eloise Student Fashion Show. Emily is the personal and research assistant to President Dr. Mark Hilliard, and assists with event planning, research, the O’More Publishing division and more. Emily Mae will periodically record some of her travel experiences with the College through this blog below.

Jazz Age Lawn Party
by Emily Mae Anderson 

After Dr. Hilliard and I arrived in New York City, we immediately we took the ferry over to Governors Island for the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party. We came to the Big Apple for it—this event that Women’s Wear Daily calls “one of the best fashion parties of each year.”

It was like stepping right into the Roaring ’20s! Everyone on the Governors Island was channeling the Prohibition era (including Dr. Hilliard and I!) in old-fashion fun with fringy skirts, boater hats and antique threads. Nearly everyone was dressed in costume and either languidly sprawled out on picnic blankets or perched on the dance floor doing the fast-paced Charleston. When the band wasn’t performing, an antique phonograph played vintage records to sustain the lively and on-point mood.

We were surrounded by vintage dealers peddling everything from beautiful Twenties attire to ’30s clothes and accessories. A spontaneous croquet game even started up in an open patch of grass!

It was an amazing event—one that the College intends to throw in similar fashion within the next year.


Emily Mae Anderson
 of Joelton, Tenn, is a 2012 fashion design graduate of O’More College of Design. She is a personal and research assistant to College President Mark Hilliard. 



Jazz Age Party on the lawn

Elaborate picnics were set up everywhere


Dr. Mark Hilliard and Emily Mae Anderson



Guest Blog Post: Costume Creation Chaos

Today’s guest blog post is written by Aja Blumanhourst, a May 2012 fashion design graduate who showed her “My Muse” collection in the 14th Annual Eloise Student Fashion Show. Aja, who has aspirations to pursue costume design in the film industry, was scheduled to report to Imagination Costume in Las Vegas this month. But due to uncanny circumstances, she had to change her plans.  She will be documenting her internship experience through this blog below.

Costume Creation Chaos
by Aja Blumanhourst

If I had internet access the past few days and had told this story piece by piece, it might’ve sounded a little discouraging. But over the past few months, God has been preparing me for a week such as this–-so when plans changed at the very last minute it didn’t seem quite so disheartening.

On Wednesday, Aug. 1, [husband] Eric and I began our 2,000-mile adventure across the United States, from Nashville to Imagination Costume in Las Vegas. I was so excited to move forward and begin my own career in an industry I love.  The first day we drove more than 700 miles and stopped at a hotel. By 7 a.m. the next day we’re on the last trek of our journey… or so we thought.

My spedometer read 1,700 miles when I received the call from my teacher. She informed me that between a lighting and sprinkler issue, Imagination Costume—the amazing professional costume shop I was scheduled to intern with in mere days—had just lost millions of dollars in costumes and products. They wouldn’t be back up and running for me to intern with them for at least a month. I think my jaw dropped. I was speechless for a few minutes and my brain was racing, wondering what the hell am I supposed to do now? We were (literally) thousands of miles into the trip.

After several attempts to actually talking to the person I was supposed to intern under and with the day light wasting away, it was time to make a decision. I had to weigh this out and think it quickly through. Here’s what through my mind:

1. I’m not about to drive all the way back to Nashville.

2. There is nothing in Las Vegas if I’m not doing my internship.

3. After my internship was over my husband and I were going to move to Los Angeles.

4. L.A. is only four hours away, but where are we going to stay on such short notice? I thought I had over a month to figure this out!

Each of us called our family and friends—-and we finally catch a break! A relative on Eric’s side will let us stay with them for a few days while we switch gears.

There is no news to report yet. I’ve planted seeds, now I’m waiting to see which ones grow.

After all this, I just want to thank the people God has put in my path that have provided for me. From my family and friends to complete strangers that have offered their hospitality at a moment’s notice, it has really amazed me. I hope that I have the opportunity to do the same.

I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and if this waiting period is only so that I can have the time to sit down and spend the afternoon catching up with people I haven’t seen in a long time, then I can deal with that… and I think I can get used to the scenery here, too.

Stay tuned for more of Aja’s journey.

Aja Blumanhourst of Altoona, Iowa, is a 2012 fashion design graduate of O’More College of Design. She will be interning for Imagination Costume in Las Vegas. You can read more about Aja on her blog here.
 


Imagination Costume work

Imagination Costume work 

A look from Aja’s “My Muse” collection that premiered at the Eloise Student Fashion Show

Another look from Aja’s “My Muse” collection 

Los Angeles scenery 

Video by Viscom alum Joshua Britt.

Twenty-five students departed from the Nashville airport on Monday, May 21 to embark on an educational journey through Europe. The group spent 12 days sightseeing and learning—a faculty-lead trip that included a cruise down the Danube River, touring museums and experiencing Eastern Europe’s unique culture throughout Hungary, Austria, Prague and Germany.

The video containing photography from the trip was put together by Josh for a school project. Music: Canzon I by “In Stil Moderno” from “Musica Polonica: Eastern European Music of the 17th Century.” Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Dear Hemingway

Today’s guest blog post is written by Jessa Sexton, Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the College and Executive Editor of O’More Publishing.  Jessa recently traveled to Illinois with O’More peers to celebrate the birth of Ernest Hemingway and documented the experience below.

On July 21, 1899, barely making it in before the turn of the century, the writer who is credited with defining his generation and changing American literature was born, and on July 21, 2012—113 years later—I stood in the very room where he was born.

Ernest Hemingway has been a favorite of mine since I wrote a small thesis on him during my graduate studies. With the popularity of The Paris Wife by Paula McLain and Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Hemingway has been thrust, once again, in to the spotlight of current culture. He was a man known for his bravery, manliness, larger-than-life personality, writing talent, and many wives. Beneath all of that was a cat enthusiast, an interesting lover-fighter mix, a well-traveled adventurer, and—in his heart—a sensitive observer of the nature of human kind. 

I’m teaching Hemingway in some of the literature classes offered at O’More this summer and fall, and I decided that I am far enough into his works to make it my goal to read everything he has written. On top of that, I am reading biography after biography written by researchers, friends, and those women he loved and wrote about. When I found out about a birthday party in his home town of Oak Park, Ill., I did something completely out of character—I took a spontaneous trip to celebrate his birth in his birth town. Accompanied by President and fellow Hemingway fan Dr. K. Mark Hilliard, his personal assistant Emily Mae Anderson, and Publishing Associate and fashion student Ashley Balding, I said, “Happy Birthday, dear Hemingway,” in the best way possible.

Nothing compares to the experience of travel. We not only enjoyed Hemingway sites in Oak Park but also saw Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio as well as his Unity Temple, an interesting design for a place of worship. In Chicago, we took an architectural river tour and saw the blending of a myriad of styles that came from the minds of multiple designers after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. We spent hours looking at the works of Monet, Van Gogh, Dali, and Lichtenstein in the Art Institute of Chicago.

It wasn’t Oxford, England; the midlands of Ireland; or a tour of Germany—but I think we sometimes forget the treasures that lie only about an hour’s flight away from our front door. And on July 21, there was no place I wanted to be more than Oak Park, toasting one of the writers who has most influenced my teaching, my scholarship, and my own creative outlet of writing. 

(L-R) Emily Mae Anderson, Ashley Balding, Mark Hilliard, Jessa Sexton

Jessa Sexton in Hemingway’s birth room

 

Guest Blog Post: Fashion in Firenze

Today’s guest blog post is written by Lauren Cunningham, an O’More fashion design and graphic design student completing a summer internship for Italian menswear designer Borgo 28. Lauren will be periodically documenting her Florence summer adventures through this blog.

Fashion in Firenze
by Lauren Cunningham

Fashion design student; 2012 Borgo 28 intern

You know, waking up in a foreign country isn’t much different than waking up at home. Same ‘ole routine, same ‘ole breakfast…but the real magic happens when you take your first steps out the door and feast your eyes on the beauty of the city and unfamiliar culture that surrounds you. It’s exciting. Or at least that’s how I’ve started off every day in Firenze, Italia (Florence, Italy).

I came here to do an internship with menswear designer Borgo 28 (pronounced Borgo Ventiotto). They do contemporary mens clothing, focusing on details with a sartorial flair. All of the design work is done in Florence, but the collections are produced all over the world!

Getting the opportunity to intern with them has been such a spectacular opportunity. I have not only had the chance to attend Florence’s Men’s Fashion week (PITTI uomo), but also to attend PITTI filati, which was a kind of fashion market geared towards yarn, knitting companies and knitwear. Not only did I feel important as I drank my water out of my crystal goblet, but I was also responsible for deciding which yarn companies should send us color cards and samples for our collection in Fall 2013.

In addition to going to the fashion events, I’ve also had a hand in designing the Fall 2013 men’s knitwear range, as well as assisting in the design and creation of many of their marketing tools for Spring 2013 (such as their lookbook, visual aids for their swimwear displays in department stores in the U.S. and a target market presentation for their other label in Columbia).

It’s been a lot, but who can complain with these office rules?

1. Wine is always acceptable.

2. Lunch breaks are at least an hour.

3. 15 minutes late to work is actually being on time.

4. Caffe (coffee) breaks should happen often.

5. Your boss is your friend and your co-workers are your family.

With those in mind, it was impossible for me to ever have a hard day at work.

Ciao Ragazzi!

Lauren Cunningham of Little Rock, Ark., is a fashion design and graphic design student at O’More College of Design. She is interning for Italian menswear designer Borgo 28 in Florence this summer. You can read more about Lauren on her blogs here and here.