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Madison Bloom
Women's Wear, Menswear
Arlington, Washington

For me, ‘choosing design’ was not an act of free will. I’d liken it more to a reflex: an involuntary spasm of the mind, which I could not suppress. Even prior to recognizing any conscious will-to-design, I couldn’t walk by a rack of clothing without mentally plucking apart and reassembling its contents, in the hopes of a better composition of elements. Needless to say, shopping has been a lifelong struggle. Clothing interests me because of its direct relationship with the body; we’ve been attempting to perfect and distort this relationship for centuries. It is my hope that a convergence of this need to improve and question will produce clothing that is as functional as it is visually and tangibly exciting.

Alexis Drattell
Children's Wear
Long Island, New York

As Gore Vidal stated, “Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” This brief yet bold reflection describes my sentiments towards the world of fashion. As a young girl, I was always playing dress-up with my mother’s wardrobe as a visually creative outlet. This allowed me to realize at a young age that fashion was a more than just a pastime, but where I wanted to be. I chose children’s wear because I am fascinated and truly inspired by the curiosity and imaginative minds of children, which is something that somehow seems to get lost along the way to adulthood. I want to reflect the ingenuity of children through my designs.

Kourtney Hankins

With a strong design point of view, I take my strengths in color, bold lines, and outlandishness and provide a direct message of my inspirations. I am constantly fueled by random creativity and take the art of experimentation beyond limits. My aesthetic is driven towards strong, bold color combinations and graphic elements. Raised in a military family, I’ve always traveled, thus developing at an early age an appreciation for different cultures and a unique point of view. I come from a creative family and art has always been my strongest element. I realized I wanted to become a designer at a very young age and never stopped on my journey to achieve my goal. I now travel the world, constantly searching for inspiration to create visually pleasing pieces of art.

Michael Maiello
Troy, New York

The youngest of six, I come from the small city of Troy, in upstate New York. My interest in clothing was piqued at a young age when my grandmother would work on her sewing machine, a Bernina 802. A background in fine art has also aided my exploration into a career in apparel design and construction. For me, fashion is a functional approach to applying creativity. I draw inspiration from everything from social dynamics to an assortment of historical domains and vintage clothing. My playful approach to color and pattern is a major component of my creative process. I believe art and design are synonymous. I am excited to apply my trade in a contemporary and ecological context.

Manuela Ocampo
Bogota, Colombia

Having an architect as a father and a textile designer as a mother influenced my artistic interests at a very young age. Crafts and handmade pieces came naturally to me. That made me realize that designing could be not just a hobby, but my lifelong carrier. I pay a lot of attention to detail and quality; to me the inside of a piece is as important as the outside. I particularly enjoy working with leather. I like its hand and texture. It is also the only material that gets better with time and use. Leather, along with my craftsmanship, enables me to create artisan pieces of high quality that are the best examples of my work as a designer.

Noelle Quanci
Children's Wear
Haddonfield, New Jersey

I am a South Jersey-native with roots in many places. Having lived in England for a time, and with a part-time home in Chicago, I have become adapted to travel and number it among my great loves.

I knew from a very young age that I wanted to create, and I have a love for the imagined, having been greatly influenced by the artists in my family. Since arriving in Italy, I have been able to explore textile design, allowing me to marry my love of the hand-drawn with my designs.

Foremost, fashion design is an avenue to pursue different fields of study, as my interests are extremely varied. Specifically, my fascination with ethnic cultures of the world is the foundation of much of my work.

Catherine Quirk
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Originally from Milwaukee, I have managed to work my way first to New York and then all the way to Milan, Italy, in order to pursue my dreams of being a designer. I have aspired to be a designer since I took my first sewing class when I was 10. Determination set in and brought me to Milan to finish my third and fourth years at the Fashion Institute of Technology as a Knitwear student. Knitwear is inspiring to me because not only am I able to design beautiful garments, but also to create the textile that will make up those garments. Knitwear allows me to insert my personality into every step of the design process. Through knitwear, I am able to best express and materialize the properties of color, texture, and pattern in my designs. I often translate my inspirations into my designs with an organic style and hand-dyed effect. This feeling of nature combined with my love for feminine silhouettes makes up my unique aesthetic.

Sydney Roark
Temecula, California

Art has always been a way for me to express my ideas. Growing up, I would always experiment with different mediums and create things with my hands, which is what led me to fashion design. I love that you can start with a sketch and end up with something three-dimensional and wearable.

For me, the most beautiful part about design is the discovery. You have to open your eyes, be curious, and absorb the world around you. I believe it is important to keep this in mind because you never know what can inspire you, or whom you can learn from.

Stephanie Rodas
Quito, Ecuador

My interest in Fashion Design started as a child, being influenced my grandmother, who was a designer. I was always at the factory and offices and always had a particular interest in seeing how things were getting done. When I graduated from school I knew that I had that same passion and desire for design as she did. Fashion design is an art that gives me the opportunity to express myself by create something palpable that comes from something so human as imagination is. It is like being an architect where you are able to exhibit or demonstrate your philosophy with no words but the creation itself. I have had the opportunity to work with colleague designers and to this day I find it fascinating how each one of us is a different world and how inspiration for each one of us comes from different sources. I am a person who values and enjoys simple things in life, who is passionate for creating and who perseveres to achieve her goals. I believe part of it translates to my designs, I appreciate minimalism and consider “ Minimalism is not a lack of something, It’s simply the perfect amount of something” as Nicholas Burroughs quoted.

Maria Vaz
Goiania, Brazil

I always want to contemplate and experiment, absorb and translate, connect and create. My energy is defiant and my spirit is free. My aim is to be wise with a childlike gaze. I don’t take reality for granted. I like the sound of possibilities. When I make a piece of clothing, it interacts with the world completely independent of my physical presence. Making things unifies my grounds. Elevates my thoughts and sharpens my instincts. It is an open bridge between me and the outside, fantasy and matter, beauty and function. Design is my elixir of mind.

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