April 5, 2019

Between the Seams: Meet the Designers

At this very moment, University of Minnesota apparel design students are hard at work, crafting one-of-a-kind garments inspired by fairy tale iconography. Over the course of their spring semester, the 18 designers studied the visual language presented in The Wonderful World Before Disney, an ongoing exhibition of postcards that explores the eclectic imagery of popular fairy tales before Disney’s mass marketed adaptations came into dominant the genre. On April 17, they’ll share their garments at Between the Seams 2019 Student Design Showcase, the eighth-annual fashion show hosted by WAM. We invite you to learn more about a few of these emerging designers, including Kesari Patel, Noah Garon, and Emma Byhre.

For many of our Between the Seams designers, the showcase is the first time they will present their work publicly, providing them with an intensive opportunity to hone their craft in preparation for a competitive career in apparel design. If you are interested in supporting this multidisciplinary and collaborative work, we invite you to donate to our crowdfunding campaign in an effort to sustain the longevity of the program.

Kesari Patel

Kesari Patel headshot.WAM: Which postcard and story are you taking as inspiration, and why?

KP: When I first walked into the Weisman Art Museum and took a look at the postcard exhibit,  I was drawn to the Cinderella postcards. I chose to select two postcards for my design, one showing the step sisters and mother putting Cinderella through emotional and physical abuse, and the other one portraying Cinderella’s inner and outer-beauty, strength, and the doves comforting her.



I chose these because I was inspired by how Cinderella stayed true to who she was during and after these times of hurt and abuse. She did not become evil and mean like her step sisters—she stayed strong and did not let the evil change her inner beauty!

WAM: Do you feel like this project has allowed you to cross disciplines and creative boundaries? 

KP: This project has really allowed me to push outside of the little box I put myself in when I normally design. It has forced me to think creatively above and beyond and for that I am so proud of myself. In our Apparel Design courses, we normally automatically select fabric and textiles to be our materials for a garment. This project was different because we were pushed to not use any kind of textiles.

Kesari Patel Dress

Noah Garon

WAM:Which postcard and story are you taking as inspiration, and why?

NG: I chose two postcards from the story of snow white and the seven dwarves. The first is the post card where snow white receives the apple from the disguised queen and the second where snow white is in the coffin, as a result of this nature. I was first drawn to these pictures because of the artist’s ability to capture movement and silence simultaneously. As I looked into the postcards more intensely I picked up on the idea of Snow’s trusting, if not over-trusting, nature of this ‘old woman.’

Our other theme this year is about incorporating technology into our process and/or our garment. In my work with wearable technology, I have been struggling with the ethical question of how much we can trust corporations and governments with the information provided by putting sensors on our body. These combined as I proceeded toward my final design concept of how we interact with technology and the consequence of over-trusting it.

WAM: How has it felt to adapt an image to an alive, wearable fashion piece?

NG: I started on my path towards apparel and wearable technology as a mixed media artist so this opportunity has been an amazing way for me to combine my passions. Being able to see this project as an art piece and not just an outfit has been challenging moving across my process. That being said I feel like this opportunity has helped me grow in my ability of abstracting what it is to design and create. Moving from mixed media that was for the most part flat, to something wearable has also been a good experience because of how much more structural work needs to go into the piece of art as well as how the user will wear it.

Noah Garon

Emma Byhre

WAM:Which postcard and story are you taking as inspiration, and why?

EB: My inspiration for my piece was from Sleeping Beauty. Before this project, I had actually done an art project on the original story. Since I had a clear knowledge of the story, I wanted to be able to show the original story through my project. In the original story, Sleeping Beauty was sexually assaulted while she was asleep by the prince. She then fell pregnant and gave birth to triplets while she was asleep and woke up to three children.

Since in modern-day sexual assault survivors are very common, especially with women in college, I decided to focus on that and display the process of what a woman may go through when she is assaulted.

WAM: Tell us about your design process. Have you gone through multiple iterations or did you immediately know what you wanted to create?

EB: The design process was ever changing. I originally started with a long ball-gown-type dress where I had a completely different idea of how I was going to interpret my design. With critiques and self-assessment I went through many different stages of ideation. One major example is the change in how I was going to interpret the story itself. Originally, I was only going to display the assault, rather than show the transformation and how she reclaims the horrible event. Throughout this process it has been amazing to freely explore a new way of constructing a garment, rather than the traditional way of using only fabric. It has allowed me to discover that I personally enjoy creating one-of-a-kind pieces rather than something that can easily be reproduced. This entire project was freeing.


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