University of Cincinnati logo and link
E-mail this information to a friend  

Five Fashion Students Set Pattern for Success, Heading to Paris for Prestigious Competition

Five University of Cincinnati fashion students have beat out competitors by the hundreds to represent the United States in a prestigious international competition set to take place in Paris Dec. 16.

Date: 11/23/2004 12:00:00 AM
By: Mary Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Andrew Higley, Dottie Stover, Stephanie Otto

UC ingot  

Come December, 15 U.S. fashion students will represent the country against competition from around the globe at Paris’ International Competition of Young Fashion Designers.  Five of those 15 representing the United States are from the University of Cincinnati.

The designs of the UC and other U.S. students will be professionally modeled at the Carrousel du Louvre as they compete against students from Europe, South America and Asia in the most prestigious undergraduate competition for fashion students in the world, according to Margie Voelker-Ferrier, chair of UC’s fashion program.

Here's a rundown on the UC international finalists:

• Junior Stephanie Otto, 21, of Pickerington, Ohio, was selected as the top U.S. winner in the national finals held at the end of October at

Oklahoma State University.  Otto’s first-place entry consists of a wrap dress and wrap coat, both made – in part – from vintage silk scarves.  The knee-length coat, with its oversized hood, is constructed from red plush velvet lined with the silk scarves.  The silk scarves are visible on the inside of the hood or when the coat – which is very full and circular – swings open.  The coat, which also features loose-cut kimono sleeves, is reversible.

Completing the ensemble is a knee-length wrap dress made from vintage silk scarves.  The dress is asymmetrical at the bodice, with a capped sleeve on one shoulder and sleeveless on the other shoulder.  Otto claims the design practically made itself.  She explained, “It just came together.  I was going through the process, and – at first – I thought what eventually became the coat would be a dress.  But the more I saw that it lent itself to a coat, I went with that.  In so many ways, the design figured itself out, and I just had to trust my instincts.”       

• Senior Akarasun Seanglai, 23, originally from Bangkok, Thailand, but now a resident of Clifton, created a dress of two layers using

all-natural materials: cotton gauze, silk and wool.  He explained, “The colors are earth and water tones.  These colors combined with the organic materials along with the silhouette of the garment make for a natural feel and flow.”  Seanglai, who was a U.S. finalist to the competition two years ago, actually began his design work in May, hand dying the silk and experimenting with the form.  As an experienced competitor, he says the most exciting part of the event is the chance to see the creativity exhibited by students from around the world.   

• Senior Mary Wolf of Xenia, 22, will compete in the accessory category, with a handbag 

crafted from a walnut-tree branch that fell at her grandparent’s home.  “It really represents a couple of months of work,” she explained.  “I hollowed out the log, cut it into halves, put it on a lathe to round out the purse, and sanded and polished the grain.”  The best part of the whole process was actually seeing her purse modeled in the national competitions, she said. 

• Junior Jessica Early, 21, of Delhi, has created a silk, knee-length little black dress.  What she’s done is change the dress’s traditional silhouette to one with a corseted top that balloons out at the skirt.  The skirt is also highlighted by an abstract pattern of pink embroidery.  Completing her ensemble is a simple, waist-length, collarless silk jacket with three-quarter length kimono sleeves.  The trip to Paris is just one piece of good news for Early.  As a result of previous cooperative-education work experience in the accessories department at American Eagle Outfitters in New York – such work being a standard for UC fashion students – Early is seeing glove and hat designs that she helped to create months ago on sale in stores now.     

• Pre-Junior Toby Tyler, 22, of Westerville (near Columbus) will compete in the accessory category, with a dramatic headdress made from

necklaces, pearls, crystals, garnets, white leather and metal.  Accompanying the headdress is an equally dramatic breast- and back piece made of python skin studded with silver crystals to form a stylized, coiling dragon.  Tyler said she opted to make the headdress after a great deal of historical research.  “Headdresses certainly denote power and, often, royalty.  You feel powerful wearing one.  I know.  I’ve worn it,” she explained.  “I made the out-sized breast and back pieces because I knew they’d be seen on stage.”  Tyler, who will travel to Europe for her first time as part of the competition, began working on her designs last March, and her pieces incorporate parts of herself and her family and friends.  The headdress includes a necklace from her grandmother, pearls her sisters brought home from China, and garnet stones from her father.

The UC students, all from UC's prestigious College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, beat out students from East and West Coast schools and all points in between in order to head to the international finals in Paris.  In all, 22 other schools made it to the national finals in Oklahoma – including the University of California-Davis, Cornell University, Parsons School of Design and Virginia Commonwealth University.  UC students have consistently won a place among those going to Paris for more than 20 years now.  


Digg! Digg | | Slashdot Slashdot | Reddit Reddit | AddThis Social Bookmark Button

More UC News | UC Home