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FEMALE ENGAGEMENT TEAM
BFA THESIS COLLECTION
Winner of Best in Show at the Kent State Annual Fashion Show, April 2020
iD International Emerging Design Awards, Finalist Collection, June 2020
Silver International Design Awards, Other Fashion Designs-Recycle/Sustainable Fashion, 2020
Silver International Design Awards, Textile and Materials-Handmade, 2020
Silver International Design Awards, Apparel Category-Runway Collections, 2020
The Johnson Jacket, named after Private Opha May Johnson (World War I), is made using fabric from up-cycled woodland camouflage military uniforms and a vegan leather sourced from FABSCRAP. Cinched with an interior elastic band and belted at the waist, the jacket is closed using a buckle and three leather straps with buttons across the breast. A leather strap also runs down the length of the sleeve where it ends at an asymmetrical paneled cuff.
The Sarah Skirt, named after Sarah Emma Edmonds (Civil War), is made using fabric from up-cycled digital desert camouflage military uniforms that were treated using bleach to produce an even lighter color and a lightweight blend fabric sourced from FABSCRAP. The skirt features a two layered waistband, that is paneled using alternating fabrics, saddlebag style pockets, and side drapes. These elements all come together to mimic the shapes of a long standing female symbol of freedom, The Statue of Liberty.
The Cathay Dress, named after Cathay Williams the first documented African American female to serve (Buffalo Soldier), is made using a mid-weight natural jersey fabric. To create the pattern on the dress, the garment is fully fashioned, placed on a mannequin covered in a protective plastic sheet, and sprayed with a bleach solution to create a distressed effect. The start are then created by placing cut out stars onto the fabric then painting on a thickened bleach solution to trace the stars. The garment is then washed using minimal water to remove the remaining bleach and bring out the pattern. The construction of the dress features couture techniques similar to those utilized by Madame Grés and provides a semi-fitted silhouette.
The Brewster Bolero, named after Rear Admiral Grace Brewster Murray Hopper (World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War), is made using a thick leather sourced from Queen of Raw and vegan leather and utility fabric from FABSCRAP. The zippers and findings were up-cycled from the same uniforms whose fabric was used to create the other garments. The sleeves utilize a type of pattern manipulation that allows for a pocket to actually be "built" into the construction of the sleeve. Each zipper pull, along with every other one in the collection also includes a surplus dog tag hand-stamped with the name of the collection.
The Iskra Vest, named after Commander Darlene Iskra (Gulf War), is made using a forest green wool fabric from vintage military garments donated by fellow BFA Fashion Design student, Alyssa Harding, netting from Paul Carroll NY that was going to thrown away, and tulle and vegan leather from FABSCRAP. This vest features a thin pocket along the wearers right shoulder as well as one attached to the leather strap which encases the left arm. The leather elements of this vest are meant to allude to the parachute harnesses worn by airwomen. The skirt on the vest can be detached via a separating zipper at the waist and adds a dash of femininity and elegance to an otherwise edgy look. The asymmetrical front zipper draws inspiration from the lines created by the layering of clothing in service members formal wear and draws across the garment.
The Ruby Pants, named after Colonel Ruby Bradley (World War II, Korean War), is made using the fabric from up-cycled woodland camouflage military uniforms. Reminiscent of the days before the United States created uniforms specifically for women (pre 2011), these baggy pants feature grommets up the entirety of the front of each leg. Laces can then be placed at alternating points along the front of the pants to give the wearer the desired shape.
The Ashley Coat, named after First Lieutenant Ashley White, the first woman to die in combat and the woman this collection is dedicated to (Afghanistan), is made using the same leather and utility fabric as the Brewster Bolero. An oversized, asymmetrical coat, the Ashley coat features a back with buttons up to the yoke that can be worn buttoned or unbuttoned, as well as belts on both the front and the back so the wearer can decide just how fitted they want the coat to be. The "triple collar" is another design element inspired by formal military wear a photo of which can be seen on the design inspiration page above. Additionally, the coat includes side panels with a basic patch pocket overlapping the two fabrics and creating a transition between the two fabrics.
The Eileen Dress, named after Air Force Colonel Eileen Collins (First Female Space Shuttle Commander), is made using the same fabric and dye technique as the Cathay Dress described above. This dress is another piece that includes pattern manipulation technique, this time one that creates the illusion of a tie and collar at the neckline. Somewhat of a vintage inspired piece, this midi length dress includes side-seam pockets and strives for the same mix of femininity and edge as the Iskra Vest.
VEGAN LEATHER HARNESS
The Elsie Jumpsuit, named after Elsie S. Ott the first woman to receive the U.S. Air Medal (World War II), is made using the same lightweight blend fabric as the Sarah Skirt with a pale green jersey fabric that was also sourced from FABSCRAP. This jumpsuit imitates the idea of a parachute, much like the kind that would be attached to the harness with which its paired. A surplus military tent zipper is used as the main closure and wraps from the front neck all the way to the back. The sleeves both include separating zippers that allow the wearer to change the length of their sleeves, an idea drawn from the need for service members to work without their clothing restricting them.
VEGAN LEATHER HARNESS
The Vegan Leather Harness, created using the same vegan leather utilized throughout the collection, is a handmade accessory piece inspired by the parachute harnesses worn over flight suits. The buckles were all sourced second hand, extending the sustainability aspects of the collection to the accessories as well.
FIRST AID PURSE
In some of the photos there is another accessory features, the First Aid Purse, a purse created using a plastic first aid kit in which holes are drilled and fabric is attached using o-rings. A piece of an up-cycled military utility belt serves as the handle and openings on either side can be cinched closed using drawstrings.
The Dunwoody Dress, named after Army General Ann E. Dunwoody, the first woman to serve as a four star Army General, is made using up-cycled desert camouflage uniforms and the pale green vegan leather, used throughout this collection. This dress features an attached saddle bag element with patch pockets that is attached at the shoulders via epaulettes. Thirteen vertical panels on the front and back mimic the number of stripes on the United States flag, while the central panel represents the stars. Hand cut stars on the center-front panel are backed by a reflective forest green fabric, sourced from FABSCRAP, and share space with small appliquéd mesh and tulle stars. This star element is carried through many pieces of the collection adding cohesiveness. The midi length and silhouette are reminiscent of the uniforms first worn by women who entered military service, for the most part in the medical field.
LEIGH ANN PANTS
The Sampson Shirt is named after Deborah Sampson who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Revolutionary War, making her one of the first female veterans. Although this may at first appear to be a simple button-up shirt, structurally it is far different. Large three-dimensional stars are patterned into the shoulders, changing the seam on the sleeve to an exterior seam. The button placket on the sleeves is built into this structure as well, transferring it to the outside of the arm instead of inside. The collar and overall fit is slightly oversized as a representation of the improperly fitting uniforms women were required to wear until the mid-2000s when uniforms were tailored to fit the female form. This lightweight blend fabric was sourced from FABSCRAP and is also present in the Sarah Skirt and Elsie Jumpsuit.
LEIGH ANN PANTS
The Leigh Ann Pants are named after Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester of the Military Police Company, who, after the Iraq War, was the first woman since World War II to receive the Silver Star for exceptional valor. Featuring the same star cutout and appliqué techniques as the Dunwoody Dress, the Leigh Ann Pants have a wide-legged silhouette and are paneled via the princess seams. Multi-layered pockets at each side include zippers with pulls made from dog tags hand stamped with the name of the collection. In total there are are fourteen pockets, both patch and zippered, that represent the utilitarian aspects of the military fatigues. The body of the pants are made from up-cycled woodland camouflage military uniforms with detailing done in fabrics sourced from FABSCRAP.
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