Select SCAD Fashion students debut their first collections at Trustees Theater this Saturday. Meet the rising stars who make it work.
The SCAD Fashion Show has become one of the most coveted tickets in town. Perhaps it’s the glamour quotient that intrigues the masses—not just of the models strutting down the runway at Trustees Theater, but also of the Savannahians showing off their sartorial sagacity. Our guess: It’s really about the fresh, forward-thinking fashions created by aspiring artists, who have blossomed into true talents right under our live oak trees.
For the 33 students selected to show their debut collections at the SCAD Fashion Show, it’s been a grueling year of researching, designing, selecting materials, sewing, editing and refining a six-to-ten-piece collection. Their roads lead to a 15-minute presentation before industry insiders, who assess the students’ stories, techniques, fabrics and color choices for cohesiveness and aesthetic integrity.
As Carmela Spinelli, chair of SCAD’s fashion program, it can feel like their whole lives are defined in that moment. “I try to remind the students that it’s not your last collection; it’s your first.”
Of this year’s fortunate few who made the cut, these five emerging designers offer a glimpse into the trajectory of fashion. Meet these rising stars.
Photography by Diane Harvey
Name: Tiantian Sun, Graduate (Call me Sun; it’s my family name.)
Hometown: Ningbo, China
Internships: When I went to college in China, I interned as a sales manager assistant for the ROMON Group, which is a menswear company. Then, I interned for HONOR by Giovanna Randall in New York during summer 2011.
I am inspired by culture. I love historical stories, literature, religion and art. I like to see the way people express themselves through their cultures. In China, we don’t really speak out except through poetry, fiction and different forms of art. The emotions are more present than when people speak. This is why I like to read books not about fashion. My dad is a painter, and I started looking at his works before I could even walk. I always played in his studio, so I think his paintings affect me a lot.
My favorite style decade is the 1980s. I’m not really sure why, other than I can see the feminism. Women at that time were so beautiful. But, I also like the 1950s, 1940s and even the 1920s.
I never leave home without my parents’ love and support. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t need much, and I can leave anything behind. I left home when I went to college, and then I went abroad. I feel we have to keep going to do what we love doing. I feel so lucky that my parents support me in whatever I try to do.
The designer I most admire is Yohji Yamamoto.
The best advice I ever received came from a professor in China, who told me, “Addition is not hard. Subtraction is hard.” I’ll always remember that.
Tell us about your collection.
My collection is about cultural fusion. During these last three years, I’ve been looking for a way to incorporate Eastern and Western cultural elements in one look. I try to keep the Eastern spirit while using Western forms. I use a lot of black, because black gives people powerful feelings, but it’s also mysterious. Black absorbs all colors. It’s not arrogant, and very reserved like Eastern cultures. In this collection, I use one pop of color in each piece to connect with the black. These colors reveal different meanings for Eastern cultures and Western traditions. I also bring in feminism and androgyny through big shoulders, redesigned suits and menswear shirts. I love when women wear menswear.
I’ll have to find a job just like everyone else does. Eventually, I would like to teach, just as my dad does. I think education is very important for fashion. I want to do more in the fashion industry than design clothes, but I’ll definitely keep designing my own things.
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