Introducing KIKA’s Senior Collection

After months of sewing late at night, peeling the skin off my fingers and holding in the tears of doubt and anxiety, I have completed by look book for my senior collection.

I am incredibly proud of the end result and I anticipate to have these shots printed and presented for my portfolio.

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I shot the look book with my good friend and model, Crystal Garcia.

Let’s have a look at the process work:

I wanted to create the PERFECT HUMAN based on different materials including vinyl and neoprene. I wanted to work with puzzle pieces and how muscles work are aligned with the body.

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LOOK 1: Asymmetrical Neoprene Jacket with Knit Sleeves & Collar

Wide Dome Paneled Pant with structured leg.

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LOOK 2: Open Shoulder Mesh  Dress with Flounce Skirt with Vinyl Trim

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LOOK 3: Jersey Stretch Cotton Open Shoulder Dress

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Update on my Senior Thesis at FIT

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As the weeks pass by, I see how much I have accomplished so far.

A couple of months ago, I was insecure about my work and my ability to design. Now I can just pull out some muslin, drape any silhouette to my liking and it somehow comes out the way I envision it to look in my head.

So far, I am working on 3 looks for my Senior Thesis and I am a little overwhelmed.

I was not chosen to be featured in the Great Hall at my school, but I can not let that stop me from pushing myself in order to finish my thesis. I am looking forward to work on my photoshoot and have it featured here and on other social profiles.

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Fitting for my asymmetrical jacket with knit sleeve and collar.

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Side of Look 5 with DOME Pant.

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Vinyl details on my Mesh Dress.

 

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Introduction to Senior Thesis Collection

After many years of studying fashion from the vulnerable age of 16, I have learned the most valuable lessons in my life. Change is essential. And you should never feel  obliged to do the same thing over and over again. In my early years, I’m was known for designing everything flashy and very pink. It’s time for me to break out of the mold and mature my aesthetic. I will continue to use color, but I want to experiment with new silhouettes that can be considered to be timelessly modern.

Slide 1

I wanted to pull inspiration from a dozen of things. Initially I wanted to combine my portfolio work with my CFDA and I came up with a few ideas. In my studies, I want to focus on human anatomy and what it is capable of. From mutilation, physical harm and body manipulation, a person can endure the most painful physical experiences of their lives, as well as emotional.

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In my previous semester, I wanted to combine a mix of fabric weights as way to emphasis manipulation and body contouring, The different weights and structure can shape an item of clothing if it allows it to do so.

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And last I was assigned to create an Image Algebra for my class. Lets break it down shall we?

SCIENCE =HUMAN BODY, ANATOMY

divided by

DISNTERGRATION=PHYSICAL BODY MANIPULATION, SLEF HARM

multiplied by

OUTER BODY=DRUGS, MANIPULATION FOR THE BRAIN

divided by

SONIC WAVES=PULSES, MOVEMENT IN CELLS IN THE BODY

equals

HUMANOID+THE PERFECT HUMAN, ONE WHO CAN ENDURE PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN WITHOUT RISKING IT’S OWN LIFE.

Slide 1

Now the next step is to play with my ideas and design concepts, bot clothing as suggested by my Professor, Jonathan Kyle Farmer.

Introducing KIKA’s 2016 Pre-Fall/FF Collection

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Pre-fall & Fall Collection featuring oversized shawl coats, thick knit panel dresses, puzzle piece paneling, and modern silhouettes. Exclusive design for the future in fashion.

Pre-Fall 2016 Collection features panel knit dresses and exaggerated sleeves with a sporty flair

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2016 Fall Collection Delivery 1

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2016 Fall Collection Delivery 2

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Portfolio URL: http://designsbykika.com

#designsbykika #fashion #portfolio #fallfashion #2016 #contemporary #readytowear #fashionsketch

Pages from my CFDA Diary

Days after reviving my CFDA portfolio, I found my journal with very disturbing images and sketches that I have collected through out my winter break last year.

After the death of my grandfather, I had researched anatomy and the human body in general as well as Blood, LOTS OF BLOOD.

The more gore, the better.

I emotionally blocked myself from feeling pain, so I decided to view pain through the most morbid way possible.

Here are a few pages from my journal that best represent my process.

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CFDA Collection: Out for Blood

Over the course of 7 weeks, I have designed a Collection for the CFDA. A lot of time and effort has been put into this collection during a vulnerable time in my life. I am incredibly proud of what I have accomplished and I am ready for the world to see my ability and versatility as a designer.

Out for Blood
       This collection derives from my vulnerability in the aftermath of my grandfather’s death. There are moments when I have to remember that he is no longer with us and there is this painful reminder that immortality is only for folk tales and grimm stories. After my grandfather passed away, my attitude changed.
 I don’t see life through rose colored lenses. like I used to. I see darkness easily because I happiness is no longer clear to me.
        I am exposed to my deepest sorrow like an open wound. On the outside, the skin cells are used to protect from harmful diseases and bacteria. If the skin is torn, you are exposed to the painful and sensitive muscle tissues that can cause extreme discomfort and sharpness in pain. I am in the stage where my shell is broken and I am left naked for others to see my sadness. I have no choice, but to grow another layer and hope to recover and remind myself that life goes on and we must be resilient in life.
      The pieces are developed to look stripped away one by one like each layer of skin only to reveal the most honest and truthful potential of a human’s core. Some of the garments are more covered, but the accents of slits with embellished tasseled crystals hang like torn muscle tissue. She is not naked, yet she is vulnerable because her rib cage, her back and thighs are exposed to blood vessels that can bleed heavily when slashed open. But as she wears these clothes, she is proud to expose here scars and see that she will let the wounds scab and she will heal again.
     From the external layers of the jackets and coats, bulky and dense leathers are to represent the thickness and durability in leather like skin. Under the layers, less sturdy fabrics are revealed to protect the skeletal canvas. Hues of red, grey and burgundy are used as a color motif for blood, muscle tissue and blood cells.              Fabrications of satin, velvet and brocade signify the different textures of the muscles, and blood tissue. The lightness is lace is designed as the spirals in blood cells or torn ligaments that intertwine with the bones. Some garments will appear more revealing than others due to the different stages of decay and physical torment. In the end, the clothes are dying gracefully.

If you would like to see the entire collection, please go to designsbykika.com 

Thank You.

Knit Wear Collection 2015 Inspired by The Somber Days & Winter

For one of my projects, I designed a knitwear collection inspired by a painting I saw at the MoMA a few weeks ago. The painting titled Intimacy Autonomy, by Joan Semmel really struck a chord with me because I noticed how emotional and sad I felt after leaving the museum. I can be the type of person who can be very dramatic and passionate for other works of art because somehow I was captivated by the essence and root emotion of the painting; Maybe not the intentional emotion the artist wanted, but at least I felt some strong emotions churn inside me as I observed the piece. For one of the obvious things that I noticed, was the odd palette of blues, grey, green and soft yellow. It resembled these odd hints of decaying hues like a dead corpse. The nudity didn’t bother me since as well as the unflattering angles, it was more of a question if the couple lying down was dead or alive. Joan, the painter, explained that she documented a lot of her work with her lover from Spain where they pose in sex positions or lay with one another sharing beautiful conversations. I saw her interpretation as something very romantic and personal, but I developed another concept for myself.

The grotesque colors and vulnerable angle in the painting brought me back to a dark place in my life. I, like many people, felt depressed in their lives. Not too long ago, I dealt with something that made me feel worthless and alone. I would lay in bed naked, alone during the winter time contemplating whether my existence in life after being rejected from college and unemployed made me feel worthy. I spent an entire year wasting my time sleeping, sketching and preparing a portfolio for my admission at FIT after I was rejected the first time. All of my friends started college without me and I felt left behind. I couldn’t find the motivation to get out of bed and find a job, because I was dead inside. I couldn’t pick up fabric and start sewing or design a collection either. I had all this free time and I wasted every day waking up at 3pm, take a shower, eat and play video games until my pupils would burn. Not to mention, I was involved in a made-up romance with someone who saw nothing good in life, but to act reckless and selfish. I was at my worst. And as of today, every morning that I wake up I feel inspired to get something done because I have a job, I am a full time student and I am in the best relationship I could ever be in. This isn’t a story about depression or resilience. Every person I have met has experienced deep sadness that has lasted for very long periods of time. It’s important to acknowledge the tribulations in ones life to find the motivation to go far in life.

My collection manifests from my experience of depression as well as the brilliant painting into knit wear pieces for the cold season. The season of winter is misleading in a sense that we focus on the holidays and how great the change in weather can be. But days are shorter, we don’t see the sun as often and there is not much to do outside. We stay inside our homes to keep warm from the biting cold and we feel lonely because we are trapped leaving our homes. The cold is a reminder to us that change is an often thing and sometimes it can be unpleasant and unbearable at times like winter.

It’s okay to feel sadness, just remind yourself that at the end of the day the sun can come out and make the days feel warmer.

A New Beginning….

So after the year I took off, I have made my brand an actual thing and I have surprising built a reasonable clientele. I wanted to use my year wisely as well as relax with a steady pace job while doing my free lance work as well. But life changes often and I’m ready for a new era of my life. I’m going back to school at the end of August for my Bachelor’s Degree and I feel anxious about whats yet to come. It’s so weird to go back to a bitter sweet memory where I felt anxious to learn, but was self conscious about my worth and talent. Now I am more confident in myself and in my work. I feel more prepared for the projects, for the tense semesters of multitasking, and to not compare myself to others any more. Even if I have moments where I doubt my ability, I will go back to see that I am going back to school for a reason.

My Journey Of Becoming A Designer

Hi. My name is KIKA, I’m 22 years old, A student at the Fashion Institute of Technology and I am a Fashion Designer. For the past few years, I have experienced the discipline and found the motivation to better my skills to start my own brand. At a young age, I would find myself doodling clothes and designing garments for the characters in my comic books. I would day dream about dresses during school and rush home to draw until my hands became numb. Visually, I knew what I wanted to design, but I knew nothing about execution, cut or how any garments were made. Much until my teen years I was taught how to sew at the High School of Fashion Industries. Getting a jump start in my education toward design was the best decision I ever made. Some people learn how to sew at an early age, but unlike me I had to get started on the fundamentals of sewing and design in order to do well in school. I learned the basic rules of draping, making patterns, and sewing. I also had one of my garments featured at the School’s Yearly Fashion Show. I felt like I was prepared to start making garments on my own, but I needed to further my education to really learn the complicated tricks to make knockout garments. Going to FIT for the first time, I was egotistical because I thought I knew everything about constructing clothes and design. As we all know, if you act like you know everything you won’t go too far in life. I noticed a few weeks into the semester, I received mediocre grades and I started to feel uneasy and lacked confidence in myself as a student.  The system was different and students had to be more resourceful in learning all the basic techniques. A few weeks later, I started to listen to my Professors word of advice as well as some students who were happy to help from time to time. I had moments where I had to figure things out on my own and I couldn’t rely on others. It was a vulnerable time, but I gained a lot of character: I was pushed off my high horse and learned how to become more responsible and humble. Despite my ups and downs, I graduated with a high GPA and walked home with a gorgeous portfolio.  In terms of Fashion School, there is twice the amount of effort put in because you take more classes and your responsibilities rely on completing multiple projects in a timely manner in a stressful environment. It’s all about committing to making your homework and projects worth your while. There should never be a missed opportunity to make something beautiful yet wearable for your portfolio: Even design a collection to can make for a fashion show in the future. It was definitely the most crucial learning experience I have ever endured. In the end, you go to school for yourself and not to impress others. Every student is there to learn the same lessons as you and it’s necessary to take in all the knowledge and apply that to your projects. 

In all aspects, I support designers who earn their degrees before pursuing their goals, but the role of an internship for an upcoming designer is necessary to bring an outlook on how companies work. When I was in High School, I did a summer internship for Master Corset Couturier, Maggie Norris. It was my first insight on how a real fashion house functioned. There were the designers, the seam stresses, the pattern makers, the PR team and the manager, Maggie. I enjoyed the environment of strong workmanship and teamwork. And even if I was an intern, I felt important because I was part of the team as well. During any internship, it is best to form a bond or professional relationship with your co-workers. It can start from a normal conversation to going on an errand with him/her. The more people you know, the more exposure you can get to learning more and in the end make some of the new friends who can promote your work on their blogs or invite you to fashion events. The key is to be as friendly and open minded as possible to any opportunity. I did a few more internships in the summer and whenever I had some time on my hands. And in due time I was blessed to work for Rebecca Taylor, Albright Fashion Library and even Zac Posen. My attitude was to stay positive and always see the opportunity to try things out. 

When it comes to making a decision as a Fashion Designer you must live by the rules that anything is possible, but discipline and talent are not the only factors to getting you to the place you want to be in the industry. Fashion Designers need to see their careers through a realistic perspective. It’s not about becoming famous or popular. It is far more difficult to build a Fashion Brand on your own. New Fashion Brands have a high chance of losing their company due to lack of finances, and time management. So it’s important to see the business aspect in Fashion rather than the glamorous world depicted in television and films. The most important piece of advice I can give to others pursuing fashion is to be well rounded about every aspect of the business. In general, knowing your strengths as a designer is essential, but it all takes time to figure out what you are good at. If you are an artist when it comes to renderings and illustrations, you can make a remarkable portfolio of your designs to present in interviews. But it never hurts to improve the other skills needed. Knowing how to sew, drape fabric and make patterns is by far the most important skill to have as a young designer. When it comes to making prototypes to send out to a factory, you want your garment to look as close to the design you envisioned in your head. Another aspect is to know your aesthetic in designing and figure out what your signature look is. Once you figure out your signature look, start to conceptualize a theme for a collection. it’s important to come up with cohesive pieces that you can easily mix and match with. It could be based on the neckline, the cut of a pant, or the color story. Creating a collection is also based on fabrics and a color story. Everything has to make sense and fall into place of design. 

The more knowledge and skills you earn, the more confident you should feel presenting your work to others in the industry. For many designers, skills can go unnoticed if  they don’t put themselves out there. For this day and age, having a blog or being active on social media websites is another perk to advertising your brand.  But I suggest to bring everything to a balance. Building a brand is not about promoting yourself, or hiding behind your phone posting photos on Twitter or Instagram to gain popularity. If you happen to know people from your internships, visit the studio and say hello from time to time to leave an impression on them. Help out others with their fashion shows. Do charity events if you can. There are a variety of ways to step outside your comfort zone and meet new people who can help you further your career.

I hope the people who have read my story can understand that pursuing a career in fashion design is a full time commitment to working on your skills and your brand. Getting an education is never enough to get a real job in the industry same as doing internship trials for a Fashion House. Your experiences can make a difference in becoming  designer drastically. Always see the chances in improving your ability. Designers must be confident in their work and themselves in order to start their own brand. I wish everyone the best of luck and I hope to see my readers succeed in the future.