Designs by KIKA: 2015 Collections

I can finally say that I am proud of the work that I have done last semester at FIT. From balancing 9 classes and working my part time job, and trying not to lose my sanity, I admit that I have the willpower to keep going.

I am extremely proud of my work so far and I am honored to have these pieces photographed for my portfolio. Each piece is designed under the sportswear specification and I wanted to focus on color to make the eyes dance.

Sportswear is a category in fashion that is easily the most diverse market to design for. I want to challenge myself into making every day looks a little more special.

I’m now working on my collection for the CFDA as well as a few pieces being made during my 6th semester here at FIT.

It’s a lot of pressure, but I’m pushing myself in order to graduate with a phenomenal portfolio.

Lingerie Collection 2015: Plus Size Fashion Meets Day of the Dead

I decided for my lingerie collection, I should design for women who are considered to be “well fed” in the fashion industry. My inspiration for my designs are derived from the lively and vivid colors of Mexican Folk Culture as well as the event for the Day of the Dead. Enjoy!

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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.

My Bodysuit is Here!

I finally finished sewing my body suit and I have to saw out of all the frustration and pressure to do a phenomenal job, I managed to pull through. All I have to do is schedule a photoshoot for this piece to add to my collection. Maybe I’ll  make a few bodysuits in the future since my patterns are perfected for a seize 10 figure. 

What do you guys think?

Archery & Design (PLUS The Reveal of My New Collection!)

I’ve decided to take part in designing a collection for Archery. I had a lot to play with since the usual uniform in archery requires only common clothes. I took inspiration from one of the most famous female archers, Wonder Woman. A strong amazonian woman who is ahead of her time, stronger than most men, and has a strong hand in archery.

The main process of me designing the pieces was the be in effect of posture and stretch in the armholes. I wanted to give my girls a little more edge and style. I wanted to focus on anti-perspiration, and all around comfort.

Introduction Page

 The higher the armholes and more room in the sleeves, means more movement in the arms. The arm covers are used to for the wrist padding for the comfort of holding the arrow with out piercing the skin.

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The side panels on both the bodice and leggings/shorts are for support and firmness in the sides for ergonomic stance an archer much focus on when posing. Designing for a specific sports requires a lot of thought process and smart arrangements of comfortable fabrics and manipulations.

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Fashion and Technology: Progression of Necessary Innovations or Unique Creations

As much as we see the future as something fictional or fantasy driven like in films or comic books, in a few years the greatest inventions will modernize our culture to its greatest potential. In terms of fashion it is practically in the same vein as any progression of technology. Fashion brands are developing new products to fuse the benefits of new technology and interesting design into something exceptional to wear and use for greater advantages. But some designs are conceptually more useful than others.

LED lights in clothes are nothing new. It can used for performance outfits, for performers in concerts such as Katy Perry as seen above. Its visually stunning, but its made more for artistic expression.

Ying Gao

Ying Gao designed an eye-catching dress (No Pun Intended) with glow in the dark threads. Not exactly like LED lights, but still in the same concept.

GER Mood Sweater

The GER Mood Sweater is made to emote feelings through the colors of the LED light built in the hood. Different colors represent different emotions, so even if you are aware of how your’e feeling, its interesting to know subconsciously how you are in your state of mind.

The Flutter Dress was designed to distinct the vibrations of sound for the needs of people with hearing impairment. Although the concept is very simple to understand, I don’t see that it is necessary to have conceptual designs to cover up the sensors when it can be fused into normal clothes.

Intimacy 2.0 provides little to the imagination with apparel that turns see through when the person who wears the garment feels aroused. Honestly, I’d rather get the business done by removing clothes. This idea just seems silly…

 Although a visually stunning garment, Designer Lauren Bowker created a compund of a flamable ink that can be injected into clothing for “Theatrical Purposes”. This defeats the purpose of what levels of flammability is all about when it comes to test out textiles for production.

There are more functional and useful ideas to use into developing better technology for fashion. A German Astronaut named  Dr. Alexander Gerst will be responsible for 40 different trials testing out Spacetex, a multi-experiment project that will intervene with the intercation of light and climate between body and clothing. The Spacetex Project conceptualizes the design of textiles used for astronauts to wear in the harsh environment in outer space. It is in development to test out new textiles for harsh climate and physically challenging environments. Any collected data will be used to prepare for future voyages such as the anticipated trip to Planet Mars.

Source: http://www.hohenstein.com/en/inline/pressrelease_66176.xhtml

If the textiles were to pass the trials sufficiently, there could be a break through in design that could be used for more than conceptual and artistic design. The fashion industry can take inspiration to produce articles of clothing that require less layering and can be used for people who need to wear clothes that adapt to certain climates.

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. 

Designs by KIKA Update: Photoshoot Coming Soon

Every week that passes by, I try to accomplish something to further myself into making a great portfolio as well as better my skills as a new designer. I had a look at my calendar and I was in shock to see how quick my year passed and I only have a few weeks left before returning back to school. Its a bittersweet moment because I enjoyed my free time doing free lance and working at my own pace, but than I see all the experience I’m going to have in the future going back to FIT. Change is always a good thing and I never see the issue of furthering education even after graduating.

So for the few remaining weeks that I have, I have decided to schedule an upcoming photo for this Black Coat I have been working on. Its close to being finished and I have already found my model. All I need now is a space to rent out for the shoot as well as the photographer. I feel no need to stress myself out since I know my vision for this layout and I am proud of the work that I have done for the past year.

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