Kaelyn Garcia: Natural Instinct
Senior Fashion Design student Kaelyn Garcia takes an eco-friendly approach to design, but her fabric isn’t the only thing that’s organic. Read below to find out the personal experiences that motivated her latest collection, completed through the assistance of the Albert P. Weisman Award.
What led you to Fashion Design for
the pursuit of your Bachelor's degree?
I always liked drawing and the idea of clothing and why people choose to wear what they do. Clothing is the layer that you pick to represent yourself and the layer you leave with to go out into the world. I find it really interesting. I heard about Columbia through a friend and I was a vocal performance major at another university and came here to look at Columbia's Music and Fashion program. I chose fashion.
Tell us about your design aesthetic.
I like to capture the quiet and muted within my work. I always try to gain inspiration from my surroundings and the sensory emotion always effects what I do. I want people to feel and be immersed into a feeling when they see my work.
What else inspires you as a designer?
Lately I have been inspired by my grandfather
who passed away earlier this year. I think for some reason I always
design with a thread of melancholy. The smallest of thoughts or moments
truly evoke inspiration for me.
How did the idea for your Weisman winning collection come about?
Last year for some reason I kept designing
with a circular shape. It would always just show up within everything.
Around that same time I was looking at birds a lot, reading about flight
and the structure of feathers. I tried to create a light sense in my
shapes along with my fabric. It was important to me to use all organic
and sustainable fabrics for the process too. The feeling of feathers
and light was something I was really striving for.
What led you to apply for the Weisman Award?
I heard about the award through friends who had won it in the past and they told me to apply so I took their advice.
How did the Weisman Award assist you in completing this collection?
I would never have been able to complete this collection without winning the Weisman. Organic fabric is very expensive and when you're in school money seems to never be accessible. This was a great opportunity to apply for something that would give me the option of working with something I may not have been able to. This collection had a lot of attention to detail and fiber manipulation. I worked everyday non-stop until I handed it in.
What advice would you give students who are considering applying for the Weisman Award?
Apply! There's no reason not to!
What's next for you as a Fashion Designer?
I'll be graduating this May and I'm not sure. I have some opportunities to work either in the UK or New York, but I am leaving that option open. Graduate school is something in my future, but taking a year or two off is something I plan to do. I’m just trying to do what I can day to day to have opportunities further down the road and who knows where I'll end up.