Design by Tosha Sherman
Inspired designs and dazzling garments.
This month SAIC kicks off its 2012 fashion program, and to celebrate, Swarovski will unveil a dynamic window installation by students of the Fashion Body & Garment Master’s Program at its flagship boutique on Michigan Avenue. A leading designer of fashion jewelry, Swarovski offered its boutique windows in celebration of its sponsorship of SAIC’s annual benefit gala and runway show, THE WALK 2012.
Our Town spoke with SAIC student Tosha Sherman, whose design was chosen to open the prestigious runway show.
Our Town You entered SAIC to study painting and sculpture but now focus on fashion. What changed?
Tosha Sherman It was [professor and chair of the SAIC Fashion Design department] Nick Cave’s work that inspired me to take classes in the fashion department. As a dancer and artist, I knew there had to be something for me to discover and explore in fashion. Once I entered the department I felt all the creative aspects of myself merging into one medium. As a dancer I feel the movement of my designs, as a painter I create a composition, and as a sculptor I see the relationship to body and garment. Fashion is the umbrella for all of my creativity.
OT Swarovski is sponsoring the show and donating jewelry. How did the knowledge that you’d have access to the materials influence your design?
TS [When] the department informed the students that Swarovski would be donating, I had already began creating the pattern for my garment. I was thrilled because I had already intended to purchase Swarovski myself. When I was designing, I was thinking about how we are able visually understand the perception of light. Crystal prisms catch and project rainbows of light that we are able to see.
OT Were you able to chose specific crystals?
TS In my proposal, I requested specific jewelry pieces to be used. I received twenty pairs of Swarovski stud earrings to incorporate into my design.
OT Can you take me through designing the piece from inspiration to end product?
TS I have been working on my design since September 2011. My work begins with research. This includes traditional research at the Ryerson Library or at the SAIC library where I explore books that relate to topics I am curious about. I collect images and journal quite a bit. I create a small sculpture or painting that eventually tells me what my concept will be. A large part of my research is conversation and drawing. I ask people what they think and see how they respond to what I am creating. This gives me insight on how my work affects my viewer. Then, I begin sketching hundreds of designs. With my brilliant instructors, Abigail Glaum Lathbury and Annie Novotany, I slowly edit. When February came around I had settled on a design. Then I began to draft my pattern from scratch, draping and sewing multiple muslins before I began in final fabric. Then I began to bead. I must have been beading for a good month and a half. The Mayan tree of life and the Mayan vision serpent inspire the beaded motifs. Both symbols represent channels between the nonphysical and the physical. Beneath the beading and Swarovski crystals and sound and motion sensitive Led Lights. The lighting is subtle, like the light of fireflies.
OT Generally, what inspires your designs?
TS I have been really influenced by quantum physic and concepts that relate to what we are not visually aware of traveling through and around our bodies. The challenge with considering the nonphysical is that I had to somehow translate what I discovered into a physical medium. This challenge led me to consider what physical shape and forms act as channels between visual and non-visual matter. Our bodies express thought, voice, and movement, things that we know so well but cannot grasp with our eyes or hold onto with our hand.
OT What are your future goals?
TS I really want to continue to create with abandon. I want to work with people who create with honesty, integrity, and are motivated by their imagination. I hope that my work will inspire others to express them selves with fearlessness.
THE WALK 2012 takes place April 19 at 9 a.m., 12 p.m., and 3 p.m. For tickets go here.
A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," (Soft Skull press) is available for pre-order here. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
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