Columbia senior Rebecca Blanton (rebeccablanton.virb.com) was featuring her thesis collection at the 14th Annual Driehaus Awards for Fashion Excellence.
Who and what are your biggest influences?
I think my biggest influences are the nineties and Rodarte. I love the idea of layering: light fabrics with heavy fabrics, colors, textures and embellishment. Rodarte’s collections are always filled with those; they shatter the idea of what can look well together. This is how I design: visual interest of layering and texture. For instance, I combined relatively cheap vinyl fabric with high resolution printed textiles and fine wool.
What was your inspiration for the collection you presented at the Driehaus Awards?
It derived from the exposure of domestic animals used for fur trade not only in foreign countries, but here in the United States as well. I further explored this by creating a compelling, colorful print that would not only spark interest visually, but conversationally and emotionally as well; it is composed from skinned dog jaws to encapsulate the horrific facts behind closed doors. Additionally, the utilization of varying embellishment techniques create effective, textural interest: the handmade clay teeth representing numerous animals lost, the various-sized sequins that give the illusion of fresh blood, and the iridescent cat-tail sequins which mimic fur. This collection transitions from the innocent, helpless animal, into the defiled, animal that once was.
What are the qualities you look for in a garment?
Quality of production plus thoughtfulness and purpose of the design. I’d say my slight need for perfection translates into the designs that I produce—perfectly cut fabric, perfect finishes and embellishment touches.
What should fashionable girls be wearing this summer?
I think every fashionable girl needs to own a pair of lace-up sandal booties. They can translate well with any outfit whether it be girly, casual, grungy or day to night. My favorite brand for these are Jeffrey Campbell. An outfit is never complete without the right pair of shoes!
—Interview and photograph by Isa Giallorenzo
Journalist Isa Giallorenzo was born in São Paulo, Brazil and has elected Chicago as her beloved home since 2009. She runs the street-style blog Chicago Looks and wants to see this town become one of the fashion capitals of the world.