Designer Feature: Hannah de Vries

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If any of you have been to previous FAST fashion shows and have been amazed by how each design was put on and showcased like an art piece from a gallery, you won’t want to miss out on this feature article about our amazing designer, Hannah de Vries.

Meet Hannah de Vries. After making a spectacular debut last fall in FAST’s show, she continues to participate in FAST as an assistant design director. (PC: de Vries)

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

My name is Hannah de Vries. I’m a junior transfer in art practice major, so last semester was my first time working with FAST for their “Altered” themed show. I love art obviously, just anything about art, like painting and sculpting. I love ping pong and hiking. Ping pong is so much fun!

 

What got you into design and how long have you been designing?

I haven’t been designing for that long. It was really last semester that I kind of delved in, but before that I only made a pillow case on a sewing machine. I always had this obsession with fashion. I love looking at fashion magazines (Elle, Vogue, Bazaar), watching Project Runway, and live-streaming Valentino runway shows. Stuff like that. I had always really admired it but never thought of it as something that I could do, and I never had the means to do that until I got a sewing machine, which was a couple of years ago. I started doing sewing lessons with one of my friends. Then, when FAST came out at Calapalooza, I got so excited- it was the perfect opportunity to get involved and try out to see if I could really do it. It was really grinding last semester, there were a lot of late nights. It was stressful but definitely worth it.

 

Talk to us about the theme.

This was for “Altered” last semester, and I took that theme and interpreted it using fine art, and the appropriation of the fine art, and thought, “How can I alter the institutional gallery museum experience and how we look at and enjoy a painting, because paintings are sometimes so distant. Yet they’re tactile at the same time and you really want to be embedded in that texture. And get up really close. So I wondered what it would be like if we got rid of that institutional red rope that kept you from the painting. I really wanted people to actually be able to wear this painting and wrap themselves in it. And not only that, but also be able to walk out of a gallery, out of the museum, and be out on the street, and I want everyone to appreciate how beautiful and sculptural these paintings are on their bodies.

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“… I wondered what it would be like if we got rid of that institutional red rope that kept you from the painting.”(PC: de Vries)

Why did you choose these particular paintings (Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, Picasso’s “Three Musicians”, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss”, Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”)

I wanted the paintings to be iconic so that people would recognize them, or if not the painting then at least the style. I was really drawn to colorful, strong brushstrokes. And take “The Kiss” for example. I chose it because I was very drawn to the very ethereal patterns, the spirals … it’s just gorgeous.  

 

What’s the general process of each piece? Is there anything special that you do?

First of all, I got a ton of patterns that I thought were similar to what I had in mind; I knew that I wasn’t going to get the exact silhouette I wanted, being a beginner. I cut out the patterns so that I had just segments of just the plain fabric, and then I would align them on the floor, and hand paint those. I had to make sure the angles matched up as I painted them, and in the final stage I would pin them and stitch them together. I also did some applique.

 

What gets you into the zone?

Deadlines for sure, and I definitely need good jams on. The playlist depends on my mood, I’m all over the place with music. I just Spotify and “star” the things I like. And maybe it sounds weird, but I really love the sound of the sewing machine. Something about it makes me feel so powerful. So that really kept me going. Just the very exciting pushing fabric through. And I was just so excited; it was the first time I made something wearable. I was just so excited to try it out, and to see it come to life, and not just as a sketch. So I was really propelled by that, and also from my overall support from FAST and my family. My mom doubted me every day and was concerned, and then she came to the show and she was so excited. And my whole family was sitting in the front row, and I was so taken aback by their support. They are really awesome.

 

Which piece was the easiest/hardest to make?

Ooh, let’s see.

The easiest one was definitely the giant tent form. I only really needed two segment panels and then just stitch them up the sides. But they all really gave me a bit of difficulty!

I’d say the one that gave me the hardest time was the Starry Night skirt because it had so many different panels, and then on top of that, I had to make sure it fit my models, especially since I was going for a more form-fitting skirt. So I had to keep taking it in, taking it in, and resew all of those lines maybe three, four times. I ended up using an elastic. The elastic was my saving grace for some of these for sure. (laughs)

 

We know that these are all your children, but which piece is your personal favorite?

Oh, my gosh. It’s hard for me (laughs). I just love them all so much!

I think the wrap skirt for “The Kiss” is my favorite. I just love that pattern, love how many shapes are interacting and how colorful it is. I also love how it walked on the runway. It made me so happy.

The other one I really like by itself is actually “The Scream” bra. I think that one is so much fun, and it’s probably the most wearable. You could throw it under a tank top or something, or have it under something sheer. That piece is really playful, it’s just a good statement piece.

Maybe “most proud of” is a better word — they are all labors of love.

 

BY: Ashley Minooka, Erica Gao


 

 

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