By Anna Durkin
This week’s Designer Spotlight shines on senior Kelsea Ullrich. Ullrich is a dual design and merchandising major, leaving her with little time spent outside the confines of the fashion department.
Throughout her childhood, Ullrich had an inclination for more creative and artistic elements. She took art classes in school, was a ballet dancer, and had an affinity to clothes. In addition, she enrolled in FIT precollege courses and fell in love with sketching and the concept of design. This prompted her desire to apply to Marist and to pursue a career in fashion design.
“I think I always kind of liked problem solving when I was little and I feel like every project in fashion is just like a new problem to solve,” she said. “It’s exciting to try and make everything work.”
In three words, Ullrich defines her design style as minimalist, modern, and fresh.
“I’m a combination of a minimalist and a feminine designer,” she said. “I like to make a woman feel fun, happy and flirty, but with really clean lines and very sophisticated and modern silhouettes.”
As a designer, Ullrich considers silhouette and construction to be her strengths, mainly in the form of tailoring. She focuses on the “behind the scenes work that adds to the overall appeal and general appreciation that people have for the clothing.” It is clear that she takes attention to detail and takes the quality of her craftsmanship very seriously.
“For my leather look, the whole inside of the jacket is tailored and constructed using my own techniques,” she said. “Like rather than applying a collar, I built it into the garment which is done through different tailoring techniques of horse hair, interfacing, and other types of construction.”
During her time at Marist, Ullrich has completed an internship with Accessories Magazine as an assistant to the fashion editor. She also interned with Capelli New York in the jewelry product development department. As a dual major, Ullrich is very focused on the bigger picture; she believes that it is important to be well adept in all aspects of the industry, regardless of one’s specific focus.
“A lot of my internships were a little merch heavy because I felt like they offered information that I couldn’t learn in school whereas design is more of a personal development thing that I’ve been working on in my own time,” she said.
When asked about her previous experiences with the Silver Needle Runway, Ullrich gushed, “Oh I love the Silver Needle. I’ve always had a really great experience. Throughout her four years with the fashion program, Ullrich has been involved with the runway every year.
“Sophomore year, I made a pair of shorts, which was not the project we were assigned, but it was what I was going with that year, she said. “I started doing my first hand work – I did a beading and embroidery technique which was when I first started to realize that I like silhouettes that are constructed really well with something interesting applied to them.”
Upon graduation, Ullrich plans to pursue a design position within a moderately corporate, but more closely-knit company. Her main focus is design, but she also feels that her merchandising background will set her apart from other applicants. She hopes to find a company in which all of the departments work cohesively and closely together.
“I think it’s really important that design understands the business elements because you can make as many pretty drawings as you want, but it comes down to actually selling clothes in the end and I want to work somewhere that encompasses both of those elements,” she said.
Ullrich’s senior collection is inspired by the Inuit tribe. In light of the tribe’s cold climate location, tribe members wear lots of layered outerwear, dresses, and pants. For her SNR collection, Ullrich has focused on different techniques of shaping jackets and coats. Her silhouettes have also been influenced on the weight of the outerwear, leading to her utilization of leather, fur, knit, and neoprene.
“I’ve been playing with different textures. Embroidery is a pretty normal technique to apply to clothing and I wanted to make it a little more interesting than that so I quilted it,” she said. “It’s a knit, but I treated it like a woven so I was able to make some great silhouettes out of it.”
Tickets are still available for the 2014 Silver Needle Runway. Please visit Ticketmaster for more information.