By Katie Schliep
Name: Katelyn Joi Bowling
Major: Fashion Design
Hometown: Elon, N.C.
District: What was your inspiration behind your collection?
Katelyn Joi Bowling: My collection is about the Garden of Eden. I wanted a design concept about something close to my heart and wanted my concept to be important to who I am. I was all about the beauty and sin that each of us have in ourselves. The prints and soft fabrics represent the beauty that we each have and the suiting materials represent the sinful nature that we each have. It’s restricting. I had a concentration on 1930s silhouettes. The construction of garments in those days were very easy and comfortable yet still chic. Any woman would be comfortable in these garments, but yet still feel sexy and modest at the same time. The collection is a ready-to-wear American Sportswear collection in the sense that each piece can be styled and worn with any other in the collection, making it very marketable. It is a very high-end collection, all the fabrics are 100% silk and the suitings are cashmere wool blends.
District: What was the most challenging aspect of the senior collection process?
Bowling: Working with my fabrics. Many teachers allowed their student to work only with muslin fabrics for their mockups during Senior II, but I was required to use the fabric I would be using for my final and thank goodness for that. I never knew how hard it was to work with fabrics such as charmeuse and chiffon. Everything in my collection except for three pieces was French seamed and sewn with tracing paper in order for it to feed through the machine.
District: What are your future plans after graduating?
Bowling: I am moving straight to NYC and I am currently interviewing with a few companies, fingers crossed!
District: Do you have any advice for future seniors when starting senior collection?
Bowling: Really have your designs thought out with equal thought to shape, construction and fabrication. Each one of these aspects is just as important as the other and if one doesn’t translate the way you had hoped, none of the others will either. So really understand what fabrics and what understructure is going to give the silhouette and movement that you wish to achieve.
District: Are there any aspects of your collection you wish you could change?
Bowling: Of course, nothing in art is ever complete or done as well as it could be. I love my collection and I love the designs, but I really wish I had more time to think about every single detail. I would love to be able to finish everything inside with wonderful lace piping and trim, to create accessories to go with the collection, to create scarves, brooches, belts, etc. But nothing is ever complete. I am excited to see the collection walk but I know I will always be able to look at it and think in my head “Oh what if I had done this instead!?”
District: Who has been the most influential person when developing your collecting?
Bowling: Honestly, both my professors and my mentor all played an equal role. My design professor, Dean Sidaway, was amazing. He really helped me develop my designs and push me a bit out of my comfort zone but allowed me to stay true to myself as a designer. Sachi Honda was my construction professor and she taught me so much when it came to my fabrics and how to sew them. I could not have produced the collection without her or our sewing tech, Judianne. We even had to result to hand sewing many garments completely. I am a mentor student under Maggie Norris and having a real designer from the industry critique your working is amazing. She really taught me how to think out every single detail, the inside of a garment should be just as pretty as the outside. She thought just as much about the seams and the lining as she did the outside of the garment.
District: How do you categorize your design aesthetic?
Bowling: I design for the creative woman. I want to create a world for my customer to walk into. I don’t want her to only buy one piece of clothing, I want to create a character that she wants to be and live. Every woman wants to be beautiful and classic but have just enough twist and excitement in her clothing that she can still turn heads.
District: Who would be your dream designer to work alongside?
Bowling: Ralph Lauren or Nina Ricci.
District: From your peers, whose collection is your favorite?
Bowling: My friend Kashfia Mariam’s collection walked at Jury Show and my jaw dropped. It looked absolutely stunning.
District: When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
Bowling: I have danced my entire life and my mother and I have made many of my costumes. I did the rising star program at SCAD the summer between my junior and senior year and had Pappas as my sewing instructor. She really sold me on coming here and pursuing fashion.Contact Katie Schliep .