“I chose to be an Apparel Design and Production major because I love the art side of fashion. I want to become a fashion designer so that I can design things that make people feel confident and like themselves,” Nina recounts cheerfully. Her Italian last name Mascheroni somewhat resembles the luxury brand Moschino, but Nina has her own reason to be remembered. The Apparel and Merchandising junior is on her way to making her fashion dreams a reality and her showing at the Recycled Fashion Gallery Opening is just one of the few things she has accomplished while attending Colorado State. Her world-inspired dress made out of “maps from across the United Sates” turned heads while giving us a longing for travel and new scenery. Whether you were reminiscing about your spring break trip to Machu Picchu or daydreaming about spending a semester abroad in Brisbane, Australia, the dress accomplished something that many designers thrive to achieve every time they create a new collection: being memorable. Love it or hate it, as long as you remember it, then the design was a success.
It didn’t take much to tell how Nina was inspired, but she explained: “I was originally inspired by travel and wanted to make a dress that represented some of my favorite places I’ve experienced, and the construction was inspired by paper garlands. Also, for this piece, I pulled inspiration from Special Occasion and Evening Wear trends from autumn/ winter 2015 because I had just done the research for another project. The fringe was my main design element.” Nina made her mark with the floor sweeping silhouette that takes you to another place, literally! The dress had a romantic feel but also looked edgy with the triangle cutouts. She said she wanted to work with paper that was double sided to make the fringe more interesting. The interest was clearly there as the designer announced that “An old friend of mine who is a model asked if the dress is for sale!” Ah, the words that every aspiring fashion designer wants to hear. Almost nothing can top the elated feeling of presenting your very own look in a gallery and then being asked if it is available for purchase! The play on print and texture is Nina’s forte, and while black and neutrals are her go-to colors, she isn’t afraid to be bold when designing her garments.
Inspiration can be pulled from anywhere but the aspiring designer finds herself pulling her inspiration from “The classics like Alexander McQueen or Marc Jacobs, because they always pushed the envelope even when it was frowned upon. Currently Shayne Oliver of Hood By Air and Rad Hourani are my favorite genderless fashion designers because they continue to push fashion to a new place.”
Watching Project Runway is very different from actually being a design student (even if you do feel personally invested like I do!), and while it can be fun, it is also a lot of hard work and dedication. Nina confessed, “My favorite part of being a design student is problem solving within a project. The best part is when you are sitting with other design students discussing how to make parts of each of our garments. It’s nice to have that team mentality.” Teamwork is a positive mind set to have, especially in this industry where collaboration is an everyday task. Even independent freelance designers have to work with teams of people to make their ideas come to life.
At times teams can be a challenge, but Nina disclosed that “The most challenging aspect is having to be creative on demand, especially towards the end of the semester. The mental block of not having inspiration for a project is very frustrating.” I think we can all relate to that, especially during finals week!
One great part about being in fashion is that there is never a boring day— and it may be hard to choose which career you want because you want to do them all. When I asked Nina which part of the industry she wanted to work in she shared “I’m torn on this question. Part of me wants to work in a very artistic cutting edge design house where new things are happening every day. On the other hand, I want my designs to be accessible and working somewhere where a consumer can easily purchase my designs, that would be awesome. Helping design a line for Target or Walmart is definitely a goal of mine!” Maybe the future of fashion can find a way to incorporate both, because that would make choosing so much easier!
As a student who has been studying Fashion, I felt as though Nina had some wisdom she could share with those of you who want to study the major as well. Her wise advice: “Push yourself in your designs, this is the only time we get to make whatever we want! Take every opportunity that is presented to you because this will show in your portfolio” and finally, “don’t forget that you love what you are doing.”