2016 Designer Profiles | School of Architecture | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Applied Sciences and Arts

2016 Student Showcase & Runway Fashion Shows Designer Profiles

Cristyn Farris

“I am inspired by fabrics and a slightly more alternative lifestyle in order to create pieces that appeal to a range of audiences”


As a designer, Cristyn Farris is inspired by the unusual, and gets design inspiration from graphic novels and film portrayals of people who defy the societal definition of normal—who often find themselves in places and circumstances that embrace the unusual and dark side of life. For her senior collection, Cirque de Otage (Circus Hostage), Cristyn was inspired by the graphic novel Gloomcookie and the pop culture resurgence of the ‘creepy’ carnival, as a refuge for society’s misfits as well as a place of confinement. Corseting, closures, and the juxtaposition of style silhouettes are used with black, gray, cream, and red fabrics to create pieces in the collection that visualize the carnival atmosphere and performers, including the contortionist, the acrobat, and the horse dancer.  

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Cristyn currently lives in Marion. After graduation, she plans to start her own line on the online Etsy Store website.

Her advice to anyone who is interested in fashion is to “Stay true to yourself, learn the basics and master them. Know that you can do it, but that there is always more to learn.”

Jessica Hardwick

“I just want everyone to be able to find clothes that show off their personality and make them feel beautiful and able to conquer the world.”

Originally from Tuscola, Illinois, designer Jessica Hardwick started designing when she was four years old, using a length of velvet and her father’s ability with a stapler to create her first creation—and she has been designing ever since. For her senior collection, Jessica has designed A Flower for My Love, a line of wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Inspired by spring flowers and modern sleek and flattering silhouettes, these dresses are targeted to the modern bride, one who wants to add some fun and flirtation to her bridal party.

After graduation, Jessica plans to eventually move to New York and to become part of a design team. Her advice to young designers is ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And I know that everyone says it, but practice really does make perfect!”

Christa McGrath

“The world is full of unique beauty, and I hope to let it shine through my designs.”

Designer Christa McGrath was inspired by the song “The Trapeze Swinger” by Iron and Wine to create her senior collection, Remember Me. The song tells the story of a young girl growing up, which Christa interpreted as fashion for a girl going through school and then into the ‘real world.’ Christa’s color palette was inspired by the natural beauty of roses, and she also incorporated steampunk influences in the design details to add a touch of unique personality.

From Dunlap, Illinois, Christa is concentrating in all three of our specializations, fashion design, merchandising and styling. After her graduation in 2017, future plans include owning her own boutique.

Christa’s advice to young designers is “Don’t be afraid of working hard and correcting your mistakes. You have to put your whole heart into what you do, if you want to succeed, and never think you are done learning.”