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2018 Student Showcase & Runway Fashion Shows Designer Profiles

Sydney Baker

Sydney Baker

“Don’t rush greatness; be patient, take your time and everything will turn out amazing.”

Sydney Baker, from Matteson, Illinois, knew that fashion was something that she always wanted to do since she was in preschool—she was constantly in her mother’s closet, and would critique and adjust mannequins in department stores. And now, she can’t imagine herself doing anything else.

As a designer, Sydney is inspired by anything and everything. She believes that there are no boundaries to what can inspire her and continue to grow her creativity.

For her final collection, Shades, Sydney was inspired by Christian Louboutin’s Nudes Collection. Her goal for this line is to redefine what is commercially known as a ‘nude’ color. Because Sydney believes there are many different shades of nude, and that they should be represented in every way possible. Shades celebrates the richness and diversity of fashion.

Sydney would advise any aspiring designer “Don’t compare your failure to someone else’s success.” After she graduates, she plans to work in the bridal industry and eventually establish her own line of bridal wear.


August Morgan Bishop

August Morgan Bishop

“I create fashion options and try to close the divide between ‘men’s’ and ‘women’s’ clothing. I design distinctly and uniquely, always trying to come up with something unheard of.”

August Morgan Bishop, from Mundelein, Illinois, will present their final collection Analog, a line of non-gendered clothing. August designed their collection using a combination of masculine and feminine qualities for people who identify as non-binary or for people who do identify as male or female, but wish to present themselves in a more androgynous way—those who do not wish to conform to what society deems as ‘for men’ or ‘for women.’

The Analog collection was inspired by electronic technology of the past, present, and future. August believes that technology, gender and gender identities are always changing and developing. And, even if people may not understand how it works, it still works regardless, and continues to exist.

August advises young designers to “Make friends in your fashion classes and work together. Being able to bounce your ideas off each other or to have someone to go shopping with can make work feel more like fun.” After graduation, August plans to move to Chicago, work and improve their skills, eventually establishing a line of androgynous clothing, and opening a store targeting trans and nonbinary people, or anyone who is seeking androgynous fashion.


Julianne Rae Bridges

Julianne Rae Bridges

“Design is not just about creating something to show the world what you can do, but rather to show yourself what you can overcome and achieve.”

Julianne Rae Bridges’ final collection, Halo, was inspired by the people she is most close to, and to whom her collection is dedicated: “We’re all uniquely different in our own way, but yet we’re all connected together.” She uses the four elements of fire, earth, air and water, and combined them with zodiac signs based on their ruling houses: Aries/House of Self, Taurus/House of Worth, Gemini/House of Communication, Cancer/House of Security, Leo/House of Pleasure, Libra/House of Relationships, Scorpio/House of Intimacy, and Capricorn/House of Career. This collection also represents individual qualities of the designer: sincerity, ambition, enthusiasm, balance, and morality.

As a designer, Julianne uses fashion as a way to share her art with the world, yet still have that art remain a part of her. She is also inspired in her design work by the things she finds important, and wants to create garments for consumers that may believe they have been ignored by the fashion industry.

Julianne advises designers to “Live with fortitude no matter what happens in your life.” After graduation, she plans on moving to Edwardsville and find a job in the St. Louis fashion industry.


Alana R. Cade

Alana R. Cade

“My inspiration is linked to emotion. Good or bad, I feed off it. It helps me understand myself and others better.”

Alana Cade was born in St. Louis, and was raised in Cahokia. Since she was eight years old, she knew she wanted to pursue fashion design as a career. She connects the aspects of her designs through emotions and her observations of life through every experience and person.

Alana is especially inspired by nature, and her final collection, Arcadia, reflects her botanical favorites. Each garment in her collection represents the flow and life each plant radiates.

Alana’s future plans are to build her own brand, start her own business, further her education and travel as much as possible. Her advice to others who want to venture into fashion or anything they are passionate about is “To not form the way people tell you to or how you think you need to. Go with the flow but stay aware of strong currents. There will always be hard times and you will always figure it out. Take your time, breathe.”


Kyndell Cole

Kyndell Cole

“I enjoy taking feminine styles and giving them an edgy utilitarian touch. I love strong bold colors mixed with subtle or simple prints, especially plaids!”

Kyndell Cole, from Chatham, Illinois, grew up loving all things artistic. After seven years as a professional hairstylist, she made the choice to follow her dream and her passion: fashion design. She said goodbye to the life and business she spent years building, and followed her dream, even though she knew it would be one of the hardest choices she would ever make.

Her final collection, Resurrection, is a reflection of her choice to follow her dream. Like the mythical phoenix, Kyndell keeps rising, through adversity and obstacles, never giving up, and choosing to keep going, to rise up, and live on. The Resurrection collection brings an edgy concept of femininity, suggesting the power, rage, and unpredictability of fire.

After graduation, Kyndell plans to move to Nashville, Tennessee, and work as a design consultant. To anyone interested in a fashion career, Kyndell says “Just keep pushing—if you love it, keep going and don’t give up. It’s never too late to start doing what makes you happy.”


Eva Dynes

Eva Dynes

“I design clothes for the ‘everyday woman.’ She deserves fashion that is flattering, durable, and functional. I enjoy designing pieces that can be worn in different ways for various occasions. I believe modesty can be stylish as well as elegant.”

Eva Dynes’ collection, Contemporary Prairie, is a reflection of growing up on her family farm in Henry County, near the town of Annawan, Illinois. Her color palette was inspired by the blue skies, golden corn and the lush green pastures of Western Illinois. Eva utilizes both heavy and lightweight fabrics, in order to create the diverse textures found on the prairie. She has also incorporated needlework accents on some garments to reflect her passion for quilting. All put together, Eva’s distinctive line is easy to wear and perfect for today’s women.

Eva plans to pursue a career in the fashion industry after graduation. She advises young designers that “Your first attempt in garment design may not meet your expectations…and that’s okay…just take a deep breath, make adjustments, and try again. It all comes together in the end.”


Joshua Gavel

Joshua Gavel

“I design for women who aren’t afraid to take control, push boundaries, and break glass ceilings. Women who challenge convention and are always ready to show their tenacity.”

Joshua Gavel’s senior collection, Back from the Edge, is inspired by finding beauty even in your darkest moments, and from singer-songwriter, James Arthur. This line creates modern and urban looks based on the messages of struggle and redemption found in Arthur’s music. The balanced and safe black, white, and grey color palette juxtaposed with asymmetrical lines and cutouts demonstrates how far we are willing to go to break free of our own darkness.

Born and raised in central Illinois, this Philo, Illinois native takes inspiration for his designs from the pull of the ever-changing nature of the modern and urban world. Attracted to the pull of large cities and the blending of cultures, Josh would love to see the world and design for the modern woman who isn’t afraid to fight for her place at the top. After graduation he plans to attend law school, move to New York City, and work for a fashion corporation in intellectual property law…before eventually returning to design to start his own company.

Josh’s advice for aspiring designers is “Don’t be afraid to push boundaries and try out many different aesthetics. You never know where you will find inspiration and create something you never dreamed you could.”


Emily Hennenfent

Emily Hennenfent

“I am inspired by history and the fashions of the past. The colors, fabrics, and most importantly, the silhouettes of fashion history are my most trustworthy sources of inspiration.”

Emily Hennenfent, from Wataga, Illinois, creates her designs using historical fashions as her source of inspiration. She is also fascinated by the internal structures that support and create iconic fashions. Her final collection, Caged, was inspired by one of the most infamous historical fashions: the corsets and paniers of Marie Antoinette from 18th century France. Rather than hiding these support garments, Emily uses those hidden structures as the visible focus of her garments. By using sheer and textured fabrics, the shapes of the structures are enhanced, and her selections of dark, rich, and metallic colors give the line a moody, high-fashion feel.

Emily’s advice for aspiring designers is to “Do the thing you can’t stop thinking about.” She plans to move to Las Vegas after graduation, to work on costume creation, restoration, and display.


Olivia G. Martinez

Olivia G. Martinez

“Design is a form of expression, confidence, and the impact of the world around you the way you receive it.”

Olivia G. Martinez, from Round Lake, Illinois, uses the world around her for design inspiration. For her final collection, L’esprit D’aventure, she was inspired by her study abroad experience in Grenoble, France, and her further travel to Marseilles, Paris, and Geneva, Switzerland. Observing the locals’ street style and natural and man-made scenery, Olivia designed her collection of garments to reflect a particular design element or characteristic of architectural and natural structures. Textured fabrics in black, white, and metallic are accented by occasional pops of color to help express shape and form.

After graduation, Olivia hopes to take her knowledge and her unusual design inspirations into the fashion industry in Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee, and ultimately achieve success for herself and her future family. Her advice to anyone interested in fashion as a career is to “Be ambitious, dedicated, and willing to make the time commitment for your life. Love your work and always find the fun in what you do. Persevere and explore your future.”


Yazmin Rosado-Polanco

Yazmin Rosado-Polanco

“Surprisingly, I’m a designer who rarely likes to put on clothes, but creating them is a different story for me.”

From St. Louis, Missouri, Yazmin (pronounced with a ‘J’) Rosado-Polanco first realized she had an eye for art when she was four years old, and her art teacher in kindergarten continuously pulled her out of class for art competitions. She hasn’t stopped drawing since!

Yazmin drew on her Puerto Rican culture and her Taino heritage to create her final collection, Boriqua. Using a wide range of vibrant colors, she incorporates cultural design aspects to create a line of colorful, easy-to-wear island-inspired garments that pay homage to the love she has for her culture.

Majoring in all three specialization (design, merchandising, and styling), after graduation she has an open mind as to where her degree will lead her. One thing she knows for certain: she wants her own clothing brand. Her advice as a designer is “If it feels right, then do it; stay true to yourself, and never conform to society’s norms.”


Anna Rutledge

Anna Rutledge

“I design for anyone, any size, any shape, who wants to stand out in a crowd.”

As a young girl in Evansville, Indiana, Anna Rutledge received a book about Nikola Tesla, an inventor, physicist, engineer and futurist, whose work in developing electrical systems changed the 20th century. Anna’s discovery of Tesla has inspired her design and creativity ever since. As a designer, Anna takes inspiration from science fiction, Victorian aesthetics, steam-powered machinery, and discovering how things are formed and what they are made of. Her final collection, The Final Frontier, combines her interest in Steampunk, Victoriana, Goth, The Addams Family, and graphic novels.

After graduation, Anna plans to move to Las Vegas and design and sell unconventional garments for special occasions. Her advice to designers is to “Be nice to everyone; you never know who you can learn from or who can help you later in life.”


Kandis J. Sullivan

Kandis J. Sullivan

"When you wear my designs, you'll feel so dazzling that you aren't even in your own skin."

Kandis J. Sullivan, from Chicago, Illinois, was inspired to pursue a career in fashion because she believes that the personality of people is reflected in the way that they dress. Kandis feels that style and uniqueness allows a person to express themselves and let others know who they truly are. Her final collection, Kandy, was inspired by her own personal style and personality. With charming colors and alluring fabrics, Kandis wants the individuals who wear her clothing to be able to dance the night away!

After Kandis finishes her fashion design studies, she will complete a degree in small business management to help her obtain her final goal of starting her own online label. Kandis’ advice: “Follow your dreams and never be scared to go outside of the box. Let your creativity take you far and beyond!”