Rachel Hamerski ’14, will debut her senior collection of women’s wear at Buffalo State’s Runway 7.0 Annual Fashion Show on May 10. The runway team spoke with her about her design philosophy, involvement in the fashion industry, and her adventure in Runway 7.0.
Tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from etc.
I am a native of Buffalo. Ever since I was a young girl I loved to make crafts such as, jewelry, wreaths, and I LOVED collecting buttons. Which hence started my love for fashion and details. I originally studied fashion merchandising and ended up taking apparel design as a dual concentration at Buffalo State. Throughout my college career I’ve had some fantastic opportunities such as, becoming a Cotton University Ambassador for Cotton Inc. and last fall I won 1st place in the student collection section at Runway 6.0.
How did you get started in design and what inspired you to become a designer?
In the Spring 2012, I took a “Cotton Transformation Challenge” class that had us design a garment that was solely made out of men’s dress shirting fabric. This project was sponsored by Cotton Inc. with Dr. Boorady as our instructor. In order for the garment to resist wrinkling, I designed a sleeveless white dress with zigzagged zipper tape seaming. The amount of zipper tape used was 30 yards in three different color ways. This dress was shown on the Runway 5.0 stage, won a Creativity Award during the Cotton Symposium, and graced the Runway 6.0 poster series. From that point forward, I was inspired to become a designer!
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Chrysalias, the name of my collection, was inspired by the mirrored symmetry of nature i.e. butterflies. One of the Rorschach ink blot psychology cards resembles a butterfly and is the inspiration of my prints. The purpose of using these Rorschach ink blot psychology cards in medicine is to find ones identity (alias) and personality.
Tell us the theme behind your designs for Runway 7.0
The theme I wanted to portray is the identity of a woman with confidence and independence. This is where the two power colors of cobalt blue and radiant red come into play. My design aesthetic is best described as combining hard and soft elements such as, the leather and peplum details.
What do you think is it about your work that sets you apart?
I believe my collection has set me apart from the other designers because it is wearable, cohesive, and incorporates the theme of Runway effectively. The prints of my collection were designed by me and are inspired by the Rorschach ink blot psychology cards. The majority of the leather used in my collection is up cycled leather.
Any projects you want to plug after Runway 7.0?
The other projects I am working on are showing in two additional fashion shows in the summer and promoting my brand called Chelle Rae. I would like to start experimenting with wearable art and using unconventional materials within garments. During the summer, I was hired as a director of Clothing and Construction in the Creative Arts department at the 175th Annual Erie County Fair.
What other activities do you enjoy doing besides design?
Shopping leisurely of course! I love exploring the outdoors, listening to music, and jogging.
See Rachel’s collection and more at Runway, May 10th! Click HERE to purchase your tickets today!
– runway team