Senior Designer Spotlight: An Interview with Francine Saternus ’15

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Tell us a bit about yourself, where you’re from etc.

My name is Francine Saternus and I am 21 years old and have lived in Buffalo my whole life. My passion in life is to design and sew and always try new things when it comes to design and garment construction. I was always sewing and crafting when I was younger and over time that as evolved into me becoming an apparel design student at Buffalo State.

How did you get started in design and what inspired you to become a designer?

I can always remember being really into crafting and sewing when I was younger. I always used to take my mom’s old jeans and sew them into bags on our sewing machine. From that point on I was always looking for more things to make for myself, learning more about sewing along the way. When I was in high school I started to buy old clothing from thrift stores and update them to wear for myself. That is when I realized that designing and sewing were my calling in life. I feel completely in my element when I’m behind a sewing machine or sketching up some new ideas.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

I draw inspiration from just about everything. I’m really in tune with my emotions so most of the time my inspiration has to do with an emotional connection or feeling.

Describe your collection in one word:

Carefree 

Tell us the theme behind your designs for Runway 8.0:

The theme behind my designs is about the human connection to the water and how that connection is controlled by the moon and its path. I am a water sign, therefore I can really relate to the connection with water and the moon’s power. I love to follow astrology and I really believe that everything in the universe is connected, and that idea is what I initially wanted to portray through my designs. I used an ice dyeing technique to create a unique, fluid print for my fabric. By using a dyeing technique using ice, I am incorporating different stages of water to bring my collection together full circle.

concept board

What do you think is it about your work that sets you apart?

 I feel like the inspiration behind my designs really sets me apart from everyone else. I like to be really hands on with whatever I create. I put my heart and soul into every aspect of designing and sewing a garment that makes it completely one of a kind.

Any projects you want to plug after Runway 8.0?

At the moment, no. I always have an open mind when it comes to designing, so I’m really up for whatever life throws my way.

What other activities do you enjoy doing besides design?

I obviously love to sew, and this collection has allowed me to experiment with dyeing fabrics, which has become an interest of mine as well. I enjoy searching thrift stores for really great vintage pieces to modernize and wear. I really just enjoy making things in general, whether it’s clothing, crafts or even food. It’s a really great feeling to find what you love and be able to do it every day.  

What are your goals for designing? What type of person do you imagine you’re designing for?

My ultimate goal for designing is to make the individual who’s wearing the garments feel comfortable and pretty in their own skin. I imagine myself designing for younger women who are looking for that go to piece to throw on, accessorize, and walk out the door.

If you could design for one celebrity, who would it be and why?

Probably Kate Hudson, just because I absolutely love her style and how she seems to pull off just about anything.

Could you give us a little preview of what to expect at Runway 8.0? What type of collection are you showing? What are the inspirations behind it/the philosophy guiding it?

I feel like my collection really embodies who I am as a person. The inspiration, the dyeing process and the garment designs are all aspects of the collection that I was able to use to let the world know who I am. My collection is a very wearable, easygoing collection. I wanted to create something that people would look at and think “I want to wear that.” The philosophy guiding my collection is the idea that people can all feel a connection with a person, place, or time in their life. For me, I have always found that connection with beaches and just being by the water. That connection I feel is something that it difficult for me to explain in words, so I’m using this collection to speak for me.

What can you tell us about the color scheme, construction and how you went about making the collection on the more technical side?

Since the inspiration for my collection was the human connection to water and how the moon and its path can control this connection, my color scheme incorporates a lot of different shades of blue. I love how all the colors together give off a relaxed, ocean vibe. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to dye my own fabric and I came across a technique where you fold your fabric in a pleated pattern, cover the fabric with ice then sprinkle powder dye on top. As the ice melts, the dye seeps into the fabric, ultimately creating a really interesting print. Staying true to the inspiration, the designs for the garments were intended to be very loose like they would flow in the wind when wearing them.

How many hours a day do you spend working on your collection on average?

Around 4 hours on days that I have other work to do as well. On my days off, I spend the whole day sewing. I’m a perfectionist so I put a lot of time into making sure everything looks great.

How do you think your education has prepared you for Runway 8.0?

Learning how to draft and drape patterns has definitely prepared me for Runway. I was able to use what I had learned in previous classes along with experimenting with new ideas to create something completely new.

Runway Fashion Show student portraits.

Post-grad plans?

If there is anything I have learned from this experience, it’s that I should never pass up an opportunity to do what I love. That is pretty much my plan after graduation, to really embrace any challenge that I encounter. I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

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