Senior Designer Spotlight: An Interview with Elizabeth Knights ’15

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

I am from a very small town about an hour and a half South of Buffalo called Dansville.

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

I started having an interest in design when I was in the 6th grade taking home economic classes with my teacher Mrs. Stead. The first products I ever sewed were a basic drawstring bag and PJ shorts. I began to hand sew at home until I got a machine. No one in my family sews or is even artsy, I believe my teacher was my initial inspiration to become a designer.

Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?

My inspirations for design are mostly developed in the actual textile design. I draw ideas and inspirations from classical and modern art.

Describe your collection in one word:

Urban

Tell us the theme behind your designs for Runway 8.0

The theme behind my designs for Runway is derived from the artist Henri Matisse. I developed overlapping prints based on his art works using deconstructed screen-printing. Rick Owens was also influenced in my garment design. My goal with my collection was to create textile patterns with a sharp cut edge and also incorporate a liquid look. I wanted to create garments that are simple in design to show off my hand made fabrics and also give that relaxed urban edge feel to the garments.

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

What sets my work apart from the others is the time and quality I spent that I put into my fabrics. Each year I have done Runway I have created my own fabrics using different techniques. This year I challenged myself and used a very difficult technique that takes more time and research. Deconstructed screen-printing uses alginate, which is a seaweed chemical base to get the overlapping of colors and prints.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.03.44 PMScreen Shot 2015-04-03 at 3.03.21 PM

What other activities do you enjoy doing besides design?

Traveling is pretty much the only outside activity of design that I enjoy. I love to experience different and new cultures, my visits to different countries has defiantly influenced my personal work in my fiber arts.

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

Throughout my years at Buffalo State I have discovered that I am stronger as a textile designer than I am in apparel design. I would love to take my minor in fiber arts and further my education. I would like to create and design fabrics for the upholstery or fashion apparel industry.

Could you talk a little bit about your experience in Runway 8.0? I don’t think a lot of our readers are very clear on what it is/what the experience is like

Runway 8 has been the most difficult year so far. This will be my 4th year in Runway; no other year has been more stressful than this one! As a senior designer there has been so much time and planning that I have put into this collection.

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

I referred to this year’s fashion colors for my collection. Actually creating these colors by hand made was an entire different project. I had to do multiple series of trial and error with chemical dyes and different fabrics. Each test was done with different colors ranging in different amounts of dye powder, salt, and soda ash to succeed in my colors being exactly like my color pallet that I created on the computer.

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

It seemed like I spent more time into creating my fabrics, probably around 6 hours a day was just on doing that. Around 3 hours a day was put into the construction of my garments.

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

I think that having an education in both areas of apparel design and fiber arts has prepared me for Runway 8.

Runway Fashion Show student portraits.

Post-grad plans?

I would like to further my education and go to graduate school in fiber arts and textile design after I graduate in December.

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