Designer April Howard poses with models Aminata, Rose, and Ranya backstage at the Rodarte Spring 2010 Ready to Wear show.
San Francisco — This week is a big deal for us fashion fanatics. Mercedes Benz-sponsored New York Fashion Week (NYFW) kicked off yesterday with a new addy at Lincoln Center. There will be a bevy of designers showcasing their designs from well known veterans such as Ralph Lauren to rising stars such as Christian Siriano.
Students from the Academy of Art University, who were selected from a talented pool of graduate students, will also exhibit their design talents.
This year, the students whose fashions will grace the NYFW runway include Cara Chiappetta, April Howard, Jungah Joo, Maria Korovilas, Louie Llewellyn, Camilla Olson, and Xiang Zhang.
I recently caught up with April Howard — who hails from Hartford, Connecticut — for an e-interview to discuss her collection and landing a spot on the roster of the biggest fashion event of the season.
The Chic Spy: What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
April Howard: I have a background in fine art and textile design. I wanted to be able to build on my textile design experience and take the fabrics I have designed and make them into garments, rather than having someone else design the silhouettes. Essentially, my goal was to master the entire process.
TCS: How many pieces are in the collection you will present at New York Fashion Week?
AH: There are six looks in my collection and a total of nine garments
TCS: How long did it take you to create the collection?
AH: I began researching my concept and sorting through different ideas last summer. By the fall I had a solid concept and began draping and making muslins of my garments to test different silhouettes and fabrications. From that point I just worked on perfecting my garments until I came up with six strong looks that I felt very confident about.
TCS: What or whom inspired this collection?
AH: My collection was inspired by the urban decay of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. I wanted to take this feeling of a rotting landscape and bring it back to life with sculptural pieces that reminded me of discarded tires and melted plastic.
TCS: What has been the most challenging aspect of completing this collection?
AH: Knowing when to stop and move onto the next look. I wanted to keep pushing my silhouettes further.
TCS: What are you doing to prepare for the show?
AH: I am trying to get some rest before the final week of craziness. After my show, I am working with Rodarte so I will not actually have a break until after September 14th when I plan to relax and spend some time in my old neighborhood in Brooklyn.
TCS: Which fashion designer inspires you and your work as a designer?
AH: My favorite designers are Vionnet, Balenciaga, Thakoon, and Dior. I feel like everyone says the same thing but it is true.
TCS: If you could design a piece for anyone past or present, who would it be?
AH: Right now I am fascinated by Marion Cotillard. I was just looking her up today and discovered that her birthday is two days after mine.
TCS: What is your favorite piece from the collection, why and can you describe the design?
AH: A modern motorcycle jacket that has a slouchy collar and a winged back. The models look very fierce and warrior like when they wear it.
April Howard, along with the other Academy of Art University fashion design students will present their collections tonight at Lincoln Center Theatre. The show will be STREAMED LIVE at 5 p.m. (PST) on Sept. 10.(Photo credits: Carolyn Oh)
The Chic Spy