Feeling as though her heart might skip a beat, Sharon Moon 14 AP managed to remain visibly composed earlier this month while prepping models about to strut down a gleaming runway. As a finalist in the popular and highly competitive Supima Design Competition, the newly minted graduate was about to debut her original capsule collection during New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
In the seconds leading up to the big moment, Moon carefully guided the arms of a model into a meticulously constructed vest made of unprocessed pima cotton. And then she stood back, watching as internationally renowned photographers snapped shots of her voluminous garments.
“It’s still difficult to fully grasp that I just presented my work to legendary designers at one of the world’s most publicized fashion events,” Moon noted in the days following the big event. “It was a surprisingly emotional experience.”
Over the summer, the apparel designer practically walled herself inside a RISD studio to develop her collection. With the concentration of a seasoned scientist, the Korean-born designer performed material experiments on white swaths of denim, twill, corduroy, sheeting and jersey.
Moon tested out the solubility and strength of different types of organic dyes in a large tub nestled in a corner of the studio. “It was really fun to mix coloring,” she says. “Every time I stumbled upon an interesting hue, I’d make a note of the specific recipe. Sometimes I’d slightly alter the concentration [of the dye] to refine the shade.” In addition, her experiments with a laser cutter led to the beautifully ornate pieces she presented in New York.
Leading up to the competition, Apparel Design Department Head Meg DeCubellis 83 AP and designers from Supima met with Moon weekly to offer helpful feedback and encouragement. During these sessions, the designer was especially happy to learn technical tricks that helped her sew thicker fabrics such as denim and corduroy. “It was so great to have talented designers give me feedback on my ideas,” she says.
In the end, though Moon didn’t take home the $10,000 grand prize, she says the entire experience was intense but invaluable. “I’m hoping to work in a fashion house that specializes in feminine womenswear,” the young designer explains. “I feel like I now have the necessary skills to bring something fresh and edgy to the drawing board.”
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