Friday, May 11, 2012

Fashion Is Redemptive: A Senior Art Project Brings the Runway to Gordon

“I got the chance to see how fashion can be incredibly redemptive.” Senior art student Kristin Bollier smiled as she explained to a packed Ken Olsen Science Center lobby her experience as a summer intern at Donna Karan in New York City last summer. Bollier, an aspiring designer, showcased six original designs made from already created pieces last Friday at her Le Point ReFashion Show, sponsored by the Campus Events Council. Bollier thrifted, resewed and redesigned several pieces in one color palette. Gordon students modeled her looks on a figure eight runway in the KOSC lobby.

“Every time I went thrifting, I would look for pieces within my color palette, and from this group of clothing I fit pieces together that I felt best spoke to one another,” Bollier says. She has been working on this project for the entire academic year, even using time at home during breaks to search for textures, colors and patterns that fit her particular aesthetic. The finished collection fits seamlessly together and the looks—centered around current trends like polka dots and bright colors—were well received by the crowd of students.

When asked about the purpose behind her show, Bollier said, “My show is about how fashion can create positive dialogue in community—a ‘give and take’ of new ideas reflecting shared experiences amongst people.” She hosted a panel after the show with faculty members Casey Cooper (Economics and Business), Tim Ferguson-Sauder (Design) and Jean Sbarro-Jones (Art). The three panelists offered thoughts about how fashion can be a positive agent of redemption in the world, in our communities. 

Sbarro-Jones commented on how the design elements of the show—from the repeating patterns and the color scheme, to the lines and shapes Kristin used—help to tell a visual story, one that draws people in. Ferguson-Sauder talked about self-expression—and how fashion is an important part of self-expression for all people, Christians included. Kristin responded to the discussion, “I believe that at the heart of fashion lie questions of identity: Who am I? What do I value? Where is my worth? Asking these questions of ourselves and our community takes courage and vulnerability.”

The event certainly inspired those gathered to think about how community and fashion can work together towards redemption. After the show, Kristin and the six students modeling her looks stayed in the Chairman’s Room to answer questions, and admirers of the pieces gathered to take a closer look at Kristin’s work.

After graduation, Kristin hopes to pursue a fashion design career in New York City. But she wants to keep community, similar to the one she has found at Gordon, at the forefront of what she does. “I have learned the hard way that I can't tackle these questions on my own,” she says. “I need a community—one filled with diverse experiences and perspectives—in order to hold me accountable and to inspire me to continue to seek after beauty as the Lord defines it.”

Story by Hilary Sheratt ’12, a Pike Scholar from Rowley, Massachusetts, and student writer for the Office of College Communications.

Photo: Kristin Bollier ’12 (center), together with six student models dressed in Bollier's [re]fashions.

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