Creativity flows in Fashion Design Process summer course

August 12, 2020

As a child, Sofia Johnston ’23 could often be found sewing alongside her mother. It’s a skill that has stuck with her as she has grown up, and one that has become stronger and more apparent through participation in the Summer Session @ CA Fashion Design Process class. 


This summer, Cheshire Academy offered students the opportunity to remotely participate in unique classes, with subjects ranging from wilderness survival and social justice to music theory and performance, economics, fashion design, and others.


For Johnston, Summer Session @ CA allowed her to continue learning during what would have otherwise been a break from academics. “The Fashion Design Process class was a way for me to continue creating art throughout the summer, and it was a chance to learn more about the fashion design process and the creation process.” 


In the class, taught by French teacher Sally Pollard, students conceptualized and illustrated a fashion line. Johnston’s inspiration stemmed from Cecilie Bahnsen, a designer whose works celebrate the traditions of French fashion and design culture of Scandanavia. “I specifically chose her Copenhagen Spring 2020 collection because we have a similar design style and preferred color palette. The pieces that I was inspired by had a variety of silhouettes and styles, and were also different colors.” 


Johnston created seven different designs for her final project. She began by developing a mood board, used for inspiration, and later made more than 20 research sketches using examples from Bahnsen’s work. From there, she narrowed her designs down to several to be fully articulated and refined for presentation and fabrication. Illustrating those final sketches took several hours. 


“My vision for the collection was a spring/summer collection that had a minimalist style,” Johnston said. “I made a ready-to-wear collection—pieces someone could wear on a daily basis if they wanted to. This collection is intended to be simple and wearable so that you could mix and match pieces. It’s a collection designed to be more accessible and inclusive.” 


With class concluded, Johnston said she gained new knowledge about designing for fashion. She credited Pollard with encouraging her and her classmates to follow their own creative design processesJohnston developed her own illustration and garment styles, among other skills, through the class. “I learned about the importance of research and sketching, and how to render and illustrate fabrics and clothing, which allowed me to be more creative with my designs.”