Senior Spotlight: Mary Vodola
Silver Needle Runway would be nothing without the fabulous designers! We sat down for an exclusive interview with senior designer, Mary Vodola to learn a little bit more about her and her collection. Check her out as she takes over the Marist Fashion SnapChat account today @maristfash
Senior Fashion Designer Major with a minor in Product Development
Fun Facts: Mary has four sisters and loves elephants, so much that she adopted one in Kenya!
K&E: Do you have any hobbies outside of fashion design?
Mary: I love to knit, but that's still kind of a part of fashion design. I also used to do a lot of painting and drawing, which I do not do as much anymore. I'm hoping once I graduate and have more time I will get back into it, because I really love art.
K&E: Are there any specific designer(s) that inspire you?
Mary: I had an internship while I was in London at Jenny Packham, and she's definitely one of my favorite designers. She does a lot of evening wear and bridal. I also love really fancy, over the top evening wear, like Elie Saab, Reem Acra, and Marchesa, all of those super fancy designers!
K&E: What inspires you as a designer and where do you find inspiration?
Mary: I find inspiration everywhere. I like things that connect to my life, like secretly connecting to Disney, not really, but secretly. My senior collection is inspired by a church called the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I am very Catholic and I visited this exact church over the summer. At the church I immediately thought that it would be a really cool and unique inspiration! The Basilica is a church that I've visited numerous times, and every time I'm there I feel very inspired. It's really ornate and beautiful and it looks European but surprisingly it's not, it's American.
K&E: How would you describe the aesthetic of the collection?
Mary: It’s all very shiny and ornate with religious undertones. If you’ve seen the Dolce and Gabbana collections, there was a piece that was just a mosaic of the Virgin Mary on a dress and that’s kind of similar to my collection. It also has a lot of jewels, a lot of gold and dark colors, and a lot of satin fabrics.
K&E: Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process/design process and how you get your ideas from the concept to the finished product?
Mary: Yes, that’s a pretty long process! Over the summer when working on our senior collections we started out with an inspiration and then composed sketches from it. Next, we did drapes and then drew more sketches from that. You really just continue to evolve your sketches more and more until you reach your final vision. The first sketches that you draw are not necessarily the designs that end up on the runway. Simply showing other people and finding ideas and inspiration from everywhere makes your final work come together, usually better than you could've imagined in your original sketch. Your designs evolve from your original sketch to something way better than that.
K&E: What is a typical day for you like while capping as a senior designer?
Mary: Oh my! It depends, usually I am just in the lab all day, unless I have class, and sometimes we stay here really late, until 3 or 4 A.M., We can end up staying all night! It really just depends on what we have due the next day. A lot of the time we are working on patterns and taking breaks to watch some TV or eat food. Overall, it's a lot of hard work and late nights!
K&E: What has your 4 year journey in the Marist fashion program been like?
Mary: Stressful, but good! My work has gotten so much better during my time at Marist. I’ve gone from only doing pretty little dresses to now being able to do everything. Well, not that I can do everything, but I’ve gotten a lot better at things like pattern making and draping! You change and mature from doing things that you’ve already seen, to creating things that people have never seen before. The design program starts out slower, so that you can learn the basics. As the years go on the workload increases and you grow as a designer. One great aspect of the program is that you make really incredible friends here. I am best friends with the people in my senior design class!
K&E: What advice would you give to younger designers or prospective Marist Fashion students?
Mary: I would just say be prepared for all the work! When I was in high school I didn’t know how time consuming it would be. It's rewarding, but definitely keep the workload in mind!