Senior Spotlight: Eilis Kennedy
This week we got to know senior designer Eilis Kennedy. Keep reading to learn more about her life as a senior designer.
K&E: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where you’re from, if you have a minor, anything you’d like people to know about you?
Eilis: My name is Eilis Kennedy and I am from Philadelphia, PA. I have two younger brothers who I always try to lead a good example for. I am currently majoring in fashion design and minoring in product development. After school, I would like to work abroad for a couple years either in trend research or menswear appears design.
K&E: What has your 4-year journey in the Marist fashion program been like?
Eilis: My journey over my four years at Marist have been a huge learning experience. There are many ups and downs that you have to go through. At points, I would doubt my talent but would then have to remember that growth is part of the process. In contrast, there are times when I feel confident and have to remember that I need to continue to challenge myself and not become content where I am.
K&E: What is a typical day for you like while capping as a senior designer?
Eilis: My average day consists of waking up around 8 and being in the lab by 9. I normally try to work until 1 and then I will break for lunch. After lunch, I try to run errands or go to the gym. I resume my work around 3 and will work till my second break around dinner time. After dinner, I will work until I hit a stopping point for the day. This varies depending on what I am working on or how close we are to a deadline.
K&E: What inspires you as a designer, where do you find inspiration?
Eilis: I find most of my inspiration from architecture and the urban lifestyle. It's most frequently everyday activities that spark my initial concept. I also like being assigned an inspiration and finding a way to interpret it as my own. I think that really challenges my design abilities.
K&E: How has your work changed in the time that you have been a design major at Marist?
Eilis: I have grown immensely since coming to Marist. I entered freshman year with no sewing experience. I had majored in art in high school; however, it did not focus in figure drawing, so this was another skill I needed to learn. Since then every project has helped me to develop my talent and develop my personally aesthetic.
K&E: Are there any specific designer(s) that inspire you?
Eilis: My main fashion role model is Raf Simons. He was initially educated in industrial and furniture, so his designs have an extremely strong architectural feeling to them. I really relate to this aesthetic and find myself finding inspiration through similar structures. I also appreciate the way he challenges himself to design for brands outside of his personal aesthetic such as Dior and Calvin Klein. It shows his versatility as a design and his ability to design for each genre of people.
K&E: What are the hardest parts of being a design major?
Eilis: I think the hardest part is time management. It's something that is strengthened with every project because you learn more about the time needed for each assignment. It also varies for each person so you have to make sure you are working on your own time and not trying to work in sync with your classmates.
K&E: Do you have any hobbies outside of fashion design?
Eilis: Outside of fashion I enjoy running and reading. It's hard to balance them during the school year with my workload, but I make sure to dedicate my summer to doing these activities.
K&E: What advice would you give to younger designers or prospective Marist Fashion students?
Eilis: I think the most important thing to remember is that with every day that passes you become a better designer. I have grown so much since my freshman year and have created collections that I never thought I would be capable of designing. As long and you are passionate and dedicated to the process you will continue to get better.
K&E: How do you approach design?
Eilis: I approach design from two different angles. One is trend research. This is something that I am constantly doing, even after my designs are finalized. I think in order to stay in touch with my customer this is extremely important. Second is finding my inspiration. I try not to specifically look for inspiration, rather I try to let my surroundings influence my design.
K&E: Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process/design process?
Eilis: My creative process normally starts with something I've seen or experienced. I then try to find the different paths that the inspiration can take. My design process includes a lot of sketching. I work best when I design on paper and then bring it to life.
K&E: How do you get your ideas from concept to the finished product?
Eilis: I normally start with a bunch of sketches based on my inspiration. I will then narrow them down to about ten looks and line them up to each other. I will look at them as a whole and make sure I am carrying out similar details throughout my whole collection. After I finalized my looks I will begin to pattern make and from there it is a continuous process of creating and fitting until I achieve my desired look.
K&E: How would you describe the aesthetic of the collection?
Eilis: My collection is based on the quote "given a choice do both". I took corsets, which is initially part of the female's wardrobe, and used its main attributes to make a masculine menswear collection. I wanted to make sure that this collection spoke to my customer so removing the felinity while not losing the values and appearance of a corset was important. I used skiwear, both vintage and modern, as a bridge to connect corsets and menswear.
K&E: Could you describe your collection in three words?
Eilis: Three words to describe my collection would be inclusive, versatile, and contemporary.
K&E: Describe the women/man who would wear your collection.
Eilis: I have a contemporary urban customer. He is conscious of current event and trends. Multiple forms of art play a major role in his life, such as street art, modern art, or literature. He expands his cultural awareness by traveling to the major urban locations around the world. He is open-minded and daring when addressing his personal wardrobe.