Senior Spotlight: Jenna Dickinson
This week we got to know senior designer Jenna Dickinson. Keep reading below to learn more about her life as a design major, and make sure to follow the @maristfash Snapchat to see Jenna take over for the day!
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?
Jenna: My name is Jenna Dickinson. I was born in New Jersey, moved to Indiana when I was 10 months old, then I moved again when I was four to Sudbury, Massachusetts. I’m a Fashion Design major with minors in both Fashion Merchandising and Product Development. I was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success my sophomore year and really enjoyed being a part of that. I enjoy yoga, going to concerts and listening to music, eating good food, reading books, hiking, and spending good quality time with friends and family.
K&E: What has your 4-year journey in the Marist fashion program been like?
Jenna: If I said my four years at college flew by and were a breeze I would be lying, every year has been exceedingly challenging, but this experience has been rewarding and has taught me diligence, resiliency, equanimity, and perseverance
K&E: What is a typical day for you like while capping as a senior designer?
Jenna: Last semester consisted of a lot more sleepless nights because we had 2 capping classes (Collections and Portfolio) so I basically lived in the studio or worked on my Portfolio in my bedroom. Second semester, however, Collections is our only capping class so I’m usually in the studio from morning to night, but every day is different. Sometimes if I’m feeling ambitious and can go to bed early, I like waking up around 6-6:30 to hit the gym before the studio opens. I try to schedule in time to exercise every day no matter how crazy the day is because it keeps me energized and productive throughout the day, plus I get a better nights sleep.
K&E: What inspires you as a designer, where do you find inspiration?
Jenna: I’m most inspired by creative concepts and imagery, current movements, and contemporary artists. This year, however, when I was given an inspiration to interpret myself, I found that I went into more depth and did more thorough research than ever before; I enjoyed this process much more than coming up with an inspiration out of thin air.
K&E: How has your work changed in the time that you have been a design major at Marist?
Jenna: My work has 100% changed. I came in freshman year barely knowing how to sew in a straight line so you can imagine how my work has changed in terms of construction, but I’ve also really explored different design aesthetics throughout my 4 years, as well as different customers. I remember as a Freshman year I designed a skirt for a customer who likes to shop at Lily Pulitzer, then I kind of got bored and I got into athletic wear, which I enjoyed but I ended up going back to designing contemporary womenswear. The 3 design internships I have done have been amazing and have definitely impacted my design direction. They showed me that I can be happy and adjust to an extremely small businesses as well as large corporate companies, but I also learned more about what specific designers/brands I look up to, and this has really helped me in the direction and transformation of my design aesthetic throughout my 4 years. I admit it wasn’t easy for me to figure out my design aesthetic, I really went across the board and explored all my options until I finally figured out what I like, what I truly feel passionate about and the exact customer I want to design for.
K&E: Are there any specific designer(s) that inspire you?
Jenna: Stella McCartney, Edun, ADEAM, Delpozo, Calvin Klein, Dion Lee, and other contemporary womenswear designers inspire me.
K&E: What are the hardest parts of being a design major?
Jenna: The hardest part of this major for me was having confidence in my abilities creatively and constructively. I can be indecisive sometimes and question my designs too much, but once I realized I just have to go for it and trust my gut, things went much more smoothly. Equally difficult, was definitely time management. Coming in as a freshman I was used to my time management and study techniques I used in high school which no longer were applicable because while I knew how long it would take me to write an essay or study for a test, I had no idea how long sewing a garment would take. I quickly realized that my fashion design homework took way longer than my work for other classes so prioritizing fashion classes over my other classes became unavoidable.
K&E: Do you have any hobbies outside of fashion design?
Jenna: Before college my #1 passion was Volleyball. I miss it every day but I don’t regret for a second not playing in college because I wouldn’t have been able to be in Fashion Design. However, after college I hope to get back into it and join an intramural team or a women’s league. Other hobbies I have are yoga and dancing. I also weirdly enjoy learning how to code--not sure if I’ll ever use this skill again but I taught myself back when you had to know how to code if you wanted a unique looking Tumblr. I'm also very active on Pinterest, so I guess I enjoy blogging and learning new skills.
K&E: What advice would you give to younger designers or prospective Marist Fashion students?Jenna: Never give up. Ask questions until you run out of questions. Prioritize fashion classes as much as you can. Accept that you will be in the studio more than you are in the library or at home or anywhere else. Plan when you are going to have breaks or social time with your friends, so you have something to work up to and you can reward yourself. Don’t hold back any creative ideas no matter how crazy they might sound. Do a lot of research in trends and designers to help you find yourself and your niche/aesthetic. Be patient and open-minded with the design process. When you’re overwhelmed with work and don’t know where to begin, just start somewhere and plan accordingly. Constantly question your design decisions, never your ability.
K&E: How do you approach design? Could you tell us a little bit about your creative process/design process? How do you get your ideas from concept to the finished product?
Jenna: I approach my designs with one customer and vision in mind, but open to changes and alterations. I usually start with a massive collection of images/ideas I’m inspired by and then I condense them by sorting them into groups when I see a common theme or pattern, whether it’s the colors used, the mood it portrays, or the aesthetic. Then I condense further to one or two themes and do more research and find more images to come to one singular inspiration and inspiration board. Once I have a solid vision for color, I start sketching and source fabric swatches. Then I consolidate my sketches, narrowing them down to 10-12 looks, and then I make drapes, and make variations of those and sketch them again..which all ultimately leads me to my final line up.
K&E: How would you describe the aesthetic of the collection?
Jenna: My collection was inspired by “Public Privacy”, a concept that reflects two opposite states of one's mind and body. I connected this phrase with the dual nature of a woman, mentioned in the book Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés: “The outer being, which is easily observed and the inner being of a woman, which is often wild, surprising, original, and knowing.” I incorporated silhouettes and textiles which expose the body in a bold yet conservative and feminine manner. I also loosely took inspiration from Samurai clothing and Japanese details to add a dimension of strength and elegance throughout my collection.
K&E: Could you describe your collection in three words?
Jenna: Three words to describe my collection are feminine, delicate, and textural.
K&E: Have any personal experiences inspired your collection?
Jenna: Yes, interning at Natori, a luxury lingerie and RTW womenswear company, has inspired me to use more Japanese-inspired details and even incorporate more intimate garments into my collection.