Melissa Kubik


Editor's note: For two weeks, Fashionably Cleveland is paying homage to up-and-coming local designers. Each story subject is a graduating senior at Kent State University, and each story is written by another KSU student. Keep an eye out for these emerging fashion designers - you'll surely be hearing more about them in the future.

In the midst of senior “Hades Week” - the absolutely busiest week of the year for seniors - I had the pleasure of meeting with the beautiful and talented Melissa Kubik. Melissa is a senior fashion designer at Kent State University, and she enthusiastically prepares and puts the finishing touches on her garments before presenting them. In spite of her chaotic schedule, I was able to meet with her to ask her a few questions regarding her very glamorous collection.

Tell me about yourself: Where are you from and what first inspired you to pursue a career as a designer?

I am from Canfield, Ohio, and when I was 13 years old I became interested in designing. I have always been really into art and fashion. Hand in hand, I felt it was the perfect career for me. My high school art teacher inspired me. I never wore sweatpants to school. He said, ”You’re going to be a little designer!”

What inspired your collection - any particular artwork, person or place that inspired you?

I took inspiration from the Elizabethan Era. I used the idea of “the Ruff” and made it new and modern. The Elizabethan Era, including the particular styles and colors, also directly inspired all of my jewelry and fabrics. I purchased Duchess Satin and created inverted ruffles to make origami-like shapes. 

Who is your favorite designer and why?

I love Dolce and Gabbana. Their garments are very chic and unique. It is sexy but still very classy and sophisticated, which is something I try to incorporate into my designs. I am focused on the shape of the body and I always try to accentuate the waist. I try to think of my shape and that is something I always want to do.

What sets you apart from other designers?

My style - I don’t know anyone who has the same exact style as me. People can identify my drawings and designs and know they belong to me. It is easy for me to get my ideas fully across that way.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome in creating this collection?

It was difficult getting the shapes because everything is very origami-like. My pieces were all basically sculptures. The flounces are made with sheets of horsehair and boning to support the unique shapes in the dresses.

What is your favorite piece out of the collection and why?

The pink gown — it is my “showstopper” and finale piece. The other three pieces are shorter dresses, which makes this gown stand out because of the train and the 20 yards of fabric I used to make it. I call it the “wow factor."

Who would you like to work for someday?

If I move to Europe, I would love to design under Dolce and Gabbana. If I stay in America, I would love to design for Diane von Furstenberg. She brings a quirky, but still sophisticated style in all of her garments. Her accessories, hats and furs are definitely an inspiration to me.

Where do you see yourself five years from now? 

I hope to be launching my first line. I am planning on starting it with my roommate whose name is also Melissa. Once I get my first job, I am going to be working on my own line and finding the financial backing for it. After graduation, I plan on moving to either New York or Los Angeles. I am currently applying for jobs in both locations.

How do you feel you have grown as a designer over the past four years?

I have grown true to myself, especially after spending time in New York. I learned so much during my time in the city doing internships with Tad Boetcher [first Kent State alumnus to start his own line]. I worked as his assistant, where I did a wide range of tasks including international relations. He grew as a mentor and friend to me. I also interned for Liz Claiborne working with accessories and designing handbags. I had never designed handbags before, so it really opened my mind up to all kinds of designing!

For more about Melissa, visit her Web site at

Friday, May 7, 2010