Jill Krieger

Editor's note: Through this week, 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.

Until the day of the photo shoot, I had seen only sketches of Jill Krieger’s senior collection. What I saw in the sketches was beautiful, delicate and original, however, what I saw as the garment bag unzipped on the morning of the photo shoot was breathtaking. 

Krieger’s use of fluid, earth-tone fabrics combined with perfect drapery creates an alluring effect for her cruise wear collection, as though the garments are wet. The sheen of the fabric captures the attention of onlookers, while Krieger’s hand-painted embellishments and drapery keep eyes lingering. 

Q: How long have you been working on your collection?

A: We started designing this collection in April of 2009. It was our final project at the end of junior year and corresponded with our critics over the summer about changes to make in our collection. This has been a very long and endearing process, months and months of hard work, time, money, and often tears. 

Q: What did you use as inspiration for your collection?

A: I originally wanted to play with the idea of trompe l’oeil, simply making something appear to be something it isn’t. Most designers use this in a graphic or design detail. I however wanted to work with the softest and sleekest jersey I could find and make my collection appear through draping techniques to appear wet — just like water. I truly got the most inspiration from my actual fabric that I absolutely fell in love with. I wanted the fabric and the techniques I used to be the highlight of my collection, and I think I achieved that. 

Q: How has your personal style influenced this collection?

A: I wouldn’t say my person style has much to do with my collection; I typically wear very simple T's, button-downs and jeans. I keep my personal style simple, honestly because my design aesthetic usually consumes my thoughts! I wanted a swimwear collection that any young woman would want to wear on a cruise, slightly more sophisticated and sleek, yet totally wearable and fun. 

Q: What statement are you trying to make with your collection?

A: I want my collection to reflect my passion and skill in drapery. I also wanted to push the envelope because let's face it, this is senior year, and I can. I’m allowed to be a little wild because this collection is a reflection of my years in college. I always want to remember the fearlessness with which I have entered this stage in my life. There’s a time and place for being conservative in your design aesthetic — and that’s not now. 

Q: Who is your favorite designer, and have they impacted your senior collection at all?

A: My favorite designer has always been John Galliano, his creative influence is literally from a whole other planet, and I greatly respect his design aesthetic and his kind personality. He once said, “Be reckless enough to gamble all or nothing to follow your dreams,” and I feel that in this career path one has to be fearless, confident, and just a little crazy - enough to push the envelope. He always does. 

Q: Did you ever dream of what your collection would look like throughout your last 3three years at Kent?

A: I feel like every design student imagines what his or her collection will look like in the end, but I would be careless to say I always knew what it would look like. Even after I had my collection designed, things morphed and changed as the actual design process took place. It’s all trial and error, seeing what is realistic in the time we have. I always knew I wanted to design knitwear, something easy, beautiful and draped. I ended up designing a swimwear collection with silk jersey cover-ups. 

Q: So, you have had critiques: What is it like to have your garments analyzed by big names in the industry such as Dana Buchman?

A: It is a great honor to be critiqued by such influential people in the fashion industry such as Dana. My critic was Charles Nolan, and our design aesthetics are very different, which was hard to be on equal terms with. I feel like the critics this year were very much like Paula, Randy and Simon from American Idol. Even though I got the Simon of the group, I’m grateful that he really told it like it was, and in the end I think I got his approval. 

Q: What would be the best response or compliment you could receive about your collection after your models walk the runway in April?

A: The best compliment I could have gotten I already have. My mom and dad are so proud of all the work I have done, and neither of them could be happier to see me follow my dreams. Whether or not I’m in the show, I will always have that, and that’s all I ever really wanted.

Sunday, May 16, 2010