Heading into her final year as Anni Albers Scholar at N.C. State, Clarissa Arocena is spending her summer competing against designers from around the globe in the MUUSE x Vogue Talents Young Vision Award design competition.
The competition, sponsored by Vogue magazine and international online boutique MUUSE, gives emerging designers an opportunity to create a capsule collection to be featured and sold on the MUUSE site, along with inclusion in a feature story in Vogues Italian edition.
Arocena is one of 150 semi-finalists chosen from hundreds of international applicants. Her collection, titled Control, was a departure for the student designer, who usually creates more conventional ready-to-wear clothing.
With this collection, I really wanted to think conceptually and push myself to view my collection as more of a story that provokes an emotion, she says. I wanted to create a collection of garments that is not gender-based; it is a uniform inspired by utopian control that evokes a very sterile and clinical feeling.
The womenswear pieces certainly have a spare, minimalist look, in muted hues of white and gray. Arocena drew inspiration for the structure of the pieces from techniques learned in a mens tailoring independent study she completed this past academic year.
I used the principles of minimalist design to present these traditional tailoring techniques, she says. I also looked at a lot of science fiction movies, such as THX 1138, Prometheus and 2001: A Space Odyssey for inspiration on the type of silhouette I wanted to portray that very hospital-like, clinical feel.
Voting in the contest is open to the public through July 11 at vogue.muuse.com. Public votes will determine 50 finalists, which will then be judged by Sara Maino, senior fashion editor at Italian Vogue. Maino will select a grand prize winner, along with 10 finalists that will go to a public vote for a peoples choice award.
Arocena feels grateful to have this opportunity, and hopes it will lead to bigger things in her career as a designer.
This is an opportunity that I have been wanting, and working very hard toward, since I was in high school, she says. I hope one day to be a very influential person in the industry creatively, and to work alongside designers that I have admired for years, as well as emerging designers that I have watched grow since graduation. I know that winning this competition can help me get the opportunity and exposure to make the connections and the right steps to help me get closer to my goal.
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