This past Friday, I stepped out of the cold winds of nature and into the warmly lit room displaying “Nature,” a themed collection of outfits and garments curated by four members of the Fashion Design Club. In addition to nature-inspired outfits ranging from cozy to chic to avant-garde, the room was tastefully set up with a backdrop inspired by those found on the red carpet, a quilt square designing station and a table with light food and refreshments. Club president Tyffany English ’19 led us around the room located on the third floor of the Shapiro Campus Center, explaining who designed each piece and how each piece was inspired by nature. 

English created a few summer-esque pieces that reflected my own inner yearning for glorious sunny days and temperatures greater than 70 degrees. She wore a few of her designs: an adventurous off-the-shoulder floral and palm leaf crop-top attached to free-flowing sleeves and wide-legged, high-waisted shimmery gold pants, both made of lightweight fabrics. Hanging from a mannequin, English’s last design showcased an elegant dress aesthetically arranged. The top half was dotted with colorful oranges, blues and reds in a manner characteristic of pointillism. One side was sleeveless and the other side was tastefully draped over with the same muted green fabric as the rest of the dress. A knotted belt cinched the waist and a dramatic shoulder embellishment made of straw-like material flare out above the sleeve. The designs were flawlessly gorgeous, but what most amazed me was the fact that the materials used to create them were thrifted everyday items, such as a pillow and curtains. 

With the arctic in mind, Andrea Murillo ’20 fashioned pieces out of materials suited for the freezing cold, such as faux fur and thick yarn. She showcased an uber-soft turtleneck with matching pants of equally soft calibre and a glamorous faux fur-lined red coat dress elegantly cut and tied together with a black ribbon at the waist. Murillo herself wore an adorable crocheted turquoise hat and burgundy red scarf as a complementary accessory to her black and maroon outfit. 

Murillo excitedly mentioned that the “coat dress has pockets, by the way!” which is definitely a major plus — and props to her. Who doesn’t love a good dress with pockets? It’s fashion with function. However, while many associate designing one’s own outfits with sewing, Murillo pointed out that she “chose to crochet a few things. … to showcase that Fashion Design Club is multidimensional. … The goal of the club is to provide a space where our creativity can run freely without limitations.” 

Sabrina Howard ’19 interestingly focused on the shapes found in nature rather than a specific season or type of weather. As Murillo described, Howard “ordered printed fabric that reminded her of nature including flowers and an orange ombre fabric that resembled a sunset or a fire.” And her pieces did indeed resemble the flow of nature. Howard put together a stunning two-piece outfit made from a satiny fabric with florals popping out of a dark background. The top was neatly cut to fit the mannequin’s frame and the wide-legged pants flowed outwards. Howard’s second outfit featured another dress with a halter top neckline, a lovable bow at the waist and a gradual ombre from pastel yellow to fiery orange at the bottom of the dress. Murillo continued her description, saying, “She also made a fringe skirt to mimic organic movement seen in various aspects of nature. Her garments were flowy and not structured.” 

Vice President Qiang Hu ’21 centered her designs around storms, which “are usually dark and drain the color from the environment,” as Murillo explained. “Qiang was inspired by geometric shapes found in storms like lightning or a tornado, which is why she chose to use the white fabric with black lines on it and make the avant-garde piece look kind of geometric.” The avant-garde top Murillo mentioned was a pure white vest with halves of flattened paper lanterns attached around the collar and pockets. A neat black tie with white swirls at the waist of the vest tied together a runway-ready look. 

Qiang wore some of her own designs as well: another white top with the sleeves rolled up and a modern day blue-black-white striped scarf. “The top she was wearing had a piece of chiffon attached to the side and it was not attached cleanly, and this was inspired by the wild and unpredictable nature of storms,” Murillo added. 

Chartered as an official club in 2008, the FDC was recently revived after some years of silence by English. But what exactly is FDC? For Murillo, it’s a place where she “can work on independent projects” but with “a supportive group that [she] can bounce ideas off of and learn from.” Last semester, the club created skirts for the Toxic Majorette dance team for Night for Africa, and looking forward, FDC plans on continuing to design, showcase and teach the Brandeis community not just about fashion but a little more about expressing your inner creative nature.