by Jahna Peloquin
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When it comes to student fashion, the University of Minnesota's annual senior fashion show gets a lot of the attention. But it's the College of St. Catherine that seems to produce a more consistent, higher quality of talent despite being a smaller school with fewer resources. Recent St. Kate's grads such as Amanda Christine, Jenny Carle, Emily Weich, Renate Adjei and Maritza Ramirez have all found varying success in their post-grad fashion careers. (Left: Maritza Ramirez photographed by Emily Utne)
Every year the bar continues to raise, and it should even higher now that one of their own is serving as mentor for this year's show: 2008 grad Maritza Ramirez. We chatted with the designer about her position as mentor, her experience at St. Kate's, and what to look forward to at this year's show.
What does your role as "mentor" mean to the student designers?
Mostly I’m mentoring them on production, not so much design - I'm helping them to plan the show this year. We're trying to make it better every year. The actual runway show has only been around for eight years, and it's completely student produced, so we're trying to bring a greater element of professionalism to the show. For instance, we did a promotional photo shoot this year, using a model from Vision (Jane). For our press release, I brought in (l'etoile magazine art director) Chris Larson to the class to talk about writing a press release. (Right: Photo by Emily Utne)
What do you remember most about your senior show at St. Kate's?
I just remember being so excited. It was my debut on the runway, and it was the first opportunity for people outside of St. Kate's to see my work. I actually remember during the day-of, thinking, "Jahna (Peloquin) and Emma (Berg) are here, it's so amazing!" (Left: Photo by Emily Utne)
Have you had any mentors yourself?
For my junior year, I worked for Ra'mon (Lawrence Coleman). I helped him do little things for Voltage. He was a great person to work with, not just because he taught me design things, but we just had chats about the industry. We'd watch The Devil Wears Prada and he would say, "Sometimes you have to make some really tough decisions, especially when it comes to fashion." And Michele Henry - I interned one summer with her. She taught me a lot about draping and pattern-making, the more technical aspect. (Right: Photo by Emily Utne)
What can you tell us about the collections we'll see at Saturday's show?
I've seen most of Anna Taney's collection. She's got really great ready-to-wear pieces. I think she's really thinking about how these pieces will translate to everyday wear. She mixes up prints with solids, and she's very on trend. Ariel Bock's collection is called "Shades of Grey" and not everything is as it seems, so she was talking about having pieces that from one end of the runway start out in one form and end up in another. For instance, she'll have a long gown and it will unsnap and become a short little cocktail dress. (Left: Photo by Emily Utne)
We hear you're working on your first collection since last summer - what can you tell us about it?
It will be a ten-piece collection for fall 2010 (part of the "I Feel Love" fashion show on June 12 with Mackenzie Labine). It's inspired by "boyswear." Not menswear - this is more inspired by children’s clothing from the early 1900s to the '60s. I think it stays true to my very structured yet very feminine aesthetic. (Right: Poster art by Chris Larson)
St. Kate's Katwalk 2010: Altered Appearance will take place on Saturday, May 15 from 7:30-9 p.m. at Coeur de Catherine at College of St. Catherine, 2004 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul; Tickets are $8. Click here for the facebook invite.