2010 URBANCOUTURE Senior Collections

by Caroline McKay

Twelve senior designers. Thirty models. One eight-foot-wide, 52-foot-long runway with a motorized turntable at the end. And one night only—Saturday, May 15.


The UrbanCouture senior designers will showcase their collections this Saturday under the direction of program founder and director Mr. E. Vincent Martinez. The show will take place on Grady High School’s campus located at 929 Charles Allen Drive. The show will sell out, so make sure to buy tickets in advance. Tickets are $20 each and can be purchased at seatyourself.biz. Proceeds will benefit the UrbanCouture program.

Mr. Martinez says that the show will be better than ever before.

“I’m pretty good about reflecting about last years’ show and improving it; making it different [and] better,” Mr. Martinez said.

The show will open with a dynamic number by dancers from Dance 101, directed and choreographed by Bubba Carr. The show will feature only senior designers—as opposed to previous years, where junior designers and other fashion students debuted their designs.

Here’s a preview at each senior designer.


A matador is a young Spanish man who performs and kills bulls in front of thousands. For Sarah Collins, the traditional uniform of a matador is an inspiration. Sarah says her outfits are a “masculine take on feminine clothes,” namely by reinventing the traditional matador costume for females. She used yellows, reds, and other royal colors and prints that are “very Spanish.” Her models are diverse, not just in skin tone but in size and shape. Her line is ready-to-wear.


Sarah Darrow would wear everything she makes. She describes her line, a ready-to-wear collection of simple yet original clothes, as very simple. Her outfits use two solid colors—dark teal and bright, mustard yellow. But what sets her apart is her use of patterns. “There are patterns in every outfit,” Sarah said. She explained her style as “classic with a funky twist.”


Savanna Sweeney’s collection is “classically preppy.” Incorporating pearls into almost all of her outfits, Savanna says that her outfits are the same style that the girls of the Upper East Side flaunt on Gossip Girl. “I use chiffons, silks, cotton blends, and jerseys,” Savanna said. Navy blue and pink fabrics tie the line together. Savanna’s clothes are well-made, sleek, and ready-to-wear.


Claire Buyens believes good fashion is all in the details. All elements of her outfits are thought-out, from the lining of a jacket to the exact pattern of lace. When constructing her clothes, Claire focused on the structure of each piece—the waist line, the shape, the lines. She used elements of military suits and clothing paired with soft, muted colors—toying with traditional expression of masculinity and femininity. Claire describes her line as “sophisticated,” and is proud that it will appeal to “women of all ages.”


“My line is based off of the four elements,” Kelsi Eccles said. Kelsi experimented with different fabrics and colors, striving to express each element with colors, texture and structure. “I wanted people to see the beauty of the elements,” Kelsi said. “We could lose it if we don’t start conserving.” Unlike other seniors’ collections, Kelsi’s line is not ready to wear. She believes that fashion is not only ready-to-wear clothes: “It’s theater. It’s couture. It’s art.”


“My line is inspired by old James Bond movies,” Shelby Rudd says. She says that she drew from the outfits of the agents in the movies, and, of course, the girls. Her outfits are sleek, and use British-inspired ruffles. “All of my [models] are suppose to be agents, except one girl who is like the beauty at the ball,” Rudd said. She looked for models who had a “mysterious” angle.


Destini Rhone makes clothes inspired by European fashion in the 1800s, reinventing puffy sleeves and accessorizing her outfits with Mary Poppins-like umbrellas. “Everything has a lot of shape,” Rhone said. Her outfits incorporate navy, gold, beige and burnt orange. She looked for “strong walks” when selecting models, and says she would not think twice about sporting her ready-to-wear clothes.


“I draw from the 1980s and 90s,” senior designer Maia Miller said. She explained that those decades were fun and embraced creativity, just like her line. Miller’s collection, which is especially influenced by the funky graffiti from the 1980s, uses bright neon fabrics. She looked for models with attitude and “confidence, not cockiness.”


"Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." – Marilyn Monroe

Make no mistake, Jennifer Ramirez’s collection is anything but boring. “My line is based off of Marilyn Monroe,” Jennifer said. Jennifer has incorporated Marilyn Monroe’s face and quotes throughout her collection—on a vest, on a skirt, on a dress, on a bra, etc. Though Jennifer says she’s inspired by the actress, she insists that her line “my style, her words.”


Jhari Ponder’s collection is an expression of his personal style, constructed with fabrics he likes to wear.  In constructing his collection, he says he kept in mind that his outfits are pieces of art. Jhari’s fashion inspiration is Michael Jackson, citing Jackson’s reinvention of the military jacket as an example of Jackson’s substantial effect on fashion and culture.


When Brenae Wright walks into a fabric store, she is inspired by the fabric. Looking at the colors and patterns, she knows exactly what to make. Her line is “inspired by spring and summer.” The two seasons are expressed in her collection through the colors—tans, blues, whites—and the texture of the fabric. Her line is ready to wear, and Wright plans on wearing her creations after Saturday’s show.


Taylor Alford wanted to try something she had never done before for her senior collection, so she began to experiment with dye and splatter paint. But using new mediums to create original colors and patterns doesn’t come without apprehension. “I’m worried every time I stick something in the dye,” Taylor said. She says her line is “impulsive” because she didn’t tailor the outfits to a particular theme, only to her personal style. She used bright colors and made what she likes—sweetheart dresses and blazers.

Photo Gallery: Designers at Work:

Join the Grady High community in celebrating these young designers, their accomplishments and their contribution to style on Saturday May 15. 8pm.