March 6th was an exciting evening for UChicago’s fashion community, thanks to House of MODA’s Spring Fashion show. MODA is a student organization that seeks to promote and showcase campus fashion culture. Their annual fashion show features the work of student and professional designers. It was a night when fashion-forward students and guests flitted between cocktail tables and lined up along a runway at the Grand Union Station. The electrifying event is a delight to onlookers and thrilling for the student designers, some of who are just breaking in their sewing machines. I met up with one designer, Sumaya Mulla-Carrillo, to learn more about her and her experience with MODA.
Name: Sumaya Mulla-Carrillo
Role: Student Designer
CollegeFashionista: How did you first begin designing?
Sumaya Mulla-Carrillo: I’ve known how to sew since 6th grade, but I didn’t start designing my own clothes until my junior year of high school. I loved not having to constrain my clothing choices to what I saw only in stores, and I love being able to be so creative with clothing.
CF: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
SM-C: My designs are often very feminine, soft, and heavily embellished. I tend to stick with classic silhouettes for my clothing and make the pieces stand out with beading, lace or some other type of fabric manipulation.
CF: What inspired the collection you presented at the MODA show?
SM-C: My collection for the MODA show was a series of fancy dresses that I created with the inspiration of waterfalls in mind. I wanted to bring a light, frothy and cool feeling to my dresses.
CF: What are other aspects of your involvement with MODA?
SM-C: This show was the first thing that I’ve done with MODA, and I was able to design for it through the “designer boot camp” program that they have for people who have never designed a collection before. We would meet weekly with one the older MODA designers, and it was really helpful to get his advice on my inspirations and his designs.
CF: What are your future plans with regards to fashion and/or designing?
SM-C: I’ve actually just applied to design and show a galaxy inspired gown for the Spring Festival of the Arts at UChicago, and I also plan on designing again for the fashion show next year. I would also love to branch out into costume design for dance or theater.
CF: Can you say anything about the opportunities you have had because you attend UChicago?
SM-C: I honestly never thought that I would get the chance to show my designs to so many people, and I never would have been able to do that without coming here. It’s also really exciting to have all of the costume shop facilities to use, because the sewing machines and sergers at UChicago are way nicer than anything I’ve ever been able to use at home.