Returning to her passion for fashion
Gigi knew she would study fashion after high school, and although she started classes at San Francisco State University in the mid 1980’s, she took a break when travel to campus proved difficult. By 1999, Gigi had settled in Milwaukee and entered the fashion design program at Mount Mary. She also started a family – which took priority – and once again, Gigi put her dream on hold.
Years later, it was her mother’s last wish that inspired Gigi to return to Mount Mary to complete her degree. Now Gigi commutes to campus from her home in Appleton, Wisconsin as she continues her studies in fashion design.
Favorite courses at Mount Mary
Course work in the fashion design program is varied. Gigi enjoys her clothing construction course, where she learns the basic sewing skills necessary to bring her fashion inspirations to life. She enjoys learning to draw apparel “on the body” by using an industry standard croquis figure in her fashion art courses. This hand drawing technique is the prerequisite for CAD sketching on the computer – an important tool used for design presentation and garment development in the apparel industry.
“My favorite sewing class is tailoring because I enjoy hand-stitching and I liked learning the various techniques required to construct a properly tailored coat”.
Gigi is more challenged with courses that focus on the technology required in apparel development – like Optitex computer patternmaking. But due to her understanding of “hands-on” pattern making, she can apply that knowledge as she develops patterns on the computer – and with patient practice – continues to improve in those areas.
A proud moment of recognition for her work came during the CREO runway show when she was only a sophomore. The simply elegant black dress that Gigi created in her draping class was awarded “Most Marketable” by a jury of industry experts. Another memorable, “amazing” experience was watching her Junior Collection “come to life” during her photo shoot in downtown Milwaukee.
Interning at the Florentine Opera
Gigi’s student internship was at the Florentine Opera in Milwaukee. She and a classmate were selected to design a costume for a specific character for the opera Carmen. Gigi’s costume design for Garcia, a crafty gypsy, required research and collaboration with the lead costume designer. This amazing opportunity exposed Gigi to specific techniques designers use to create stage-worthy theater costumes – and to the process of how a theater production becomes reality.
“My internship at the Florentine Opera House gave me real-life insight into the commercial aspect of costume design and I loved it.”
Gigi has some time before she completes her studies and graduates with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Design, but is already considering where her path will lead. Perhaps she’ll work for an established fashion company, or launch out on her own as an entrepreneur.
“I have been thinking of designing my own branded apparel collection to feature in a local shop in Door County, Wisconsin.”
Advice for potential students
Gigi shares her advice for students thinking about studying fashion at Mount Mary.
“No matter if you are right out of high school or decide to go back to college later in life, if fashion design is your passion and you are willing to work hard to reach your goal of working in fashion, the opportunity will be there.”
No matter if you are right out of high school or decide to go back to college later in life, if fashion design is your passion and you are willing to work hard to reach your goal of working in fashion, the opportunity will be there.