There is a small niche of the Colorado College community that sometimes goes under the radar: those who mend and those who create. Fashion on this campus is much more than a cool shirt from The Arc, or carefully coordinated patterns—although those are forms of expression. There are certain individuals here who have a particular talent in creating something beautiful out of seemingly nothing.
For first-year Maggie Vlasimsky, sewing has been a part of her life since she was young. “My grandmother was a professional seamstress,” she explained, “and every summer my thirteen cousins would have ‘granny camp,’ and all of us learned how to sew.” With an early exposure and passion for creation, she “sewed for different charities in high school and helped out with the theatre department.” Since coming to CC, Vlasimsky has “used [her skill] to help mend and alter other students’ clothing.” In terms of making her own clothes, Vlasimsky “[has brought] a lot of shirts and dresses [she] made [herself] here,” emphasizing that “clothes fit so much better when [she makes] them.” This freedom gives her the ability to create exactly what she wants, as well as the “independence of self-expression.”
Likewise, student costume designer Hannah Neustadt definitely values being able to “mend [her] own clothes, but generally [doesn’t design her] own things.” Instead, she sews costumes. To Neustadt, along with being a means of creative expression, she loves the “engineering aspect of costumes.” A veteran of many conventions like Comic-Con, Neustadt has made costumes of characters ranging from Moonrise Kingdom’s Susie Bishop to Princess Peach. “A lot of times I need to make a complex dress that is formed in a way that is not physically possible because it’s in a cartoon, but I need to make it real,” she explains as she begins to break down her sewing process, “and I think that’s why I make costumes instead of actual clothes—there’s a little more creative ingenuity there.” To make things work “that don’t physically make sense” is what Hannah says makes costume-making exciting, comparing it to a “problem-solving process.”
“One of the best things,” she adds, “is wearing a costume out to a party or something and people are like ‘oh, that’s a cool costume, where did you get it?’ and it’s always an awesome moment to tell them that you made it.”
Alongside Neustadt planning last year’s fashion show was Jekolia Matuszewicz, who learned of the CC fashion show from her alumna mother. She and Neustadt started the sewing club last year, and Matuszewicz is currently helping organize the show for the end of April. Combined with her major in Economics, Matuszewicz’s love of fashion has inspired her to pursue internships with designers and fashion companies in hopes of starting a career in product development and production. When asked about why she loves fashion, Matuszewicz responded, “Fashion can sometimes come off as really superficial, so the challenge is making it a little more than that. I really like art,” she adds, “but even more, art that serves a purpose. Everyone needs to wear clothes, but your outfits express how you want to present yourself to the world.”
Despite individuals with such a unique skill and passion, the fashion community at CC still seems rather quiet, with both Matuszewicz and Neustadt quick to note, “There isn’t really a fashion community here, but there are definitely individuals with very strong voices.” And those voices are definitely ones to listen for, at the fashion show that “[gives] those individuals a platform to present their masterpieces to the rest of campus,” or at a costume party in everyday details, like a patch on a pair of jeans, or a shirt that fits too well to have been made for anyone else.