Wrapped from head to toe in a thick sheath of soft fabric, Julia Little 14 TX shuffles her way into the center of a small group of students and faculty gathered in College Building for a critique last Friday. The Textiles major is modeling brilliantly colored fabrics designed by Amy Chiao 14 TX.

“The shapes are so unusual,” notes Interim Dean of Fine Arts Anais Missakian 84 TX. “I love how these [textiles] play with space and light.” 

Always in a constant state of experimentation, Chiao weaves fabrics (using the computer program WeavePoint) to make avant-garde costumes. “I’m really interested in performance art,” she explains. “I like seeing how my garments constrict the body.”

Down the hall, Susan Williams 14 TX presents a collection of stretchy textile swatches made of elastic threads and monofilament. The senior imagines that the pliable fabrics could be fashioned into bulky sweaters or unusual jackets.

The designer also showcases large swaths of woven cloth meant for interior decoration. Professor Emeritus Lorraine Howes, former head of Apparel Design, is especially impressed with an elegant, gray-toned wall tapestry made on a Jacquard loom and inspired by grid patterns found in urban landscapes.

“I started noticing that grates and fences –  structural objects in cities – are never perfectly lined up,” Willliams notes. “I’m interested in those breaks in symmetry.”

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