Before putting the final touches on his fashion show, which takes place tomorrow before an expected crowd of at least 200 including VIPs like Diane Von Furstenberg, Andrew Hamilton ’05 chatted with the scene editors.
How did you first develop an interest in fashion?
I’ve never had a formal interest. I’ve always made things. I’ve always been a very three-dimensional person. I had always thought of making clothes and my mom would tell me, “Stay away from clothing. You have to make it fit and it won’t fit right. You’ll get frustrated.” So I never made clothing until the end of last year — I made a shearling coat last year.
Is that part of your Fall 2003 line?
Yeah, that will actually be the first piece on the runway. It’s where everything started.
What are your design influences?
I see inspirations for fashion everywhere. If I see a chandelier, I’ll think, “Oh, that’s really cool, I’d make it this way.” But that’s the way all my art has worked. I’ll be in science class and read about something and decide to make it three-dimensionally. I am taking an Islamic architecture course — and all the beautiful patterns in the brickwork will turn into a dress in the margins of my notes.
Do you see yourself pursuing fashion in the future?
I don’t feel like I could make 3-foot-tall stuffed camels for a living. Which is something I did last year. I made a 3-foot-tall stuffed camel and it is sitting in my dorm room. This is probably one of the first phases I’ve gone through that I could see myself making a living with.
How did you decide to do the fashion show here?
I was inspired a lot by the 7th on Yale series. The speakers that came in the fall — I had no idea who they were. I am THAT apart from the fashion world. But just hearing them and their inspirations was wonderful. They’ve been so kind to me afterwards, and I’ve maintained friendships with them.
So how was New York’s fashion week for you? Was it your first experience in the fashion world?
It’s funny because I was sitting next to Andre Talley [editor at large of Vogue] and saying, “Okay, who’s the blonde over there?” And he said very seriously, “She’s the editor of Harper’s Bazaar.” I have no idea who anyone is. Before then I hadn’t seen a show before, so I had no idea what to expect. I thought it would be like a two-hour feature presentation, and they last around 10 to 20 minutes. That’s it. A $250,000 10-minute production.
How did students react when they found out you were planning your own show? Was there a lot of interest right away?
I actually didn’t expect a lot of student interest. 7th on Yale was very well received, I think more than they assumed it would be as well. But I didn’t think I had the campus draw, or that my show would have the campus draw to really have a lot of interest. I thought maybe my closest friends would come, and it would be an intimate show. We’ve actually had almost 500 people RSVP for the event. It’s ridiculous. We didn’t expect that at all — we’re frantically trying to reconfigure everything to accommodate as many people as possible, and talking to the fire marshal to see what the upper limits are on the audience.
Where do you think that interest comes from?
I think there is a small group of people at Yale who are very into fashion and who are very excited about it and who think about it on a daily basis. I also think there’s a large percentage of people who don’t know a lot about fashion, but are interested in it and are open to finding out more. I think that’s where the interest in the show comes from. They think, “Wow the advertising looks really professional, and this would be a cool experience.”
How do you think people will react to the show itself?
I am excited to see people’s reactions. I’d be interested to know if they thought it was frivolous or silly, I’d just love to hear what they have to say.
How does it feel now that it’s finally coming together?
It’s so interesting to see my models come out in these clothes. Sara Kang ’03 walks out wearing a wool biz suit with a short jacket, all very finely trimmed. She had brought a pair of shoes that matched perfectly, and she walks through the door and my jaw just dropped. I was making that dress and coat while watching a movie in my basement in Kansas, having just woken up, haven’t brushed my teeth yet, and it’s four in the afternoon. It had such a humble beginning, and then she just comes out! It was great to see. I just kept thinking, “I did that?”
Talk to us about the posters. They’ve created quite a buzz.
I haven’t heard the buzz about the posters, it doesn’t get back to me. The whole thought behind the poster was that I wanted to have a professional photo shoot. I had been taking this so seriously, and I said, “We’ll do a real photo shoot, we’ll make it feel legitimate.” My sixth-grade science teacher was a fashion photographer before he started doing sixth-grade science teaching. I’d always known this about him so I called him up and told him what I wanted to do. He grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas which is like two hours into the middle of nowhere. He suggested going to a bed and breakfast there. So my brother, my science teacher’s girlfriend, my teacher and I rented this bungalow, and we put all the clothes in the back of his pickup with a tarp over it and drove out there. We just shot for 36 hours straight. It was grueling. The life of a model is so incredibly grueling. your whole face hurts from having to be conscious where every part of your face is. Once you’ve done it for 36 hours you just want to go to bed.