A bite of the Big Apple was eaten last Thursday at Salt Lake Community College as famed New York City fashion designer Sylvia Heisel came to Library Square. About 64 people attended the speech, question and answer session and reception. The Fashion Club hosted the evening at the Fashion Institute where Heisel showed off her Fall 2011 Collection. Along with her Fall 2011 Collection, Heisel debuted a men’s shirt from her Spring 2012 Collection made from Tyvek.
“I love clothing and dressing people,” said Heisel. “I think that is the connection.”
The first item that Heisel showed was a hand-painted, organic cotton jacket with silk taffeta pants modeled by Salt Lake Community College Student Zoe Zoberski. Heisel went through nine types of paint before she found one that worked for the fabric and its care and cleaning. For a photo shoot that included the jacket, she covered a room in her house in canvas and painted it using the same style as the jacket.
SLCC Student Kaya Nielsen modeled a wool, mohair knit jacket with a photo laser printed top. The outfit had a “Mad Men” feel to it, even though the technology that was used to create the effect of the top wasn’t available during that era.
Heisel generally designs clothes for women, but because of demand, she made an exception with the Tyvek shirt from her Spring 2012 Collection modeled by SLCC Student Franklynn Stott. Heisel said that Tyvek isn’t a fabric, “it’s a chemical thing from DuPont.” The shirt can be written on with children’s washable markers and then be washed clean. A permanent marker can also be used and the design will not wash away.
“It feels pretty natural; it’s a little more papery feeling,” said Stott about the shirt.
SLCC Student Kim Riley modeled a red gown that featured an inside silver lining. Heisel’s clients are generally in their mid-30s to mid-60s, affluent, educated and into understated luxury. Heisel acknowledged that this dress is something that she would like to convince her clientele to wear.
Heisel’s white cotton shirt and leggings made from “the world’s fanciest vinyl” were modeled by SLCC Student Dani Michelson. Heisel designed the bottom of the leggings to look like a sleeve cuff rather than a hem. Meghan Johnston, SLCC professor, then modeled an organic wool jacket with a white top and black pants. Heisel described the ensemble as “clothes that are like pajamas” and are understatedly comfortable. SLCC student Sophie Dawson followed that up by modeling a silk chiffon poncho with a cowl that could be worn up or down, giving the outfit versatility for use in casual or more upscale occasions.
For the last outfit that Heisel presented, SLCC Student Hyong Moon modeled a purple and black organic wool jacket. The jacket’s bicolor design was the result of running out of the purple fabric sample.
“It [the jacket] came out a lot cooler than if it had just been a purple jacket,” said Heisel.
Heisel took questions from the audience and talked about her experience in the fashion industry. She said that there are incredible opportunities for new designers, especially with the internet.
“As a designer, you have to have your vision of what you want the clothes to be, and you have to have a vision of who you are designing for,” she said. “If it doesn’t work for the customer, you don’t sell anything.”
Heisel’s clothing is sold in about 40 specialty stores across the United States.