Audra Phillips- Student Design Winner

Audra Phillips’ design The Gentlemen Aristocrat won first prize in the first ever PASSIONAL Student Design Competition. For the 2009 competition, students were asked to create a costume based on Steampunk, a sci-fi genre involving post-victorian and early industrial time travel and adventure.
Six students were chosen as finalists and created six samples for possible inclusion into an upcoming PASSIONAL Boutique fashion collection.

Audra Phillips

First prize winner of the PASSIONAL Boutique Student Design Competion

How did you become interested in fashion design?

I watched the movie The Fifth Element and immediately fell in love with Jean Paul Gaultier’s work. I was 9 (years old).

When did you begin designing fashions?
I started to really get into fashion design when I was 13. I started to make my designs when I was 14. It was mostly prom dresses back then.

Where did you learn the skills to design and create fashion?
I learned how to sew from watching my mom make quilts and dresses for special occasions. I taught myself how to draw by looking a pictures in magazines.
Other education? I’m very happy I decided to further my education through college. I’ve learned a lot of new techniques that will help further my career, like web design (smiles)

What is your philosophy regarding the art of fashion design?

Destroy and deviate from the norms.

What skills are necessary to design fashion?
An open mind, an extensive knowledge of fashion history and construction skills. Most importantly, though, time management. You have to know how to budget your time, or else you won’t get anything done.

Of those skills mentioned, which do you feel are your strong points?
My biggest strength is definitely a knowledge of fashion history,
My weak point is time management. I’m the world’s best procrastinator.

The winning design - complete with pocketwatch, perfectly mixed stripes and other fun design elements expertly sewn.

How important do you think sewing skills are to designing?
Absolutely 100% important. You have to know how to take something from 2D to 3D, otherwise there’s no point in designing.

What fashion artists or designers influence your work?

Robert Cary-Williams, Gaultier, Lacroix, House of Holland, Blaak

What is the most important element of your work- what would you like your designs to be famous for?

Their simple, yet intricate design. It’s the little things that count, like seam finishes and button choice.

What are your future fashion design plans?
I would love to have my own line one day, and maybe a small boutique, but for now I’d like to be a design assistant.

Who do you expect to see wearing your designs in five years?

I cater towards young women and men with a strong love of old mixed with new.
Who do you HOPE to see (sky is the limit)?
I hope to see someone like Amy Lee wearing my clothes….that would be amazing.

Any fun and interesting projects coming your way in the near future?
Right now I’m working on my senior collection (which is Steampunk themed), and I’m hoping to start up my first menswear line shortly after.

Do you have advice to other aspiring designers? Possibly advice that you wished somebody had given you?
Honestly, just manage your time well, and make yourself a separate budget for sewing supplies. Time and money seem to just disappear.

If you were invited to show your first collection on a New York runway tomorrow, what music would you choose?
Tool. No contest. They’re the best “do everything to” music…

If you had to choose a different life path (besides fashion design), what other career do you think you might pursue?
A writer…that’s what I wanted to do when I was a kid, but I was better a fashion design.

Are there any awful fashion trends or common fashion faux pas that drive you nuts
Dear God, if I have to see one more pair of black leggings worn with brown boots I will cry. Black and brown make me frown.


Audra Phillips

Audra submitted two fully sewn pieces for this contest- her female piece came in fourth place. Awards were given at a special reception in PASSIONAL Boutique

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