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Student Designs Inspired by “Rolling Sculptures” Exhibit at NCMA

Model in dress

By Mitchell Burleson – Mitchell is a first-year student Fashion and Textile Design student and a writer for the Wilson College of Textiles Marketing and Communications office. His is the inaugural post in a series we will tag Perspectives. The goal of Perspectives is to share stories from different groups within the College: students, faculty, staff and administration. We want to expand both the range of voices and the kinds of stories we tell. 

This semester students in the Wilson College of Textiles were presented with a unique opportunity to have work shown at the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) for the museum’s 5th annual College Night. For this event, NCMA collaborated with the NC State Wilson College of Textiles and the College of Design, as well as other institutions of higher learning from all over the state to put on a night of art, culture, and fun for their peers and the public. This was the third time the Wilson College of Textiles participated in College Night.

North Carolina Museum of Art artwork

This year, over 59 college students entered the competition. After months of preparation and a rigorous process of being juried by professors, art curators, fashion designers and others, 16 students were selected for the “Fashion Stroll” and 11 were selected to present static displays, including many COT students.

The exhibition “Rolling Sculptures: Art Deco Cars from the 1930s and ’40swas the inspiration for the student designs. The show featured 17 cars and motorcycles from the iconic art deco period that spanned the 1920s to 1940s. The vehicles in the exhibition are the ultimate examples of design during the art deco period.

Mirroring this period of innovation in automotive design, was an equally vibrant time for fashion design. While these cars were made for the wealthy and successful of the time, their owners often desired clothes to match or complement the luxury of their automobiles.

Model in dress

College Night designers sourced these larger than life vehicles for inspiration. The work showcased in the fashion and textiles exhibition focuses on the details of the vehicles in the museum collection. Student dove deeply into the history and aesthetic value of every aspect of the car and considered how these details could be communicated through a garment or static piece. This inspiration can be seen in the construction methods, fabric choices and color palettes employed by the students. Early in the fall semester, students begin formulating ideas and drawing inspiration from the cars. Countless hours of research, sketching and experimentation, went into this project for students. For some, unique challenges arose due to fabric choice, their innovative construction method, or even just planning because of deadlines. But the students persevered and overcame the issues they faced in the designs.

The end results which debuted on Nov. 18 were stunning and spectators were in awe of the original and groundbreaking designs that the NC State students had created. The cars, fashion and textile work could have been mistaken for a perfectly curated exhibition instead of a one-night-only event.

Congratulations to all the participants and NCMA on a very successful College Night!

Photos by Veritas Digital Photography