Material girl Dominican grad talks about her whimsical designs

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By Christina Pippin

Local Shopping & Fashion Blogger

Last spring, Shannon Seeger’s self-designed nature-inspired frocks were voted by Wednesday Journal and readers as the best in an online Fashion Contest showcasing the work of Dominican’s senior class. Now, the Wednesday Journal catches up with Shannon as she speaks of future plans and offers advice to fledging fashion designers. 

Shannon is currently working as a Missionary Intern with Catholic Youth Expeditions. “I took time post-graduation to evaluate where I am being called for my next step in life, whether that is pursuing a career within the field of fashion or something in a helping profession which incorporates my psychology major,” she explains. “I’m exploring where my heart is being lead while serving others. I am excited to see where I might end up after the internship.” 

Shannon’s time in nature and with God proved beneficial in helping her decompress after the hectic school year and time spent working on garments for her senior fashion collection.

The talented designer describes her fashion aesthetic as simple yet detailed, whimsical, and natural. “I am really inspired by the authenticity of an object. I ask myself: What is an object in its truest form? What is that object truly meant to be? I really enjoy when something just seems so natural, so right the way it is. This is what I want to achieve when I create a garment. I want the fabric to speak for itself because it is being used in a way that exemplifies its natural qualities.”

Patterns and problem solving

She enjoys the work and labor of sewing in general, but more specifically, she enjoys sewing when it involves the whole construction of a new garment, from pattern making and problem solving, to the small details that can be incorporated into a garment that might not be noticed in and of itself, but somehow make the garment as a whole better.  Discovering interesting lines and ways of constructing a garment and hiding detail within, this is what Shannon relishes most about sewing. 

She loves to push and challenge herself. “I want not so much for me to tell the materials what they are and how they should be, but rather allow the materials to give me direction as to how they could best be used. For this reason I don’t often see the need for extensive embellishment but rather generally prefer details which simply enhance the essence of the garment as a whole. By all this I do not mean then that there is only one correct way to use that certain medium, but rather a great number of different ways could be discovered though the familiarization of oneself with the fabric or material. I seem to gravitate toward natural objects, I’m inspired by their truth.”

Recently, Shannon entered a number of her garments in an international competition with the International Textile and Apparel Association. One of her garments was selected for the competition, which had only a 39 percent acceptance rate. Shannon expounds, “I was thrilled! This November, this dress will be in a show in Philadelphia as well as be published by the organization.”

Understanding garments

Many would-be designers wonder what it takes to make it in the world of fashion. Shannon offers sage advice, “If someone is interested in design, I really believe it is important to understand the ins and outs of constructing a garment and how clothing works. This deeper understanding of why something is the way it is allows for the ability to create in new ways while still meeting lofty goals, but maybe doing it by bending the rules or norms in a new way. I think if there is an understanding of the body and the garment, and their relationship to one another, this will allow for a solid foundation to build on. Having this can allow for more than simply creating a piece that looks nice, but one that also functions well, and really works with the body.”

Shannon insists that having an understanding of garments on a level beyond aesthetic could potentially allow for greater creativity in the construction of a garment. Really knowing and caring about every aspect of the clothing — what fibers are being used and for what purpose, what type of closure would work and be unique for a garment — can give an advantage.  

“By taking this deeper approach, one can achieve a fuller understanding, leading to a better result. So I would suggest, start by understanding apparel and fashion, apply what you have discovered, and see where that takes you.” 

We look forward to seeing what path this young virtuoso takes as she pursues future endeavors and sets out to make a difference in the world.

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