Apparel designer Camiyah Mays is a senior in the Middle Tennessee State University fashion department whose designs will star in this spring’s Textile and Merchandising Fashion Show.
Growing up around her grandmother and great-grandmother, who were both seamstresses, Mays’ passion for fashion was organically cultivated in her younger, more formative years. Her grandmother– who still actively sews and makes fabric alterations for her family and friends– was particularly influential to her.
“I grew up staying at her house while my parents were at work, and it just kind of stuck with me,” Mays said.
The fashion industry is also known for its fast paced tempo and ever-changing trends. The modern clothing consumer is constantly demanding the newest fads with every season– whether it’s a hungering for colorful halter tops in the summer or fuzzy turtlenecks in the spring, demanding consumers ensure that the fashion industry is always growing and changing.
Mays thrives in this environment on account of her self-discipline and time management skills.
“I know how to get the job done. I try to prioritize my time so I can present the best of what I‘m doing.”
Fashion is also more than just getting the job done. Knowing aesthetics and appearance is evidently an important skill to maintain within the industry.
“I’m good with knowing what looks good with what,” Mays said. But one of the more difficult aspects is also being able to determine “what type of fabric and textiles to use for designs,” according to the young designer.
All of this year’s senior designers must follow a theme for their fashion collection: “Forces of Nature.”
After her class finalized the theme, Mays knew exactly which direction she was going to go with once the theme was finalized. Her designs will center in on the earth element out of all the different forces of nature– more specifically, she will focus on zodiac signs.
One taxing element of the designing process is developing pattern work.
“The pattern work is the worst. You constantly have to keep adjusting it and making changes and adding and taking away,” Mays says.
But, after this stage comes Mays’ favorite part: the model fitting. During a model fitting, a designated model– usually chosen by the designer– tests out garments to ensure accurate measurements and proportions.
“You kind of get a glimpse of what you’re creating,” Mays says. “I think that’s the most exciting part for me, is to actually see all your hard work from the pattern work come to life a little bit with the model fitting.”
The fashion industry has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris all transitioned to a digital format, similar to what MTSU plans on doing for their show.
Mays believes that not being able to be in-person for the fashion shows has been the toughest pill to swallow.
“Any minor details that we put a lot of work into, you can’t see it on TV. It’s kind of one of those things you have to be in person to see. The color may not show or the fabric might not look a certain way,” she says. “I definitely think that COVID has played a down part in the details of the design when it comes to runway shows.”
But, Mays sees some silver linings in switching to virtual shows.
“In a way, it’s kind of helped get people’s creative sides flowing and thinking of new ways and new things to produce as far as masks or creating masks that are intertwined with shirts. Now it’s about doing things creatively that will keep people safe but also be fashionable too.”
Although Mays has been in the fashion show as a model before, this will be the first time her designs are going to be featured.
“It kinda makes me nervous just to see if my designs will be cohesive. I’m nervous about how it will look on TV, or if it’s going to be portrayed the way I want it to be,” Mays says.
For her, the most exhilarating part has to be seeing all of her work come to life on the runway.
“Actually being able to see my model in and out of my designs is probably the most exciting part,” Mays says.
Additionally, being part of the show has shown her new skills to practice within the fashion industry.
“With COVID-19 going, everything is still kind of new. With us bringin the fashion show back, it kind of has gotten me a little used to the fast-paced industry that I’m pretty sure I’ll have to be flexible with for the most part,” Mays says. “It’s taught me to be more patient and to always have a plan.”
Mays plans on attending an arts institute after graduating this summer.
The TXMD fashion show will be filmed on Tuesday, April 13, and will air on True Blue TV on Saturday, April 24 for anyone to watch.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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