Follow designer Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, from her first sketch to her runway-ready collection, as she prepares for Chicago's answer to Fashion Week, Fashion Focus.
WHAT Fashion Focus showcases the city’s fashion scene through runway shows and seminars
WHEN Oct 22–25
WHERE Various locations, chicagofashionresource.com
School of the Art Institute alum Abigail Glaum-Lathbury, 25, uses the expression noodling around a lot when describing her design process. But in reality, there’s plenty of art and science—especially science—in getting from point A to point Z for her third spring collection.
Step 1: Inspiration
Glaum-Lathbury’s collection, which she calls “Invention and the Obsolete,” was loosely inspired by a basket full of oversize lightbulbs she saw last spring at a furniture show at Post 27. Intrigued by the concept of electricity, she checked out stacks of science books from the library. What struck her most were the beautiful graphs depicting electron band structures of different metals. She sketched looks based on the arcs and relationships of the lines.
Step 2: Experimentation
“I start with this idea, and then when I have it in the context of this [dress form] body, I’ll take it and play with it until it works,” Glaum-Lathbury says. Draping muslin on the dress form and tweaking the pattern on heavy-duty paper, she explored how her illustrations translated into three dimensions and how she could push the concept of the collection both in form and function. She considered every detail, such as the seam disappearing down the side of a dress that makes you want to follow that line—“You’re supposed to walk around the clothes”—and the way the shape flatters the female figure. After fine-tuning the prototype (she makes as many as 12), she transferred the pattern onto a fresh sheet of muslin for the final design.
Step 3: Fine-tuning
Glaum-Lathbury selected organza, chiffon, silks, cotton shirting and linen for her fabrics, and a color palette of black, white and gray with a few pops of copper, rich blue and earthy green. For accents on accessories, blouses and dresses, she hand-silk-screened and embroidered images mimicking graph lines.
Step 4: Finalizing
Sitting down at the sewing machine, she churned out 30 individual pieces for a total of 12 runway looks. “[This collection] is more sculptural than my last two,” she says. “I also find the concept really interesting, and that’s often what I’m excited about.”
Check out the other sections in our 2009 Fall Preview: