Designer Spotlight: The Dynamic Duo, Cecilia Alfaro and Paige Zubok

Central Michigan University’s campus serves as a runway for the everyday fashion lover. Forget magazines and paparazzi shots, the real style icons can be spotted walking to class.

The Threads Fashion Show is an annual event produced by the fashion merchandising and design students at CMU.

To get a behind the scene of the chic tradition, Grand Central Magazine interviewed the show’s designing duo, sophomore Cecilia Alfaro and junior Paige Zubok.

New Beginnings 

This is Alfaro’s and Zubok’s first time designing for Threads and the feelings are mixed.

“So far, it’s been an awesome experience. Although it can be very nerve-racking at times, we know that seeing our finished collection on the runway will be the most rewarding feeling,” Zubok said.

Since this is a new experience, both designers are attaining new skills every day to kill their designs.

“When it comes to pattern-making and draping, we both only have basic skills, so this whole experience has been an experiment for us. We definitely challenged ourselves with some of the styles, techniques and fabrics that we chose to incorporate, but we are feeling confident in the choices for our collection as it is coming together,” Alfaro said.


Partners in Paris

Designing with a partner creates a dynamic partnership. Just think about Dolce and Gabbana, two designers who came together that created a world-wide label and brand.

The two met while studying abroad, creating an inseparable bond.

“We participated together in the Paris study abroad trip last summer and clicked immediately when we were assigned as roommates. Looking back at the day that we met, I knew she would be one of my long time friends. Who knew we would be designing a collection together?” Zubok said.

Alfaro shares the same mentality when it comes to her partner in design.

“My co-designer is one of my best friends. Although we met only one year ago, it feels like we’ve known each other forever,” Alfaro said.

It’s not always good times and easy strides, but the two make it work regardless.

“For one, we recognize each others strengths and uniqueness. It’s awesome that we are able to collaborate our creative styles to make it a completely new one. While teaming with each other, we have really developed our problem-solving skills, and the fact that we challenge one another has taught us to push ourselves and to be confident in doing so,” Zubok said.

Underground Inspiration

Inspiration for their collection came from the French, naturally.

‘The inspiration for our collection comes from the French term ‘sous la peau,’ which means ‘under skin.'” Zubok said.

The concept was developed from the idea that a whole other Parisian world exists below the surface or “skin” of the stereotypical ideas that may come to mind when thinking about the famous French city.

The design aesthetic for this collection could be described as European grunge with sheer/translucent design aspects, which also act to promote positive self-image. The pair shares that each of their models compliment each piece with their own unique characteristics.

“We began developing the design concept during our time living in Paris. Many ideas have come and gone since then, along with tweaks and changes, but that is all a part of any design process. The pieces themselves have taken about two months to create, including pattern-making [and] modification, muslin mock-ups and the construction of the final garments,” Alfaro said.

The pair says they spend most of their time sewing. The two spent spring break setting up their own makeshift studio in Zubok’s apartment while the Wightman lab was closed.

“While we try to get a majority of the garments done in the sewing lab during open hours, we spend just about as much time outside of the lab on our own machines and doing handwork,” Alfaro said.

PAige Work copy

Dreaming of Paris 

Zubok and Alfaro share a special bond with Paris, and they both see themselves working in the fashion industry over seas.

“I would like to experience different aspects of the fashion industry all throughout Europe. Ultimately, I would like to move to Paris to work with couture bridal wear,” Alfaro said.

“I hope to gain as much practical experience that I can from the guidance of talented individuals, to then be able to either contribute to the lingerie industry or to work with high-end street wear.” Zubok said.

They can see themselves becoming a dynamic duo again in the European city.

Finally, Zubok and Alfaro shared some wisdom to design majors everywhere.

‘Our advice to underclassmen design majors would be to never doubt your self. As long as you have a sense of drive and believe in your own unique creativity, anything can be possible.’