THREADS Designer Spotlight: Melanie Dunnigan

Read about how your favorite THREADS designers find their inspirations and get the sneak peak on what to expect at this year's Threads fashion show, April 16, 2011.

Melanie Dunnigan's collection will be featured in the Threads fashion show on Saturday. (Ashley Guza | Grand Central Magazine)

If you attended last year’s THREADS show you may recall Melanie Dunnigan, an apparel merchandising and design junior, she modeled for designers Daniella Agnello and Melissa Fortuna.

You may also remember the minor wardrobe malfunction she experienced on the runway. This year she is ready to take on THREADS again transitioning from model to designer and hoping for no more mishaps.

By definition shibori is a Japanese term for numerous methods of dyeing cloth with pattern through the process of capping, compressing, folding, twisting, binding or stitching.

Dunnigan gained first hand knowledge and experience of the technique during her study abroad in Paris last summer. Ultimately, the collection was created based on what designs would work best with the shibori technique.

“The process I used is taking a pole/wine bottle and wrapping the fabric around it and then wrapping string around the fabric to scrunch it,” Dunnigan said. “Then I add my dye and “cook” it.”

It was difficult because Dunnigan found that when silk gets washed it shrinks a lot and she was dying her pattern pieces individually. When it was time to put the pieces together, they shrunk.

In addition to the shibori technique to design the fabric, Dunnigan implemented patterns to create the actual garments. Fabric for the collection consists primarily of silk which was purchased online, and a small amount of polyester from Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, 4208 E Bluegrass Road.

The collection will feature four different looks party dress, romper, high waisted shorts and a bathing suit. Keeping a very light spring/summer feel the colors featured are light pink, light purple, grey and light green.

“The collection goes from spring to summer,” Dunnigan said. “Four different looks, a party dress, romper, high waist shorts and a bathing suit.”

Dunnigan said she just wanted it to be really girly.

“Stuff that I made is stuff that I have never seen in a store,” Dunnigan said.

Accomplishing fabric design, preceded by actual garment designs is challenging and timely. To complete the collection, Dunnigan tried to schedule about five hours everyday completing each garment piece by piece.

Ensuing that her collection will be completed on time, Dunnigan is ready for THREADS with the only stress of ensuring that she won’t experience another wardrobe malfunction this year.