Gretchen Roehrs had a hard time deciding which designs senior Cortney Sims should make reality this school year—and it’s exactly the reaction Sims was hoping for.
“I wanted it to be hard to choose,” Sims said, grinning.
Roehrs is a 2012 graduate and works as a mobile app designer at Chime in San Francisco.
On the side, she’s been making headlines with her creative food fashion designs. Roehrs’ work has been featured in magazines, and most recently, she appeared on the Rachel Ray Show.
This week, Roehrs returned to Stephens to critique senior collections and student designs. With her input and selections, students will now work to turn their sketches into garments that will be submitted to a jury for possible inclusion in the spring fashion show on campus.
Tylar Paris’s collection, Guardian, was inspired by her grandmother, whom she considers her guardian angel. Designs included red carpet-ready gowns, edgy jumpsuits and jackets featuring feathers, manipulated fabric and sequins.
“My brand philosophy is to evoke emotions,” she told Roehrs.“I want to design things that make you feel a certain way.”
Roehrs liked the collection but warned Paris not to try to create too many of the looks. “With evening wear, it’s better to make a few things really well,” she said.
When she wasn’t critiquing designs, Roehrs spoke to several marketing classes.
She advised one group to use Instagram as a way to impress employers.
“It gives employers good insight into your creative process and how you think, not just what you think,” she said. Roehrs has more than 60,000 Instagram followers.
She uses the platform to show off her food creations. The latest images include a dancer wearing a blueberry and a dress made of lettuce and radishes.
She credits Stephens for helping her think differently.
“Stephens taught me it was OK not to follow the rules,” she said. “The reason I succeeded was I decided I didn’t want to do projects exactly as is. So if there’s a project you’re not jazzed about, find a way to make it interesting.”
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