Meet the Fashion Designers of Tomorrow

MAY 25, 2016 updated Jul 15, 2021

Here at Spoonflower HQ, we are lucky enough to live in an area surrounded by aspiring designers and astoundingly talented artists. Recently, North Carolina State University students put on their 15th annual Art2Wear Fashion Show, and Spoonflower was a sponsor of the event through our Emerging Designer Grant program.  The theme of which was "The Virtue of Obsession." Today, we're getting to know some of the student designers, led by Assistant Professor of Art & Design, and Project Runway contestant Justin LeBlanc. 

Angèle Gray

I'm Angèle Gray, an Art + Design student from North Carolina State University, currently pursuing my artistic dreams of fashion illustration and textile design. As a senior in the College of Art + Design, my self-identity has grown to encompass both my role as an artist and more importantly a designer. As a designer, I am interested in how The Formalist Art Theory can influence textile design. It suggests that the value of art is determined solely on the artist’s ability to use the formal design elements of color, line, composition, and texture. My design process starts by placing a hierarchy on the overall aesthetics I want to convey, I am then able to hone in on more detail-oriented works. I believe textiles should excite the viewer and open their senses.  When creating, I strive to develop aesthetically refined designs that will intrigue and provoke a sense of connection to my work as well as an enthusiasm towards textile design. 

Check out more from Angèle on Instagram @angele.c.gray

I have defined my collection using subdued hues, drawing inspiration from Paris during the rise of Formalism and Modern Art. Formalism showcases the basic design elements of color, line, composition, and texture and focuses on the artist’s ability to achieve a cohesive balance of the basic elements in the composition. The woman I design for can be many things, the garments reflect her taste yet she has nothing to prove. As a designer, I never want to speak for her, as Formalism is not interested in context. The construction of my garments segment the form of the body, reflecting on the deconstruction incorporated in Modern Art. The element that completes my collection is texture. These materials each have a specific value of texture and weight that when used in combination highlight their contrasting values. This collection is an obsession of Formalism in Modern Art and is a true test of aesthetic refinement.

Prints were a vital part of my collection “Vert.” I was inspired by the line work in the rooftop picture below, which was taken in Paris while I studied abroad. The line work in this picture served as the bases for the prints and silhouettes in my collection. I extracted and repeated shapes to create the two main prints you see in my collection. Playing with scale and subtle color variation I was able to achieve prints that captured Formalism in Modern Art and were uniquely distinct to my collection.

 Susan Stephens


Susan used Silky Faille to create a 2 dimensional print inspired by the crochet stitch 

Susan: My passion for creative making has led me to be a self motivated, ambitious individual while always ready to listen and learn something new. Intriguing textures, patterns and detailed qualities are captured in my work through the exploration of materials, scale and manipulated surfaces. Staying true to my personal expectations and aesthetics is something I value while dually never limiting myself in terms of experimentation and research.  Over the past few years, I have profoundly learned about myself as a designer through process and failure, always reminding myself that every failed attempt makes for an even stronger success. I strive to bring my visions to life through well-crafted, intended techniques, typically handmade. My research and exploration are focused on finding solutions that bring the unordinary to life through design.

The statement for my art2wear collection is the following. (1919 is the name of the collection): 1919 marks the birth of my great grandmother, the inspiration of this collection and my heritage of crochet. This collection utilizes past traditions and techniques to bring contemporary ideas to life. A repetitive, obsessive technique is captivated through the shapes and forms crochet creates. Although it is not easy to keep traditions alive, creating is the solution for a revival. Crochet has engendered an opportunity to combine modern aesthetics with a historic tradition. This combination focuses on re-crafting delicate needlework into a fashion collection that is textural, bold and accessible for the modern woman.   
As far as working with custom-printed fabric, my "obsession" (the theme for art2wear is obsession although you may already know this) is crochet and I have a lot of chunky knits and crochet in my collection. My prints imitate the literal crochet stitch. In the first 2 prints, it is a graphic simple layout and the newer print is meant to read as a textural crochet with dimension- I want the viewers to question whether it is actually a chunky yarn rather than a print. Working with custom printed fabric allowed me to bring texture to life through a flat surface because of all of the color and contrast possibilities. Spoonflower gave me to freedom to put whatever I wanted onto fabric which opened all kinds of new doors. 

Meagan Shae

Meaghan Shea is a May 2016 graduate from the College of Design at North Carolina State University. She debuted her senior collection, TETRA, at the annual student-run fashion show Art2Wear [] Meaghan's work focuses on graphic prints, bold use of color and fabric manipulations to create a style that is both striking and indisputable. She is passionate about using technology and the resources around her to maximize her creative process and yield the most innovate design solutions. 

In Meaghan's own words: "I make rules but in the end I break them. I hold on tight to my aesthetic but can also be free. My design process is centralized around experimentation and precedent. I resolve design issues with a formula: almost a scientific approach. Through my current work I am focused on the harmonizing of color, print, texture and volume. I aim to transform the silhouette through the scale and placement of print."


Are you a Fashion Design or Interior Design student currently enrolled in university and planning to use Spoonflower materials in an upcoming collection or showcase? Apply for our monthly rolling Emerging Designer Grant. We pick one new winner on the first of each month. 

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