Sahara Sriraman, Spectrum Editor
Michael Robinson usually knew he preferred to go after a career in trend layout. Ever considering that he was youthful, vogue has constantly been a type of expression and empowerment.
“To be capable to build off my possess ordeals to assist some others, but also to bridge communities and create that intersectionality in between distinct cultures is an interesting detail about fashion that I genuinely take pleasure in,” Robinson stated.
Now, he’s in a position to wear his possess designs and showcase his expertise.
Robinson, a VCU trend layout senior who utilizes the two he/they pronouns, showcased his perform in the Fine Arts and Flowers clearly show at the Virginia Museum of High-quality Arts on Oct. 23, in which he walked in the clearly show donning his possess style and design in entrance of judges.
Nineteen other VCU style style and design students showcased their types all through the clearly show out of all the VCU manner students who showcased their operate, Robinson was a person of only two who gained a scholarship for the greatest designs at the clearly show. He was awarded the scholarship along with junior trend structure pupil Zoe Pettit, as made a decision by the judges.
“Being that it was my very first scholarship accomplishment in the division, currently being acknowledged for something that I hand painted and labored so challenging on just actually felt good to knowledge,” Robinson claimed.
The unique piece Robinson wore in the course of the manner display was what he phone calls his “Nazar dress,” a hand-draped tent gown with a hand-painted evil eye sample, which he worked on through the pandemic.
Robinson stated in an added e-mail interview that the COVID-19 pandemic allowed him to additional find out his enthusiasm as a designer, as he’s now grown and capable to develop his creativeness as a designer. Just lately, he’s been utilizing eye motifs, as they translate to protection from evil energies.
“To incorporate this motif to symbolically secure the wearer in this dress is a notion I have been fascinated in producing into my senior thesis of reworking and making designs from inside of shapes,” Robinson stated.
Robinson explained creating has also been a form of self-expression for him, and strolling in the show was “empowering.”
“To be appreciated and celebrated for the initially time in the manner dept. for a little something I designed from begin to complete was pretty gratifying,” Robinson mentioned. “Not to mention the simple fact I was donning and represented my piece for all that it is and a lot more.”
In the upcoming, Robinson wishes to design and style for men and women who occur from identical backgrounds. He reported he wishes people today who experience like outsiders, in particular “young Black queer boys,” to come across consolation and representation from his layouts.
“Being in this situation and just figuring out the countless choices of in which I could go with my vocation is just so interesting,” Robinson explained. “There’s normally anything new I can implement in my have design and style and aesthetic.”
Kimberly Guthrie, associate chair of the trend style and merchandising department, mentioned in an electronic mail that Robinson is a “unique” pupil and designer. His do the job at the fashion show was dependent on Robinson’s innovative and inclusive strategy to trend.
“He/they enjoy color and is not concerned to be daring with their color alternatives and combos and creative particulars,” Guthrie stated.
Guthrie said that Robinson is also capable to carry out his individual activities into his get the job done though celebrating individuality.
Guthrie stated that she’s very pleased that Robinson was a single of two pupils who gained a scholarship at the celebration, as she’s observed how really hard they’ve labored this earlier calendar year. She stated that Robinson will incorporate a new point of view to the vogue sector.
“My hope is that Michael [Robinson] will deliver a newness and freshness to the field, not just as a designer but as a citizen,” Guthrie mentioned. “They/he will definitely be an inspiration to the college students in the section.”
Hawa Stwodah, a VCU assistant professor of fashion style, has had Robinson as a student for the earlier two years and describes them as a very considerate and revolutionary designer.
“At a personalized degree, I like a lot of the things he’s exploring, he likes to take a look at identities and he likes to increase a little into the metaphysical,” Stwodah said. “He enjoys pushing standard strategies.”
She said Robinson is extremely connected to his perform and the patterns he creates, earning his parts a lot more significant. She reported he has a one of a kind eye for styles and shades when putting jointly parts that make his design abilities exclusive.
Stwodah mentioned she appreciates how Robinson’s styles are primarily encouraged by encounter.
“Again, it has to do with that authenticity,” Stwodah stated. “I enjoy how he’s designing with a human in intellect and he’s utilizing his very own kind of vessel, his very own body, to be the one particular who’s exhibiting you, ‘This is what it appears like.’”
She stated she thinks his involvement carrying his very own manner pieces at the VMFA’s Great Arts and Flowers show is just the to start with move in his style layout profession.
“There’s absolutely nothing actually holding him back again, I feel he’s going to be jumping total force into it,” Stwodah explained.