Her Designs Were Featured On Oprah, Now She's Guiding New Talent In RI
In Part 3 of our series, you'll get to know another young designer on the rise. We asked RISD alum, RI native, and the talent behind Elana Carello Sweaters (And yessss, her sweaters have been featured on everything from Oprah and The Nanny to Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project.), Elana herself to talk a little about Project FashionWorks, the program she created in 2007 to help guide budding talent in the OS, and to share another one of the future fashion stars from her program.
What Is Project FashionWorks?
I started Project FashionWorks in 2007, the year I moved back to RI from NYC. Having spent the last 20 years working as a fashion designer, I realized that what I enjoyed the most was teaching my young assistants. And I wanted to teach what you really need to know to succeed in the fashion industry.
In my tween classes, students 8-12 have fun with fashion, while developing skills in sketching and design. In my teen classes, students ages 12-18 learn professional standards for fashion design. The workshop covers the essentials of fashion, including design vocabulary, sketching fashion figures, using markers, and understanding how to use colors and fabric to develop an illustrated men’s or women’s fashion collection. I keep the classes small, so that I can work individually with the up and coming designers to clearly develop their skills and showcase their personal style. Students can and do take the class over and over, and since I know each student well, I make sure they continue to grow and learn.
Student Spotlight: Meet Chazlyn Stunson
Elana says: Chazlyn is a very creative designer - Every time she takes my class she does something completely different from the previous class. She is so open and willing to learn, it's inspiring! She also has great instincts and a focused and mature design sense. She's going to be a great designer.
Q & A With Chazlyn
1. Who or what are your major style & design influences?
I'd say that my personal style is classy with a bit of an edge. I absolutely love the idea of wearing heels with ripped jeans or a lace dress with a leather jacket while adding accessories to mix and match my wardrobe. I try to bring these elements into my designs as best I can.
2. If you could design for, or dress, one high profile person in the world right now, who would it be?
Rihanna is definitely one of my favorite fashion icons. She has such a unique and innovative sense of style. I love how she pulls most of her red carpet looks straight from the runway. It would be a dream to design something for her one day.
3. For others aspiring to a career in design, what's been the biggest challenge to your pursuing this? Also, how do you stay motivated & inspired?
The biggest challenge so far has been figuring out how to maintain time for my school work while still having time for my designs. My number one motivation would have to be my family. They support me in almost any decision I make and have helped me gain the resources to make my dreams become a reality. As for inspiration, I enjoy keeping up with other designers my age as well as social media to help widen my creativity and keep me motivated.