The Fashion Summer Camp You Haven't Heard Of (Yet), Courtesy Of This RISD Alum & Acclaimed Designer

Let's go - behind the scenes! With this nationally known designer, and RISD alum, (Elana Carello) as she talks about the Rhode back home to the OS. And the workshop she created to teach aspiring young designers practical skills to help move them closer to making their dreams and ambitions a reality. 


Real Life Lessons From An Accomplished Designer

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 to 12 have fun with fashion, while developing skills in sketching and design. In my teen classes, students ages 12 to 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.  

Introducing One Of PFW's Standout Students

Kat won the competition that we sometimes have in the Teen class. The guest judge, industry pro Lanny Menear, pointed out how innovative and forward her collection was. Also, Kat has a great sense of color, and makes great fabric choices, using unique combinations. Lanny said the following about the collection:

"The unexpected use of men and women models gives an undeniable expression of gender fluidity. The use of fabrics repeated in both men's and women's designs is perfection. I can see all of these pieces mixing with each other in many different ways - the jacket over the serape fabric midi skirt for pattern mixing or over the black skirt for a more subtle look, the sweater over the 'onsie', etc. Each piece and outfit effortlessly stands on its own but can hang next to the others with ease. Barbie and Ken's details are reflective of the group and well-executed. Applause applause!"

Q & A With Kat

1.  Major style and design influence? 

I mainly get my style inspiration from musical artists who experiment with their music the way I aspire to experiment with my fashion choices. Musicians such as Lil Peep, Kurt Cobain, Stevie Nicks and others who create their own genre of music, this creativity channels into their bold fashion looks in the same way. 

2.  If you could dress one high profile person in the world right now, who would it be?

It would be hard to choose one person, but my choice would be along the lines of Kanye West or Dave Bayley. These two men are musicians with very different musical styles. Their bold music, however, is not reflected in the t-shirts and jeans they wear when they perform. I think it’s sad that this generation of concerts does not include the bold fashion choices of a Bowie or an Axel Rose. I would want to design for a high profile musician, so I could change this.

3. Biggest challenge in pursuing design?

So far I haven’t had any challenges in my design aspirations but I think in the future money and time will get in my way.

4. How do you stay motivated and inspired?

Through music and looking at other artists’ works, I find inspiration to create more and continue to look at things in a creative way.

For More About Project FashionWorks