Chiara Kaufman expresses her passion by designing and making her own clothing

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  • Chiara uses Photoshop to design a variety of custom prints. After Photoshopping this image, Chiara uses laser engraving to print this design and incorporate it into one of the dresses she produced.

    Photo credit: Chiara Kaufman

  • Chiara uses Photoshop to design a variety of custom prints. After Photoshopping this image, Chiara uses laser engraving to print this design and incorporate it into one of the dresses she produced.

  • Chiara uses Photoshop to design a variety of custom prints. After Photoshopping this image, Chiara uses laser engraving to print this design and incorporate it into one of the dresses she produced.

    Photo credit: courtesy of Chiara Kaufman

  • Chiara uses Photoshop to design a variety of custom prints. After Photoshopping this image, Chiara uses laser engraving to print this design and incorporate it into one of the dresses she produced.

  • Chiara uses Photoshop to design a variety of custom prints. After Photoshopping this image, Chiara uses laser engraving to print this design and incorporate it into one of the dresses she produced.

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Junior Chiara Kaufman has been inspired by the creative and artistic influences surrounding her ever since she was rolled around in a stroller through the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Chiara credits her mom, an English and art double major, for immersing her in culture and art from a young age.

“I had always loved to draw, and from an early age I started to see that as another avenue to approach art,” Chiara said. From there, this passion developed and broadend to fashion design, which became the most visible path for her.

With her spare time outside of school, mostly during long breaks, Chiara works on making her own clothes and working on various other artistic projects.

An important step in the process, where many of the ideas come from, are her sketches and drawings of clothing, patterns, and anything else that comes to mind. She begins the design process by taking measurements, then applying them to different patterns and shapes to make the initial mock up of her design in an inexpensive fabric. After making corrections to the first run through she is usually ready to work on the final product.

This lengthy process, Chiara explains, requires very meticulous work and attention to detail, something she sometimes struggles with maintaining for a long period of time. “Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not organized or particularly cautious about things, and with this process, I have to be, so that has been the biggest challenge for me,” Chiara adds.

In addition to these steps of the process, there are many other hidden touches that require a lot of creative thought. In some of her pieces, Chiara paints the fabric and even laser prints images on for a different look.

“I always try to have multiple projects in progress at once,” she said. She spent the duration of her winter break finishing her most recent project, a jumpsuit made partially from scrap fabric that was passed down from a company in New York City that Chiara interned at last summer.

“I was watching them throw all of this fabric out and I thought it was so wasteful, so I wanted to take that fabric and incorporate it into something more interesting,” she explained.

Last summer, in addition to interning part-time at J&C Collections, Chiara attended a summer intensive course at Parsons School of Design. This summer she wants to work on developing her portfolios for various art schools she plans on applying to, and take a creative writing course.

As a way to put her design skills to the test, Chiara is entering a costume design contest with the help of Ms. Candelora, the head of the performing arts department at Hackley. She will focus most of her time now on developing the pieces for this event.

“I am a very visual thinker which I think is why I gravitate towards visual art,” she said, “But I also love books and I love reading, and a lot of my inspiration, in both fashion and art, will come from a book or something I’ve read.”

Although she hopes to pursue a future in fashion design, Chiara has some critiques regarding the industry. The trouble with fashion design, Chiara explains, is that the industry has become so materialistic. “There are certain aspects of fashion design that I love,” she adds, “but not really the whole production.” Often the creative foundation of fashion design gets lost within the commercialization and media of the fashion world today.

Despite these factors and her busy schedule, Chiara constantly finds herself gravitating towards art and creative expression, and credits it as being a large part of her life and identity.

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