Sarah Karns

Cleveland, Ohio

Crazy to think my time at FIT has come to end, so it made me reflect on why I decided on my path in the first place. Growing up in a religious community and going to a Jewish day school, there were a lot of rules and regulations that I had to adhere to when it came to getting dressed, which was not something my 12-year-old self was so happy to hear. It caused a lot of fights, many almost suspensions. I refused to be confined to a box and dress in a cookie-cutter style, while it felt like my right to express myself was being taken away. For my thesis, my collection is called “Subversion,” inspired by the idea of uniformity and the dress code I had to follow during my upbringing. The piece shown is the idea of a button-down shirt being completely turned around, just like how I wanted to switch the expectation of our “uniform.” The sleeve is coming out of the neck hole, the collar is where the arm should be, and the buttons go down the side instead of up the front of the garment. My goal through my work is to show modesty can be beautiful, which has definitely changed since I started creating clothes. During college I received backhanded compliments like, “Oh, you dress well for being religious.” I want to help erase this stigma and stereotype that we are all dressed like in the shtetles in the 1800s. Modesty can be cool.

FIT, State University of New York

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