Annual fashion show puts CCAD student work on the runaway

You want to know what you'll be wearing in 50 years? Check out Isaac Cohn's looks in the CCAD Senior Fashion show on Friday, May 12.

No, Cohn's designs are not futuristic. In fact, if we're dead-set on pinning an adjective to them, that adjective would likely be “vintage.” But the looks are not throwback, either. Cohn considers the pieces classic, and of a certain level of quality. That's why, he'd hope, the clothes could still be worn in 50 years.

The annual fashion show, which this year features more than 70 looks created by 18 student designers, typically features clothes for a variety of occasions and applications. This year's show includes Madeline Burgess' bright-colored looks made with an interest in sustainability that, when feasible, use natural fabrics that will decompose over time; Jasmine Burton's women's pantsuits inspired by the glamor of gowns from the Hollywood red carpet; Sarah Marie Gillespie's motocross designs; and many more.

Cohn's interest in classic looks is well-established. As a teenager growing up in Urbana, he would visit estate sales in search of antique items and vintage clothes.

“I would go to these sales and start to collect random things, and I ended up with a pile of it, so I decided to sell it at a flea market in my hometown,” Cohn said. “I went to sell there one time and just never stopped.” He said he was 16 when he first opened his own booth at an antique mall, and by his senior year had a brick-and-mortar store selling vintage items. During senior year, he received a special work-release permission to leave school in the afternoons to run the shop.

“I like old things. I like things that have a spirit behind them,” Cohn said. “My grandmother passed away a couple years ago; she was 100. I loved going through her house and finding out from her where things came from. The things around us tell a story.”

Cohn said the looks he creates hopefully will have two stories: some of his own, and some of a person who might make them part of their wardrobe.

“My favorite part of those estate sales would be the times maybe an entire closet was for sale. I strive to make things that are still going to be in someone's closet 50 years from now, that are timeless,” he said. “I wanted to create a product that will become part of someone's life.”

He said the styles he's making are not designed to look vintage, antique or from a certain time period, but that “there are some vintage elements,” including items he may have accumulated in his antique shopping.

“Sometimes I can't help myself,” he said.