CCAD fashion show: Meet designer Annika Simmons

Jackie Mantey, Columbus Alive

If Annika Simmons' life had a soundtrack, it would be the steady murmur of a sewing needle gliding through fabric.

"Anyone can love clothes and not love the practice of making clothes," Simmons said. "But for me, it is what drives me. I have to do it. And I have to do it right. I cannot do something improperly."

Some of her first memories are of taking scraps from her mother and grandmother's sewing projects and hand stitching together outfits for her dolls. A beloved childhood gift was a sewing kit from those two women; Simmons still uses it today.

Her work is inspired by Japanese street fashion, fiction writing and the street fashion subgenre Sweet Lolita. As creative and whimsical as her aesthetic, Simmons is quick to admit her need for structure, rules, perfection.

"As for passion and drive, I think that's something I have in spades and can sometimes be one of the most frustrating aspects about me as a person and designer," she said. "Where some can be content with something, I find that I'm constantly striving to outdo myself, to push my limits, and create the best thing I've ever brought into existence every single time."

Fashion-making is a habit for Simmons that budded early, yes, and pushed her through high school quickly-she left two years ahead of schedule to study at a branch campus of Bowling Green before coming to CCAD. While in school here she also maintained an Etsy shop and created for several local design staples such as Fashion Week Columbus and HighBall Halloween.

Her plan to live beautifully and indulgently, an expression of which was the driving force of her senior collection, could be accomplished for Simmons in one wish: "I'd rather be sitting at my sewing machine."

Annika Simmons

Age: 23

Hometown: Huron, Ohio

Collection inspirations: "Stolen Kiss," by Jean-Honore Fragonard

How can we see your artist in your designs? "I believe 'Stolen Kiss' represents the ideals of [late Baroque artistic movement] rococo where one only enjoyed for pleasure, for leisure and did not have a care in the world. The idea of dressing beautifully while also living beautifully is what drew me to this period."