College of Design graduate student and recent Lulu eGames winner Laura Wyker is preparing her designs for the runway at this year’s Art2Wear competition. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Laura and getting to know her and her inspiring handbag collection.
- Tell us about your journey to design and what led you to NC State?
I have an interesting background. I started out studying biology and then I taught high school biology, chemistry and anatomy for six years. Then I realized something was missing – I wanted a more creative outlet. So I started taking classes at the Craft Center and that’s what introduced me to NC State. I applied to the graduate program in the college of design and the rest is history.
- You recently finished 2nd place in the Lulu eGames and walked away with $3,000. What did you learn from the competition and what do you plan on doing with the prize money?
First of all, competing in the Lulu eGames was a challenge, but one that I’m glad that I undertook. It really helped me to verbalize and clarify my ideas. The entire process helped me with reflection and it was extremely validating. The prize money will go towards an industrial sewing machine and an embossing machine.
- Art2Wear is celebrating its 17th year as a student-organized runway show. This is your second year participating as a designer. Without revealing too much before the show, can you give us a sneak peek into your collection this year?
Art2Wear is truly a student-run production. I don’t think people realize how much is going on behind the scenes – we are finding models, helping train them, making all the clothes and accessories, picking the music, taking the photos, reaching out to vendors, etc. For Art2Wear, I will be showing off my collection of hand-crafted leather handbags. My designs for this season are inspired by athletic woman. I want to challenge the stereotypes of woman and woman’s clothing. I’m doing that through the materials, the silhouettes and the construction details. My collection has a visual identity focusing on individuality and celebrating the power and strength of femininity.
- Who/what inspires you and your designs?
I’m inspired by all of the active, hard-working, independent women in my life. Society has stereotyped women as the weaker sex and I want to challenge that. Women are tough, strong and determined. They can do anything they put their mind to. My handbags make a statement. Made from durable, solid, quality materials, my handbags are tough and they celebrate femininity and strength.
- What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan on taking the prize money from the Lulu eGames and start my handbag business. I know the process will be tough, but I think my experiences at NC State have prepared me for whatever the future may hold.