Genie Kilb ’17 had only ever been exposed to the fantastical world of fashion design represented in magazines and videos of runway shows. The summer before junior year, she realized that the fashion world wasn’t quite as sexy as she had expected.
“It’s a lot different than I imagined it,” Kilb said. “It’s a lot less glamorous and a lot more nitty-gritty hard work, but I enjoy it.”
The summer after her sophomore year, Kilb interned at Photogenics Media Company managing model’s online portfolios. It was her first time seeing inside the fashion world, and though it wasn’t quite what she had pictured, Kilb could also see herself entering the unseen business needs of the fashion industry. A future in fashion seemed more achievable.
“When I was a little girl, that was my dream, to be a fashion designer, but when I was in high school, I thought it [might be] unrealistic,” Kilb said. “But there are a lot more careers in the industry than I originally thought.”
Kilb was drawn to fashion because she wants to affect the world around her and use her creative talents to manufacture something tangible and meaningful.
“I’ve always been into the arts and I’ve always wanted to do something functional that people can use,” Kilb said. “Fashion reflects culture.”
The first time Kilb saw some of her designs produced was this past summer at a program at the Pratt Institute.
She had worked all summer with Rasa Barzdukas ’17 on designing a collection of clothing, largely inspired by her favorite work of art, The Swing by Fragonard. Seeing something tangible and wearable that she had designed only made Kilb more motivated to find her place in the world of fashion.
“I just sketch what I imagine,” she said. “When you create something you’re proud of, it’s probably the best feeling.”
While Kilb draws inspiration from the Internet and the world around her, she often finds herself inspired by works of art, she said.
Kilb carries out the process from start to finish; once she sketches her croquis, or model, she draws the actual clothes to perfection in marker.
Once she’s pleased with her sketch, she sews her own clothing, a skill she picked up at a young age from her mom. Soon, she will learn to create her own patterns but for the time being, she uses commercial ones.
Kilb’s designs have also largely been inspired by designer Isabel Marant.
“She has the ability to create clothes that are both structural and elegant, and that’s something that I want to do,” she said.
Kilb’s mom not only taught her to sew, but has had a large influence on Kilb’s design career. Since her mom works as a graphic designer, artistic expression has always been important in the Kilb household. When she was younger Kilb’s mom made clothes for her, and even dedicated a room in their house.
“She always [encouraged] me to do creative things,” Kilb said. “She’s always been a supporter of the arts and of me pursuing a creative career.”
Sophia Van Iderstine ’17, who modeled some of Kilb’s collection, was able to follow Kilb’s collection via Instagram, which made it all the more exciting to help bring her creations to life.
“She is unbelievably creative and talented and so fun to be around,” Van Iderstein said. “Her designs are very versatile and easy to wear, yet every one has its own unique flare.”
Kilb said it’s difficult to find time for fashion with the responsibilities of school and horseback riding filling Kilb’s schedule. Therefore, the majority of her experience has come from her summer work, but second semester will finally give Kilb the freedom of time to focus on her interest in fashion, given that most of her collection has been made during the weekends and break. She plans to study fashion in college.