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April 12, 2007 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2007-04-12

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2B - Thursday, April 12, 2007

{student designer profiles}

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Jerrit Tan
By Maureen Sullivan I Daily Arts Writer

Alex Lee
By Nora Feldhusen I Daily Arts Writer

TI U he word 'cake' is synon-
ymous with wealth and
power. We can refer to
everything we want simply as cake,
from chocolate cake, to cash and
even a kilo of cocaine."
Inthe streetwear industry where
imitation is suicide and reputation
is everything, LSA junior Jerrit Tan
is relatively new on the scene with
Cake, the clothing and lifestyle
friends Mike Cho and Sera Juddin
- New York natives - Tan has cre-
ated a line of edgy T-shirts with an
urban-chic vibe. They hope to bring
fresh ideas into the streetwear
industry. Though originally exclud-
ed from the mainstream fashion
for its unconventional style, well-
known designhouses like Gucci and
Prada have turned to ahip-hop style
for inspiration.
Like other contemporary lines
taking advantage of the opportu-
nity to collaborate between cre-
ative industries, Cake is constantly
looking for inspiration in different
genres, be it pop art, techno or hip
"Creativity breeds creativity, and

becoming more mainstream has Lamborghinis - Tan
definitely builtnew bridges between will branch out beyor
companies and artists to encourage include jeans, button-
more innovative products," Tan said ers, sneakers and watt
in an e-mail interview. "Just like high fash
Cake's criteria include originality, outlandish and uniq
wearability and style. Tan and his more attention it wi
partners are ambitious, striving to said. "Hype is a beauti
create a completely original brand
that catches eyes, creates buzz and
demands a second look.
"If we saw our clothes in a store,
would we pick it up?" Tan asked. "If
we saw some random guy at a bar
wearing one of our shirts, would we
swim our way through the crowd to
ask him where he got his shirt? Its
is a long and sometimes painstaking
process to come up with a product
that you like, and you believe other
people would like also."
The streetwear industry is diffi-
cult to break into, but Cake has sold
its spring line to 20 retailers, hitting
major cities including New York,
Chicago and Los Angeles as well
as expanding globally to England,
Canada and Japan.
Inspired by Japanese brand Bape
- originally a clothing label that
expanded to records and even Bape Jerrit Tan looking bailer.

n hopes Cake
nd T-shirts to
downs, sweat-
ion, the more
ue it is, the
ill grab," Tan
iful thing."

f you've ever paid too much
money for a skirt made out of
old T-shirts, Alex Lee has your
alternative. He isn't going to sell
you a cheaper version - he's got
something better. He'll show you
how to make the old clothes sit-
ting in your closet look just like
the high-fashion vintage pieces.
"I'm not a fashion designer,"
said Lee, an Art and Design senior.
"I justmake things fit people." Lee
majors in graphic and industrial
design, and the concept of reusing
and recycling are pervasive in his

As college students, we're bom-
barded with information about
how to conserve. This can be
overwhelming, and Lee offers a
simple way to dress and acces-
sorize responsibly. His vision is
a holistic one: The clothes are
meant to do more than just look
good. The new piece - derived
from older garments - is meant to
manifest the distinctive character
of the owner.
Lee is creating 20 individual
pieces for his senior thesis. Partic-
ipants bring him some old cloth-
ing they no longer wear, and Lee

talks to them about their style,
personality and interests. Then he
"refurbishes" - fashioning a new
piece that improves the fit physi-
cally and stylistically. The new
pieces carry more personal impor-
tance and meaning than anything
But Lee's vision stretches
beyond his senior thesis: He hopes
to create a movement promoting
recyclable fashion. He will open
an interactive studio Saturday
at the gallery Natural Canvas on
Main Street, which he hopes to
keep as a permanent space. The
gallery will be dedicated to sew-
ing machines and workshop areas
where people can transform their
old and boring clothing into new
styles that better fit their bodies
and personalities.
Consider taking part in Lee's
movement by heading to Natural
Canvas with an old sweater you
never wear this weekend. You'll
leave not only with a new handbag
or shirt but the inspiration to take
what was once useless or trash
and create something far more


The epitome of chill: Alex Lee.

By Rachel Common
Daily Arts Writer
D uring her past four years at
the University, Emily Cole-
man, an Art and Design
senior, hasn't experienced the nuts-
and-bolts kind of training available
at fashion powerhouses like FIT or
Parsons. Incidentally, the Universi-
ty's School of Art and Design doesn't
offer a concentration specifically in
fashion design.
But Coleman has learned a thing
or two about fashion's role in soci-
ety - though she sometimes had to
leave Ann Arbor to do it. After each
academic year, Coleman supple-
mented her art-school studies with
more hands-on, business-oriented
trainingby takingsummerclasses at
schools with strong fashion-design

NBy Shay Spaniola and Kimberly Chou
Daily Arts Writers

Emily Coleman amid her fruits of labor.
Coleman said the work has
"allowed (her) to gain a better
understanding of how art and fash-
ion function in society."
The way she speaks about the
real-world power of fashion, how-
ever, belies her education at a liberal
arts institution like the University.
"Fashion, as a capitalist enter-
prise, is directly influenced by the
political, cultural and economic cli-
mate of present day society - and
vice versa," Coleman said. She said
fashion is a universal language that
challengesand comments on cur-
rent social thought.
"Most of the work I have done has

been more conceptually based," she
For her recently finished senior
thesis, Coleman created a collection
of what she referred to as "trans-
formable garments" that deal with
fear, protection and vulnerability.
If it's not exactly what you'd expect
from new fashion, understand that
Coleman's collection, "Perception
Management," was initially a prod-
uct of her thoughts on the "ways the
current U.S. government uses fear
as a means of manipulation and con-
After graduation, Coleman plans
to move to New York to pursue her
dream as a high-fashion designer.

When you buy apparel
from LSA freshman
Sam Kelman's cloth-
ing line, you'll not only look good,
you'll help others feel good, too.
Through sales of T-shirts and
similar wardrobe staples from
her Save Our Women clothing
line, Kelman has raised more
than $60,000 for breast cancer
awareness. Her main recipient is
the Susan G. Komen Breast Can-
cer Foundation, which receives
net profits from all American
sales. As the shirts are also sold in
Canada, net profits from Canadi-
an sales are donated to the Cana-
dian Breast Cancer Foundation.
Kelman said that what started
out as a small T-shirt fundraiser
evolved into a farther-reaching,
philanthropic business. She cre-
ated her company almost three
years ago, after she participated
in the Susan G. Koman Breast
cancer walk in New York City.
The walk serves as a tribute to
the women lost to breast cancer

and to honor survivors, and at the
same time it spreads awareness
and raises money; for Kelman, it
was especially significant as her
grandmother had passed away
frombreast cancer.
Since then, Kelman has part-
nered with sales representatives
at numerous American colleges,
such as McGill University student
Mara Sofferin.
Kelman's collection starts
with American Apparel-made
long-sleeved thermals, V-neck
T-shirts, tank tops and zip-up
sweatshirts. Each piece is print-
ed with the retro-style "Save
Our Women" logo - featuring a
pink ribbon in place of the "A" in
"save" - on both front and back.
Although most of the shirts are in
neutrals like grey, black or white,
Kelman is adding new colors for
the spring line.
Shirts start at about $20, and
zip-ups are $45. To order mer-
chandise, visit www.saveourwo-

Sam Kelman mixes fashion and charity.


Soc 389 & SC 32S35
SOC 389 is a service-learning course with topics in Education, Criminal Justice, Public
Health, Gender and Sexuality, and Organizing for Social justice. Select a section within
one of these topic areas using the descriptions in the LSA Course Guide

*Shiori Ito, Mandy Mitchell and Adam Morath
of Shei magazine.
. Poash
. Star Vintage
. Beanie June Boutique
. Courtney Clark and Cake Nouveau
. People's Food Co-op
. Martha Cook Residence Hall

SOC 325 is for selected student facilitators. For an application,
visit the Project Community website: www.umich.edu/~mserve/pc

Do you like Sudokumpuzzles?
Bored during summer classes?
Need something to read during the lazy days of

Edward Ginsberg Center for
Community Service and Learning
Division of Student Affairs
1024 Hill Street
www.umich.edu/ mserve/pc


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