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Interview with Fashion Alumna: Madison Perez

Madison Perez alongside her garment presented at Montclair State University

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Montclair State University alumna, Madison Perez. Madison graduated spring 2022 with a degree in Fashion Studies and is currently working in tech design and production. I interviewed her about the piece she created in an exhibition held by Montclair State University in Spring 2022.

What was the inspiration behind your garment?

The inspiration behind my garment for the fashion exhibition was my concern with what I wanted to leave behind as a senior. I am hopeful that I’ll be able to explore many new styles and options as a grow as a designer but I'll never be this version of myself at this point in time ever again, so I wanted my last design as a student to be very authentic and personal, possibly not for the masses.

Another source of inspiration was that I was in the process of designing a collection inspired by queens and women in power throughout history; including Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth I. Simultaneously, Vogue had just released the details of the highly anticipated MET Gala that was finally to return after the hiatus of the pandemic. Naturally, when you can't attend the fashion world’s biggest event of the year, you design a dress for it! So, I drew up a dress that has the extravagant fit for the iconic stairs of the Met. I knew I wanted to create a dress that could be runway, royalty, or red carpet ready. The dress can be worn as a set as shown, the detachable skirt can be worn as a cape, or the pink dress beneath can be worn simply as is.

Visit Vogue’s website here to learn more about the MET Gala.

What was your brainstorming process?

My brainstorming process began with me knowing I wanted my garment to be multi-dimensional and adaptive. Since I was very inspired by the Met Gala, I went to Vogue archives and realized, how do people even sit in these dresses and ensembles? Then I came across the iconic Lady Gaga gala look by Brandon Maxwell. First the cape came off and revealed a beautiful dress, and under that was a mini dress and then down to the stockings, and that’s the way to do it! Maxwell fused red-carpet, theatrics, and practically a whole collection all on a flight of stairs. This began the brainstorming process of knowing I wanted my garment to have multiple looks before I even knew what the look was going to be, and that is how I ended up with my detachable skirt/cape and my 3-in-1 look.

For more on Brandon Maxwell visit Harper’s Bazaar article on the designer.

Fashion illustration by Madison Perez of garment</