Design on Fashion

Krizia Phillips

Krizia Phillips (CSR '13) created the official Purdue tartan plaid. (Photo by Amanda LaFree)

During her senior year as an apparel design and technology major, Krizia Phillips (CSR '13), made her permanent mark on Purdue fashion by creating the winning official Purdue tartan plaid that will be used in products such as ties, scarves, hats, vests and shawls. The merchandise will debut later this year.

You might say it was preordained for Phillips to study fashion. Her mother grew up in New York City and named her Krizia (pronounced Kree-zee-uh) after the famous Italian design house. Sister Paulina was named for supermodel Paulina Porizkova.

"I don't think my dad still can pronounce my name correctly," she says with a laugh. "After 21 years, I've given up."

Fashion is a "big deal" in her family, Phillips says. Both grandmothers are artists and one attended FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). One taught the young girl how to sew and draw. Phillips designed and made clothing for her dolls, but to her mother's consternation used her little sister's clothing as fabric.

Historical references influence tartan design

Designing a tartan may seem simple: just take Purdue gold and black and make a plaid design. Not so. "We only were allowed to use different shades of gold and grey, black and white," Phillips says. "The yarn count had to relate specifically to Purdue."

She set her white yarn count to 12, reflecting the year that "Hail Purdue" was written — 1912. Along with the design, entrants had to submit an essay describing their research process and explaining the reasons for the yarn counts chosen.

"I incorporated the classic Purdue 'old gold' into a vivacious pattern to emphasize the spirit of Purdue," Phillips says. Her winning tartan has been verified and reviewed for originality by the Tartan Registry in Edinburgh, Scotland, a division of the Scottish government.

So what does the future hold for this designing woman? "New York City is definitely calling me," Phillips says. Her dream is to work for a designer or to become a stylist for a magazine like Nylon.

She finds design inspiration in nature and the odd things that surround her every day, Phillips says. "The works of Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Zac Posen, Proenza Schouler and the late Alexander McQueen have always been innovative and surprise their audiences. I love that!"

Phillips credits her professors with preparing her well for her future career in apparel design. "I'm confident in what I am capable of and have been provided so many resources to help me do so," she says. "The last four years have been the best years of my life. Thank you Purdue and Boiler Up!"


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