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  • Writer's pictureFashion and Retail Association

Payton Breck on Designing for F&R "Gardenia" Fashion Show

By: Erica Schwartz


Every Spring, student designers and models from all over BU’s campus come together to put on the annual Fashion & Retail Association (F&R) Fashion Show. The theme of this year’s show is “Gardenia”. F&R Vice President Tabitha Fortner introduced the theme of the show in a General Body Meeting in early February, citing the major influences for the show’s theme as the Paolo Sebastian 2018 Spring/Summer collection, Dior Men’s Fall 2022 Collection, and the Rodarte Fall 2022 collection. I briefly sat down with Payton Breck, a freshman in the College of Communication and one of the eleven student designers for the show, to learn a bit about her experiences with design and how she’s choosing to interpret the “Gardenia” theme.

Payton Breck

Erica Schwartz: What inspired you to get involved with Fashion & Retail Association at BU?

Payton Breck: I was inspired to get involved with the Fashion & Retail Association because of my love for fashion design. I knew that F&R had opportunities for me to display my design work in a showcase. I love being able to be surrounded by other designers and people who love fashion in general.


ES: What experiences do you have with fashion and design? What got you interested in fashion and design?

PB: I’ve always been interested in fashion and design. I started sewing in elementary school, but back then I was just making stuffed animals and sock monkeys. I got my first sewing machine when I was 11, and I think it was getting this machine that inspired me to look into fashion design. I used to make clothing for my dolls, and there was a point when that just translated into making clothing for myself. I remember the first ever dress I sewed was a dress inspired by Marilyn Monroe, and I still have it today.


ES: What inspired you to design for the show?

PB: I wanted to design for the show because I loved the theme “Gardenia” and I wanted an opportunity that would inspire me to begin seriously designing again.


ES: How are you choosing to interpret the theme, “Gardenia”?

PB: When I think of “Gardenia,” I immediately think of what you would wear to an elegant garden party. I think of floral themes, but not too overwhelmingly floral. To me, “Gardenia” comes from this sort of whimsy that is associated with gardens and nature. I think of pink and green, which I used in a lot of my pieces.


ES: What are your inspirations for your designs for the show?

PB: When I found out that the theme for the show was “Gardenia” I decided to do some research on brands that used florals in their pieces. One show that stuck out to me was Alexander McQueen’s spring 2007 show. Several of the pieces in McQueen’s show featured sheer or silk fabrics with beautiful flowers attached.


ES: How are you sourcing your pieces/materials?

PB: I’ve gotten a lot of my fabrics from Van’s Discount Fabrics in Chinatown. They have a really good variety of fabrics I needed for my pieces. Aside from sourcing fabric, I’ve gone to several thrift stores in the area, Goodwill, The Garment District, and some other thrift stores in the Cambridge area. I have a lot of experience with upcycling, so I did upcycle some of the pieces.


ES: What are you most excited about as a designer for this show?

PB: I’m most excited to see all of the different designs that all the other designers create. I love the creative atmosphere that a fashion show brings and I can’t wait to see how everyone else interprets the theme!


This year’s Boston University Fashion and Retail Fashion Show will be held on April 1st, 2023, from 6-8 pm.


Looking to get involved? Applications for hair/makeup positions, videographers/photographers, talent performances, and pop-up vendors are live and can be accessed via the links on F&R’s Instagram page (@bufashionandretail).


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