Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Fashion community growing at UA, propelling program, students in industry

When The University of Alabama is brought to attention, one often thinks of champion sports teams and a decorated greek community. Although often unrecognized, the growing number of fashion-related majors has steadily made an impact on campus and abroad.

Kelly Druce, an apparel design major set to graduate this May, is president of Fashion Inc., the department sponsored fashion organization that puts on an annual fashion show and sponsors local charities. In seventh grade, Druce decided she wanted to be a part of the fashion industry and has yet to look back.

Originally, Druce’s parents were reluctant to her degree in fashion design but have since warmed up to the idea after recognizing Druce’s dedication to the industry.

“They didn’t want me to go to a specialty school, but now I think they’ve learned a lot about fashion,” Druce said. “Fashion design is not just some frivolous thing. It’s actually a huge industry, and there’s a lot to be done, so they’re very supportive. They flew out from Texas to see my senior show and for Birmingham Fashion Week last year.”

After learning to sew in high school, Druce has designed and created multiple collections featured in on-campus runway shows and Birmingham Fashion Week.

“I literally went onstage to present my collection and was crying,” Druce said. “It was just mind-blowing. You’ve been working on it for months and months. It’s like you just gave birth to something. There’s nothing else in the world like it.”

Much of Druce’s inspiration comes from pop culture, music and her affinity for video game heroines. To get her creative juices flowing, Druce will sometimes listen to music on long car rides and match songs to corresponding runway shows.

“I like more of an edgy, masculine look,” Druce said. “I like darker colors, and my client is like a strong, powerful woman that likes that masculine, powerful look, while still keeping it feminine and sexy.”

Her most recent collection for her senior show was based off the well-known statue in Barcelona, “The Kiss of Death.” This past summer, Druce interned in New York City with Mood Fabrics (the store often featured on Lifetime’s reality show “Project Runway”) and helped up-and-coming designer Alexander Berardi prepare for New York Fashion Week.

“I was doing a lot of the social networking things and swatch packets for their bloggers,” Druce said. “I learned so much. I had access to fabric stores that we would never have access to. I just learned a lot about networking and getting my name out there and getting people behind me.”

Druce said her ultimate goal is to get her name out and create and produce her own clothing line; although, she refuses to wear clothes she has designed herself. She is adamant about applying for every design competition available and was recently featured as a finalist for her design entry.

“I think when you tell people you’re doing fashion, they kind of wave you off, but you shouldn’t listen to that,” Druce said. “I always say everyone wears clothes, so it’s obviously a huge industry. Get yourself out there. It’s all about exposure, so do every design competition, every show. Networking is everything.”


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