Yards of piping shaped into a corset. Over one thousand handmade organza petals with a shiny middle became a skirt. Rose was born.
Inspired by a 30 foot tall metal basket of florals, Jude Drakeford created her first gown at 11 years old. The young designer enrolled into Maryland Academy of Couture Arts (MACA) to learn more about the creative process of fashion.
“MACA allows me to broaden my outlook on proper garment construction,” Drakeford said. “All the different techniques I have learned, I try to incorporate into my designs such as pessementary, silk painting, embroidery techniques and edgings. Ella Pritsker, my teacher and mentor, has taught me so many skills that I could not have learned anywhere else. “
Influenced by Pritsker’s expertise in couture design, Drakeford has become a teenaged fashion prodigy. The youngest student at MACA is appreciative of her fashion education. The most important concept she has learned is pattern making.
“It opened a lot of doors for me and allows my designs to come to life,” Drakeford said. I learned that once you know how to make a pattern, the sky is the limit.”
Before Drakeford created a colorful gown named Rose, she made a green lycra mermaid tail at the age of 7. Wanting to know how it felt to be a mythical creature, she wore it whenever she would go swimming. This early interest developed into a muse for her fabric based inventions.
“Mother Nature is my biggest inspiration because most people do not take time to look around them and appreciate a natural beauty in a form of art,” Drakeford said.
I try to tell that story through my garments as much as possible, impressionistic art – such as Monet, Renoir, Degas and Van Gogh because their paintings are more abstract it allows my imagination to wonder while still keeping the basic concept.”
With a passion to turn natural elements into wearable pieces, the Maryland teenager continues to work towards her dreams of presenting at New York Fashion and designing red carpet ready custom gowns.
“I don’t have a favorite [design],” Drakeford said. I love them all for different reasons. Because they are all so unique. Each one has taught me something new in the process.”
Every garment she makes, there is always a lesson to be learned.