For many people, fashion is a form of self-expression, a way to show the world who they are without speaking. For University of Nebraska at Omaha student fashion designer Georgia Kennedy, fashion is also a form of art.
Kennedy, a sophomore political science major, creates her designs by using unique materials, such as plastic and metal, in place of cloth.
“I’m more into unconventional fashion, so not using fabric as the regular textile and kind of going outside the box,” Kennedy said. “Right now I’m actually making a dress that’s going to be fully draped out of chain for a girl. [It’s] more of kind of the idea of fashion as art instead of fashion as ready to wear.”
Kennedy began her college career at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where she came up with the idea to use unique materials for her designs after taking a class on how fashion is directly linked to a person’s identity.
“That just kind of opened my eyes to what fashion can really mean for a person and how everyone should have the chance to dress and portray their personality at the same time,” Kennedy said.
In order to help other people portray their personalities through fashion, Kennedy aims to create designs that break down fashion stereotypes.
“I want to break those restrictions where people feel like you have to wear certain things in certain situations because I feel like that’s really limiting as far as expressing your personality,” Kennedy said. “That’s what I want to continue to do.”
With an ever-changing sense of style currently described as “’90s rock-grunge phase,” Kennedy also personally feels the importance of dressing for yourself rather than for others.
“If I didn’t dress a certain way, I wouldn’t feel like myself,” Kennedy said. “So I feel like its more of a natural thing that people dress how they want to portray themselves to the world.”
Though she just began working with unconventional materials in the past year, Kennedy’s passion for fashion began in childhood.
“When I was a little kid I had fashion sketch books, and it was just so much fun,” Kennedy said. “The very first thing I ever made was a bag. Super simple, but even just picking out the textile and print that I wanted, every single little detail is part of your personality … and it’s just fun.”
Since she works with unconventional materials, Kennedy is mostly self-taught.
“A lot of it is just me going through YouTube videos and Martha Stewart’s page … because working with unconventional stuff is new to me, too,” Kennedy said. “It’s kind of like whatever project I’m working on or new material I’m working with, it’s kind of like an experiment.”
Zachary Henry, who works with Kennedy at H&M and also has experience with fashion design, said Kennedy’s designs “are very forward,” especially for Omaha.
“Since the Midwest experiences the trickle-down effect in the fashion industry, we are generally the last to be updated on trends,” Henry said. “To see Georgia thinking outside the box with her designs … is really cool and not something you see often here.”
Kennedy is currently working to get her name out into the fashion world. She’s building a portfolio and hopes to participate in Omaha Fashion Week.
“You never know in the fashion industry because it’s not stable,” Kennedy said. “The goal is to have my own label one day, but we’ll just have to see how it works out.”
Ultimately, designing helps Kennedy to express her personal passions.
“I’m very passionate about women’s rights. Creating fashion for women and having them connect to it is a big part of what I want to do,” Kennedy said. “It’s so cool that something I create someone chooses that to wear to reflect their own personality, so I’m directly connecting with that person.”