MODA Blog

2019 Designer Profiles: Talia Friedland

2019 Designer Profiles: Talia Friedland

Every year, the MODA Fashion Show wraps up winter quarter with the perfect homage to student talent, hard work and creativity. In anticipation of the show, we have been interviewing some of the designers involved in this year’s show. Meet Talia Friedland, a 4th year who has been designing for the MODA Show for her entire undergrad career!


What are some sources of inspiration for your collection?

This year I have a couple of themes that I’m playing with. Originally, I wanted my collection to poke fun at millennial trends/phenomenons which was inspired by my visit to Urban Outfitters on Oxford Street in London over this past summer. On nearly every shelf they were selling some kind of fanny pack, and I thought it would be funny to have fanny packs as a recurring motif in my collection.

From there, I decided to incorporate more things that I associate with millennial culture: avocado toast, the Kardashians, Ariana Grande, palm frond prints, etc. I also wanted the colors of my collection to be “millennial colors” like Millennial Pink, Melodramatic Purple, Neo Mint and Gen-Z Yellow.

What are you looking forward to most about the show?

Every year my parents fly from Portland, Maine to come see it, and this year they’re bringing my two little sisters and my grandmother. I love having their support and how they get to see me grow as a designer every year. My friends also get really excited to be in the audience and cheer for me, and this year my friends are my models!

final avocado toast outfit.jpeg
final palm frond outfit.jpeg

Have you ever done fashion design work before? What are some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the process?

Yes, this is my fourth time having my designs featured in the MODA Fashion Show. It’s one of my favorite parts of the school year, and I start thinking about my designs every summer!

The most challenging part of the process is patience. I’m a self taught sewer, and I still don’t understand a lot of the instructions that come in sewing patterns, but over time I’ve realized that the harder I try to take the time to really follow instructions instead of improving, the better my clothes will look in the end.

The most rewarding part is when I have an “aha!” moment (which could happen at any time, but it’s usually when I’m bored in class or while I’m running). When a look that I’ve been struggling with just somehow comes together in my mind, and I know for a fact that I have a plan because I wouldn’t settle for anything else.

Who do you have in mind when you’re designing?

I have the audience in mind. Because the show is pretty fast paced, and most people are seeing the clothes from a distance, I know that each of my looks has to be something that can be appreciated in the short time that it makes an appearance on stage. Even though I love muted colors and appreciate quality sewing in everyday life, I think when it comes to MODA it’s most important for your pieces to make a strong statement, especially from afar.

final+kim+k+outfit.jpg
thank u next final outfit.jpeg

If you could give yourself any advice on the design process, what would you say to your younger self?

When I was younger I used to make a lot of clothes by hand (not sewing machine) and because I was the only person in my family who was at all interested in fashion and crafting, I had limited materials. My favorite thing used to be to go to the fabric section at Walmart and buy scrap fabric and make whatever I wanted out of it: clothes for me, my dolls, or my friends. I’m still proud of myself for discovering my own passion for design, because I don’t remember it ever being taught to me. I just sort of picked it up. But I admit that my sewing was TERRIBLE. So I guess I would also tell my younger self to keep up the creativity but also be more patient and willing to learn the technical stuff.

What’s your favorite aspect of the design process?

I love finding inspiration. I’ll see someone wearing something, or a certain outfit on Pinterest or Instagram, and my mind will just run wild with figuring out ways to make that look my own. I also love the feeling of knowing that I have time to work on my designs! UChicago is such a busy environment it’s hard to find room in my schedule to work on my collection, but there’s almost nothing better than knowing that I have a big window to work. I’ll turn on Netflix or listen to music or a podcast, and I’ll just dive in and I won’t talk to anyone or leave my apartment for hours! I think I get an adrenaline rush and I can just work non stop.

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