An Interview with Fashion Design Alumna Briana Green Selected to Show Collection at Lunar Gala
April 2, 2018
Dreams do come true. Briana Green, a 2016 Bachelor of Science in Fashion Design alumna, proves it. Ms. Green’s mother works in the art department at Carnegie Mellon University. It was her mother’s hope that one day her daughter would be part of the Lunar Gala fashion show, a show that began in 1997 to ring in the Chinese New Year. And now she is one of two Art Institute of Pittsburgh graduates showing original collections on the runway. This year’s show is also the first to include designers outside of the Carnegie Mellon community. We caught up with Briana to learn more about her love for fashion and her experience as a designer in the Lunar Gala fashion show.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up on the east side of Pittsburgh.
What got you interested in fashion?
Mainly my influences are from the women around me. My great grandmother was my main inspiration. She sewed and crocheted a lot during my childhood. She carried herself in a way I believed every woman should and from that point on I was inspired to be in something fashion or beauty related.
What's your educational background?
I went to Gateway High School, which is in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. We had quite the art and “home ec” department. I’d say it was more in depth than most schools and that is where I learned the fundamentals of sewing. My school taught me three levels of clothing construction, and of course, I took all three. Mrs. Riccaridi, my teacher, taught me so much, and I knew once I finished that was the major I wanted to pursue. A year after graduating high school I applied to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and here we are now.
In what ways has your education prepared you?
The fashion classes in high school prepared me for college more than I thought it would. I learned the foundation of sewing, which helped me get through the beginning of my college career. The Art Institute of Pittsburgh taught me the basics of starting a fashion career and the different possibilities your degree can create for you. Fashion is far more than just sewing and fashion shows, a lot more goes into it than most think.
What inspires you and your designs?
I find inspiration from anywhere and everywhere. Whether it be from what’s going on in my life, or what kind of mood I’m in when I start sketching or designing. My mind is constantly changing, and I design in the moment.
How did you hear about the Lunar Gala fashion show?
I heard about the show years ago from my mom, actually. She works at Carnegie Mellon University and she always talked about it. Then Suzanne Mauro, an adjunct instructor at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, told me they were accepting applications. I didn’t want to miss on this opportunity.
What's been the most exciting part about it?
For me, it would be that I can actually be a part of this show! Normally, this show only features designers from Carnegie Mellon, but this year they accepted designers from anywhere in Pittsburgh! And a show with this level of reputation makes this opportunity a big deal!
How are you preparing for the show?
Day by day I work on things. I took off work pretty much the whole week of the show, and try to stay focused on the task at hand.
Tell us about the Lunar Gala theme, Ferox, how you felt when you received the theme and how you're applying it to your designs?
The theme of the show is primal and dark. I don’t want to give away too much though. It is for sure a show you don’t want to miss! My collection fits right in with the theme of the show. I added looks to tie it all together, but everything is working smoothly. My focus was on the mix of textile choices and silhouettes.
What challenges have you faced to do this show?
Trying to balance work, my personal life, and making sure I’m meeting deadlines for everything pertaining to the show. This is a pretty hectic time in my life— I am expecting my second child in April, and I have a 2-year-old daughter. Needless to say, I have my hands full!
What advice would you give someone starting in fashion?
No matter what is going on in your life, always take opportunities that open up to you, as long as they are professional and will contribute to the growth of your brand. Do not be afraid to branch off and do different things in the industry. The more you know, the better. Absolutely, do not be afraid to take risks!
If you could design an evening gown for any star, who would it be for and why?
Rihanna!!! I love her. She looks good in anything, and she wears anything. She’s fearless when it comes to everything she does and I would love to design for her.
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