The Graduates: Christine Hamer Grows Crystals on Her Fabrics

The senior's unusual thesis collection takes inspiration from the idea of things falling apart.

9 photos
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Senior Christine Hamer is growing crystals directly onto fabric for her thesis collection.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Florida native Christine Hamer tried to take a more experimental approach to her senior thesis collection. "Typically, I work in a sketchbook," she says, holding up a box stuffed full of inspiration shots and fabric swatches. "Our instructor asked us to be more open. Now, I'm doing a little packet for each look."
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Catherine Blair Pfander
As a level-headed lady working in the frenetic fashion industry, Hamer found inspiration in the concept of maintaining one's sanity even as things are falling apart. "It's the idea of trying to keep everything together," she explains. Here, a look at her final illustrations.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
In her efforts to be "more open-minded about my design process," Hamer found herself experimenting with daring new materials and treatments, most remarkably a self-designed technique for "growing crystals directly onto the fabric."
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Catherine Blair Pfander
"You could definitely call it 'dry clean only,'" laughs Hamer, who says that, so far, none of the crystals have fallen off. Here, a look at how the crystals -- which take at least three days and sometimes an entire week to grow -- will be incorporated into a finished look.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Hamer even brought a container filled with crystals-in-progress to our meeting in order to demonstrate her technique.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
The silhouettes themselves have a kind of undone, effortless appeal. Here, a pair of slouchy trousers with a folded-over waistband.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Initially, Hamer imagined a beachy, all white collection but slowly she started "playing with darker colors." Splashes of bleach and fabric dye give each piece a washed-out, damaged look.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
A look at Hamer's fabric swatches. "I never thought I'd be working with this much denim," she laughs.
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