Meet Lizz Stepchin ’13, a fashion design alumna. Her senior collection, debuted in the “Spring Fashion Show” in May, featuring ready-to-wear designs inspired by the Viking Age history. As a recent graduate, Stepchin has already started her journey into the fashion world. What made you decide to apply to Mount Ida?

Stepchin: I always knew that I wanted to go to a small school close to my hometown of Melrose, MA. When I visited Mount Ida on a tour, I was drawn to the supportive environment with professors who are eager to see you succeed. They truly care about helping students become the best fashion designers they can be, which pushed me to create finished products that they will remember for years to come. How would you describe your style?

Stepchin: For me, it’s never been about couture or high-end fashion. It’s been about costuming. I love any and all of the Boston Con events, such as Anime Boston and the Sci-Fi Convention. There is so much creativity to see from fans’ costumes, including cloaks, corsets, and jewelry. In all of my garments, I tend to root them in history with a twist of fantasy interpretation as well. Which fashion designer inspires you?

Stepchin: I am inspired by the work of costume designer Ngila Dickson. Her most notable work is from the movie “Lord of the Rings”. Dickson’s work with a late 17th and early 18th century look has resulted in more numerous nominations at the Oscars. What is your ultimate dream in fashion design?

Stepchin: My plan is to attend New England Hair Academy in Malden, MA. I want to become a licensed cosmetologist because I believe having that extra skill set will give me the edge I need for the job hunt. As an aspiring costume designer, I have to know all aspects of fashion design. After that, I hope to find work in either the theatre or movie industry.

Interior design major Stephanie Lopilato ’14 won second place in the Student Design Competition at the Interior Design Career Day 2012. Held at The Boston Design Center, this event was organized by the New England chapters of the International Interior Design Association and American Society of Interior Designers. Budding designers had the chance to enter the design and technology competition to showcase their cutting-edge projects.

Lopilato’s project was created in her Interior Design 202 Commercial Design Studio course with Professor Courtnay Wallace who has a thriving architectural practice called e-volutions Designs on Newbury Street in Boston. The course focuses on design issues and presents students with the criteria that must be considered when selling spaces. Additionally, in the studio course, students learn how to expand their creativity as well as enhance product displays in small to medium-size design projects.

Many schools in New England participated in the 2012 Student Competition, including Wentworth Institute of Technology, New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University, Newbury College, Endicott and the Boston Architectural College. Congratulations again to Stephanie Lopilato for representing Mount Ida with her prized project from Professor Wallace’s studio course.

Julie Smith ’14 has always had a penchant for photography. She has dreamt of it, seen it up-close in magazines, and marveled at the best photographers. But, she has only seen it from afar, through someone else’s eyes. Until one day, last spring, when she had the confidence to reveal her images to the world in a solo exhibition at the School of Design. And, in that moment, when she opened the doors to critics, she was pleasantly surprised.

Taking chances

“Graphic design has introduced me to a new side of photography with digital editing that has given me the ability to learn so many different skills and techniques,” said Smith. “When I first began taking photos, I only used myself as a model and was embarrassed to ask anyone else for help. Now, I enjoy pushing the limits and I am much more confident in taking risks.”

Chosen for Getty Images

In a photo shoot last summer, back in Smith’s hometown of Richmond, Rhode Island, she enlisted her family and friends as her subjects. Taking photos at her house, on the beach, and in the woods made for a lot of early mornings and late evenings.

Her hard work paid off, however, in the fall 2012 when she was approached by Getty Images, a stock photo agency in partnership with Flickr. In particular, three of her images from her photo sets were chosen: Off to Neverland, Horizon, and How Do You Know.

Practice makes perfect

Soon after Getty Images; Smith entered the Photographer’s Forum College Photo Contest and was selected as a finalist among 16,000 entries for her photo called Irony. Smith originally entered this contest with the motivation of simply completing a class project.

“When I entered, I had no intention of winning anything,” stated Smith. “Learning that I was chosen as a finalist has given me the reassurance I need to continue making art. It’s what I love doing and can’t wait to see what’s next.”