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The designer and the dress also were featured on the Red Carpet during the telecast of the Charity Preview on WXYZ-TV Channel 7.
The 4th annual MAIN Event, organized by the Lawrence Technological University (LTU) College of Architecture and Design and sponsored by Inteva Products, kicked off the NAIAS on Sunday Jan. 12 at Orchestra Hall. The event recognized Carlos Ghosn, President and CEO of Nissan and CEO of Renault as “Global Industry Executive of the Year,” and Ian Callum, Jaguar Design Director, as “Industry Innovator of the Year.”
Additionally, select LTU students were recognized with the “Next Generation of Design Innovation” and the “Coach Builder Design” awards. The MAIN Event annual Fashion Show featured some pieces constructed from automotive materials and components, like the winning TPO-constructed entry, and provided a fashionable conclusion to the event.
The Designer and the Dress
Janna Coumoundouros is a Ferndale, Michigan-based photographer, jewelry designer and fashion stylist. She has roots in the automotive industry, with automotive styling clients that include Ford, Lincoln and Audi. She styled the 2014 Ford Fiesta catalog as well. Janna is not a newcomer to the NAIAS. In 2012, she designed custom jewelry, from scrap automotive parts, for WDIV-TV personality Ashlee Baracy to wear to the NAIAS Charity Preview, resulting in her jewelry being featured on television newsmagazine “Dateline.”
Her MAIN Event winning entry was Janna’s first attempt at fashion design. “I always wanted to be a fashion designer, because of my jewelry design and work in fashion photography,” Janna said, “So, when I was presented this challenge, I decided to go for it.”
She had only 10 days to create her design from the roll of Inteva TPO provided to her by LTU, and she embraced the challenge to create the dress from this leather-like material.
“I enjoy taking unusual materials and making something new,” Janna said, “I experimented with steaming it to get curls and curves; and I even put it into the dishwasher. It came out pretty soggy, so then I had to put it in the dryer. Ultimately, the curls relaxed to curves that I could work with.”
She created the top portion of the dress, which includes safety belt material, on the model; pinning everything into place and then sewing the creation together after the model removed it. The design of the bottom of the dress was reversed from her original concept, according to Janna.
“Originally the tulleing was designed to be underneath, but the material didn’t hang right over it,” she explained, “so I switched it around and put the TPO underneath and the tulleing on top and it all came together.”
Janna collaborated on the winning dress design with Nick Caggiano, another Michigan designer, giving fashion design a try for the first time. Nick is a leather artist who works mostly making bags, tool kits and belts; and recently began doing leather work for a custom motorcycle shop.
The dress was modeled at the NAIAS Charity Preview by Joan Lutz.
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