Prom and graduation season is here and many senior girls are running around right now in the efforts to make these days absolutely perfect. I remember having so much fun shopping with my mom and sister to find a prom and graduation dress, but with that joy came A LOT of stress. Not finding the right fit or style can turn your shopping day into a dreadful experience. Trying on dress after dress and bouncing from boutique to boutique can get tiring, especially when you are not finding exactly what you are looking for.
Well, one recent graduate from the Philippines decided to take matters into her own hands after not finding a dress for one of the most memorable days of her life. Ciara Gan created her own dress after not finding what she was looking for.
Gan posted her turquoise, hand painted, floor length ballgown on Twitter and it caught the attention of people all over the world. Thirteen yards of fabric, stoning and over 80 hand painted flowers were used to create this beautiful masterpiece. She currently has 84.2k retweets and 392k likes on her post. I reached out to Gan and she was able to answered a few questions for our True Star readers.
Most graduates end up purchasing or having their gowns made. What prompted you to make your own?
I can never really find a dress that matches the ideas in my head. So, my mom actually pushed me to make a dress! Because I love to try new things, I thought why not? It was my last big event for school and I had about a month of graduation practices so I’d be able to focus more on making my gown without worrying about school work.
What inspired the overall design of your gown?
My inspiration for the design are the things that make me happy. As nerdy as it may sound, I chose emerald green because I’m an avid Potterhead and a proud Slytherin ? I recently reread the book Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (which touched my heart) and then decided to paint the orange florals. I strayed away from basic roses and dainty florals because although they’re pretty, they don’t reflect my personality. I love the vibrancy of loud colors like orange and green–they speak more about who I am. I wanted to create something personal that could manifest the things that I hold very close to my heart and painting is one of them.
Did you have any help creating your dress?
My mom is the person who literally helped me make the whole dress. It’s both our creation. We bought all the materials together, made the structure together, and beaded the whole thing. She supported me throughout the whole process.
What materials did you use to construct your gown?
My mom and I bought 13 yards of fabric, crinoline, pelon, regiline, swarovski crystals. We also had a petticoat, sewing machine, a hot glue gun, boning, and paint.
Up to now, I still really can’t believe it. When the numbers increase I realize that so many people have seen my gown. What I appreciate the most about this whole thing is the requests for commissions and artworks. It really warms my heart to see people appreciating my art.
Do you create art or design clothing on a regular basis for yourself and/or others?
This was actually my first time creating and designing a whole dress! I plan on doing more for others in the near future. I’m already getting inquiries on designing others’ gowns.
Social media often influences young women to dress and look a certain way. What advice can you give to those who aspire to be different, but are afraid?
I say, normal is boring. If you’re always trying to be like everyone else, how will you know what makes you different? Let yourself be the woman you want to be, without setting a template for you to follow. I know it’s scary putting yourself out to the world, but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and show the world who you are. You’ll never know, you might end up changing the world.
Do you plain to pursue an art or fashion degree? If not why?
I recently graduated from the STEM strand, so I plan to pursue a degree in a science related course! I am in love with both the arts and sciences and I want to incorporate two different things with each other. I want to bring art into science, or vice versa.
What does the next five years look like for you?
The next few months are gonna be exciting, and I’m pretty sure the next five years will be too! I want to get a degree in Computer Science, while accepting commissions on the side. I know for sure I want to make more dresses and paint more.
What clothing designers and/or stylist have inspire you? Why does this specific person inspire you?
I take inspiration from Filipino fashion designers who have changed the industry. Designers like Mak Tumang and Michael Cinco are known for their own fortes– and I think that’s what really makes them special. They inspire me to go out of my comfort zones and try new things.
By Brittanie Sturdivant, Sophomore,Open Campus Parsons School of Design