Designing women sow success
by Andrew Shurtleff
Design Club founders Sole Salvo, right, and Lauren Fritsch
work on an evening gown featuring a waist corset with embroidered
By Jane Ford
around Grounds, and the dress of choice includes jeans, khakis
or shorts with T-shirts or oxford-cloth button-downs and Timberline
fleece jackets. Whatever the outdoor temperature, flip-flops are
graduating students found that first looks can be deceiving when
one considers fashion at U.Va. Sole Salvo and Lauren Fritsch met
in a medieval literature class their first year and discovered
a shared passion fashion design.
Salvo, a French major, and Fritsch, an English major, each began
designing and sewing when they were in elementary school. By high
school they were making garments for themselves and others.
U.Va. they were hard-pressed to find an outlet for their fashion
creativity, since the University does not have a fashion design
program. But that didnt stop the two women who believe there
is power in dressing stylishly.
is really about style and knowing what lines complement your body
type, not about the latest trend, said Salvo. When I am
comfortable and confident in what I am wearing, I project a different
persona than when I am just hanging around in my jeans.
and Fritsch started the Fashion Design Club as an artistic outlet
and soon discovered others who share their passion.
two also had another agenda. They wanted to create clothes that
celebrated the average body type.
fashion industry perpetuates the myth that to be worthwhile as
a person you have to be really skinny and beautiful, said
Fritsch. From the beginning, they consciously selected models
that reflect the general populations size.
We vetoed those who were too skinny, she said.
misconceptions about what is beautiful and healthy led Fritsch
to team up with psychology major Sarah Fischer on a Harrison Research
Project to study the prevalence of risk factors for eating disorders
among U.Va. students.
success of the club is a testament to the duos ideas about
the power of fashion. Salvo said one model was amazed at the diversity
of the club. Every culture has body adornment, so fashion
naturally draws people from every background, Salvo said.
clubs first fashion show was in 2000 in Tuttle Coffeehouse
with 13 original pieces. This March, more than 150 original designs
were paraded down the runway to an audience of more than 500 in
Newcomb Hall Ballroom. The creations were more theatrical than
everyday, featuring simple lines and luscious fabrics, said the
club co-founders. Salvo featured silks, silk brocades, rayon jerseys
and silk charmeuse in her designs.
beauty of U.Va. is that I was able to make the experience what
I wanted it to be, said Salvo, who will pursue her own clothes
line after studying in New York in the fall.
long-term goal is to start a nonprofit fashion business for single
mothers. In the meantime, shell be making business suits
to wear to her job as executive director of the Virginia Alumni
Club in New York City.