Designer: Elise Gray
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Collection Title: Poiema
Elise is a senior in Fashion and Textile Management with a concentration in Fashion Development and Product Management. Her journey in fashion began at the age of five when her entire wardrobe was pink because she refused to wear any other color. From that age, she has been sketching and pushing boundaries in fashion. She decided very early on her career would be in the fashion industry in some way. In 2015, she attended a week-long experience at Wilson College of Textiles called STEP (Summer Textile Exploration Program). This solidified her determination to obtain a fashion degree and do it at Wilson College of Textiles. Her goal after graduation is to work for a ready-to-wear brand that focuses on building women up—inside the company culture and in creating and marketing their garments.
Poiema means masterpiece or work of art in Greek. Elise wanted to create a collection of professional and sophisticated wear for women who have sensory processing disorder or SPD. SPD is a disorder common in individuals with autism and ADHD wherein the sensory information that the individual perceives results in an abnormal response. Most people with SPD experience hypersensitivity to sound, sight, and especially touch. Most people with SPD struggle to find clothing that they can wear—especially professional wear. Tags, hand of the fabric, seams, and closures can disrupt someone’s daily function. Elise chose contemporary, neutral colors that could be paired with almost everything, chose softer fabrics, and moved toward using closures that are easier to doff for people with motor skill differences. Her silhouette and style choices were inspired by a stack of vintage and some modern style magazine clippings her grandmother sent her a year ago.