Carrie Zirbes | Fashion Designer

Avoid the cheap trends, buy local second-hand, and borrow when you can.

|–Carrie Zirbes

My Designs | Playful, whimsical, and fun. | Carrie Zirbes

Greatest challenge after graduation | “Surprisingly getting out of my head”.

Unexpectedly, two cheerful and playful voices could be heard in the background at the beginning of the interview with Carrie Zirbes. The brief high-pitched squeaks, screams, and laughter in the background are from her two and four-year-old sons as she shares her story of becoming a fashion designer. Carrie is a recent graduate of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College of Minnesota; there she graduates with a degree in fashion apparel technologies. Moreover, her passion for fashion began in high school as a fan of the famous reality television show Project Runway. Inspired Carrie, thereby, attends MNTC to fulfill that dream of becoming a fashion designer.

Elaine: If you could choose any city in the world to visit and attend the fashion week show, where would that city be? Who would you invite to join you in that experience?

Carrie: I would love to experience fashion week in New York. I would bring my partner; we love New York and that experience would be wonderful to share with him.

EP: Name one fashion capital that you would love to visit. Why would you choose this city above the many other known cities?

CZ: I think it would be incredible to visit Tokyo. I love the weird and out-there things in this world, and I feel like Tokyo really embraces that.

EP: If you had the opportunity to attend a Paris Fashion week, what one item would you like to take with you and would not want to forget to take on the trip?

CZ: The item that I would bring would be my phone so I could document everything!

EP: Where were you, when, and what were you doing when you decided to become a fashion designer?

CZ: I decided to become a fashion designer when I was in high school. Project Runway was a new show that I would watch and it heavily influenced my decision to work in the fashion industry.

EP: Where does your inspiration come from when creating your designs.

CZ: I pull a lot of my creativity from the psychedelic world. I love using color and patterns to create bold expressions.

EP: Is there a fashion designer local or famous that you admire and inspires you?

CZ: I really enjoy the designer,
Lilly Pulitzer. She uses really bright colors and busy floral patterns.

EP: What would you say is the most challenging about being a recent graduate of fashion design?

CZ: A challenge that I have found that comes with being a recent graduate is getting out of my head. I’ve been focusing on the technical side of design for so long. I just need to let go of the idea of perfection. I’m trying to focus on my ability and trust my instincts when I’n creating my designs.

EP: Where did you train to become a fashion designer? Would you recommend the school or university?

CZ: I love the Apparel Program at
Minneapolis College | MNTC. The instructors are so talented and I learned a new skill! They really cram a lot in a 2-year program.

EP: What one skill do you believe that you have acquired during your train that prepares you exceptionally well for entry into the fashion industry?

CZ: I am now able to sew and create anything my mind makes up!

EP: What is that you strive for when you are working on a new project design?

CZ: I love for my designs to be beautiful and intense!

EP: Once you have completed a design, what is that you hope to have accomplished.

CZ: When my design is complete, I wish for it to be a wearable garment!

EP: How would you describe your designs, playful, serious, etc.?

CZ: I would describe my designs as playful, whimsical, and fun. They are maybe even a little
weird at times.

Keep Make Up Away from Clothes | Avoid Cheap Trends

EP: Do you have a design that is your favorite you’d like to share?

CZ: My favorite design so far was named, “HooRay”. She kind of looked like the St. Paul Girl on Easter. I made a laced-up corset bodice out of a silk jacquard! She had humongous, blue and white striped sleeves and a floral circle skirt.

EP: What do your family and friends think now that you have completed your training in fashion and have officially begun your journey as a fashion designer?

CZ: My family is all very supportive and excited for me to start this next adventure!

EP: What does the term sustainable and ethically conscious fashion mean to you? Also, during your training, did you work on any design projects involving sustainable fashion?

CZ: Fast Fashion is destroying the earth and we must combat that by being conscious consumers. I do this by thrifting and wearing what I already own. I enjoy up-cycling and making new garments by re-purposing. Evil corporations will destroy the earth and humanity with unethical business practices and there isn’t much we do but refuse to buy their products. Avoid the cheap trends, buy local and second hand and borrow when you can.

EP: During this time of Covid 19, how do you keep your focus, stay motivated, and continue to design?

CZ: Staying motivated during Covid was challenging. The stress was really unhealthy. I had no choice but to keep going. School was my motivator. I had to finish my assignments for school.

EP: Name one fashion show that you participated in within the last three years and what one thing do you recall was most beneficial during that event?

CZ: My garments were presented in a fashion film for school. We didn’t have a traditional fashion show. It was a very cool and fun experience. I am happy to have a film that I can watch forever and add to my portfolio!

EP: Have you a favorite fabric that you like to work with when designing? If so why, what is that fabric?

CZ: I enjoy the feel of rayon, silk is easy to work with and tulle is my favorite because I enjoy making clothing with lots of volume! I usually just use what I have available to me though, going back to sustainability and all that.

EP: What one piece of advice would you give to an aspiring fashion designer entering a fashion design program? And name one experience, event, or thing that helped you to be successful in the educational program you graduated from?

CZ: My advice to anyone is just go for it. It is hard work but if you stay on top of your projects, it is very rewarding. School is necessary in most cases because there is a right way to do most things. Making it to class is very important, it is so easy to fall behind. Keeping up with the homework and working hard paid off for me!

EP: Finally, if you had one fashion wish, what would that wish be?

CZ: My fashion wish would be to have a fully functioning sewing lab! | Carrie Zirbes

Interview by | Elaine Pizzini

Minneapolis | Fashioner | Carrie Zirbes