Grace Albright

Function Forward

Class of: 2026

Major: Fashion Design BFA

Medium: A collection featuring two looks made from industrial materials (tile, metal washers, and foam)

Faculty: Shelley Fox

Prompt: The Collection is a semester-long project in which we were tasked with choosing an initial inspiration, researching, and abstracting our ideas into a final product. The project consisted of three stages: The Library, The Design Methods and Collection, and Communication. Throughout the process, we were encouraged to think about what constitutes a collection and how we can build a collection or body of work that builds off of new ideas each week. Our final project was to develop a method of communication that best represented our work throughout the semester, in which I chose to create a book.

Function Forward explores how the facets of function and design are interconnected. The collection showcases the seamless fusion of industrial materials, textiles, and fashion. Each piece embodies the integration of form and function, illustrating the power of design to harmoniously marry these elements together. The collection challenges the perception that everyday materials are “every day.” Here they’ve been transformed into complex and dynamic compositions. Function Forward invites you to explore the limitless possibilities of design and experience the beauty of industrial materials reimagined into fashion.

Through this collection, I aimed to push beyond conventional boundaries of design by experimenting with materials, textiles, silhouettes, and untraditional garment construction methods. I used the lens of spacesuits to begin my research and inform my design decisions, investigating how design can be optimized to serve a specific purpose without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. In particular, I analyzed how each detail of a spacesuit has a specific function and purpose, and how those come together to build a cohesive whole. I then curated a sample of textile manipulations that brought together the vision for my collection. I chose the name Function Forward as it communicates the idea of moving forward and embracing the future while highlighting the importance of functionality in design.

The first look features a dress made entirely out of white ceramic tiles. The second look features a top made from metal washers connected using jump rings and a skirt made of deconstructed foam.

Model: Lir Yucel
Photography: Zach Bergren