Senior apparel designer finds influence in Andy Warhol

Design by Maggie Curry/Iowa State Daily Photos courtesy of Cassidy Glynn
Cassidy Glynn and her work

Olivia Hanson

Haute Couture is typically only seen on the runways in big cities like New York. But senior designer Cassidy Glynn has brought it to the runways of Ames, Iowa with her streetwear-inspired, partially hand-painted line called ‘Glitch // Accidental Art.’

Glynn grew up in Bettendorf, Iowa and will graduate with a degree in apparel, merchandising and design (AMD) with a focus on creative technical design. Glynn’s ambition and unique approach to design earned her a spot in this year’s 2017 fashion show, as well as attention from many viewers.

Growing up, Glynn always had an interest in fashion.

“It’s something I’ve always had in back of mind because my mom was pretty fashionable growing up,” said Glynn. “Being a little girl and looking through Vogue magazine and seeing not just one designer, but all of those designers who were producing clothing that was just so unique and nothing like I’d ever seen before.”

Her interest to pursue fashion as a career really peaked in her middle school years.

“I was never the girl who played sports,” said Glynn. “I was the girl who paints her way through everything.”

Her background in art is what inspired Glynn to pursue fashion design. But going into her sophomore year, Glynn faced a tough set back.

Glynn got very sick with E. coli and was hospitalized. She and her family weren’t sure if she would be able to return to school because the sickness was so hard on her body for such a long period of time. 

Glynn was able to return to Iowa State her sophomore year, but still faced challenges following her sickness. She was left feeling weak and uninspired.

She began again by taking an illustration class. Throughout the semester she would second guess herself even though she knew it was something she’d wanted to pursue.

“I was just kind of trying to take a step back,” said Glynn. “I was still recovering from being sick and sophomore year for designers is really tough because we do pattern making and illustration.”

Glynn said that even though the class was tough, it brought her back to her roots and reminded her why she wanted to pursue art and fashion in the first place. The illustration class was highly challenging and time consuming for Glynn, but she never gave up.

“I think being able to push myself and complete the class with a strong finish and to know that I gave it my all was what inspired me to stay in this major,” Glynn said.

While at Iowa State, Glynn also got the opportunity to study abroad in London.

“I studied abroad there after sophomore year and it was just the best experience of my life,” said Glynn. “It was just like my mind was so consumed by everything there and I never wanted to leave. You just learn so much about different people and different cultures and even about yourself.”

Glynn was also fortunate enough to land herself an internship at Cushnie Et Ochs in New York City. This internship was a huge burst of confidence for her. She found it comforting to know that the designers there once started where she was, doing all of the things that she is doing to make it in the industry.

“I think what made the experience a little bit cooler was the fact that I got it by myself rather than try and find it through a program,” said Glynn, “Finding an internship is hard in itself so I was really proud of myself because I know that I had worked hard to try and get to that point.”

By the time senior year rolled around, Glynn decided to focus all of her time and energy on her senior apparel line.

“[My] senior line was the first time I was really able to like fully indulge myself in what I was doing and spend an extended amount of time to get it to the exact point where I was in love with what I was making,” Glynn said.

One artist that really inspired her senior line collection was Andy Warhol.

“He was really into pop art and I really liked the idea behind his work,” said Glynn. “I think I got a lot of inspiration from his version of madness.”

Glynn is still in the process of learning what ways work best for her design process.

“I kind of just decided to wing it because with street wear, I wanted to have an element of surprise in there for myself, so not every single aspect of it was completely planned,” Glynn said.

Glynn has found that there is no perfect way of designing, nor is there a perfect product. One challenge that Glynn has faced as a designer is being happy with the things she’s making.

“I know a lot of the time, not even just me in general, but designers in general, have this idea of something they want to make and it’s either just not feasible with the materials given to you or it turns out completely different than your original idea,” said Glynn.

This was why some parts of the garments in her senior collection are digitally printed and some parts are hand painted.

“Street wear has a lot of texture,” said Glynn, “and the digital printer wasn’t giving my line the effect I wanted so that’s why I decided to paint it myself.”

But what at first looked like a dead end for Glynn while designing, ended up being the very thing that made her senior line so unique and beautiful, as well a something that differentiates her from other designers.

“I used to want to plan out every aspect, but now the older I’ve gotten, I’ve realized how unrealistic that is because that’s what makes life fun, is the unexpected,” said Glynn.

Glynn was involved in most every aspect of the AMD program throughout her career at Iowa State. She participated in the Fashion Show and Trend Magazine. She said being involved in these things has been essential to her success as a designer leading up to this point.

“I think having that balance of where I was able to be heavily involved and then spend senior year just really focusing on my designs was inspiring for me,” said Glynn.

What keeps Glynn inspired is knowing where she could be in the future.

“I’ve always been a person who has never stopped dreaming or creating since I was a little girl,” said Glynn, “You can’t allow yourself to forget about the magic and having a dream. That sounds really cliché but it’s true and I think sometimes people lose sight of that.”

One day Glynn would like to become the creative director of her own line of clothing and end up moving to London and then Paris at some point.

“But I can’t start there, you know, I have to start at a lower level. I think that’s what I’m constantly reaching for,” said Glynn. 

After she graduates, Glynn plans to move to New York City. Glynn doesn’t have a job going into New York City, but after she gets settled into her new life, she hopes to work for a design company.

“It’s terrifying but I also think it’s one of those thing where we’re so young that I have this idea of what’s out there for me and its so limited, when in reality there are probably so many more things that I could be doing and I’m just unaware of it,” Glynn said.

Glynn’s experience and education at Iowa State has helped her to learn more than she’d ever expected to.

“I’ve loved my experience here at Iowa State and I think the AMD program has a lot to offer. It’s really reassuring and encouraging to know that as a soon-to-be-graduate, I feel very prepared going into the industry,” said Glynn. 

As for advice, Glynn wants everyone to remember, “Don’t quit your daydream because a lot of the time you get caught up in what everyone else is doing and comparing yourself and that’s the hardest lesson you have to learn, is to not compare yourself. Just don’t lose sight of what your dream is because at the end of the day, that was the reason why you started in the first place.”