Student Spotlight: Theadora Iacobellis
Major: Fashion Studies
Theadora Iacobellis has a passion for fashion.
That may sound like a cliché, but Iacobellis has shown her creative side since she was a child, when some of her favorite activities were drawing and coloring.
“I would spend my summer days outside doing sidewalk chalk drawings. On occasion I even took my easel outside to paint pictures of the nearby prairie path and my neighborhood,” she said. “I enjoyed taking pictures everywhere I went. I relished performing in plays and puppet shows. I would orchestrate a whole play, make tickets, pick out the loveliest costume and perform in front of my fireplace for family and friends.
“When I was in fifth grade and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I responded by saying a fashion designer. My mom introduced me to fashion at a very young age. When I was a baby I wore bows and flowers in my hair that were as big as my head. As a toddler, I never left the house without accessories. Growing up, my style ranged from frilly dresses and shiny loafers to overalls and work boots. I loved dressing up at every opportunity and going out. And Audrey Hepburn is my absolute favorite fashion icon. She was glamorous, sophisticated and classy. She was someone I aspired to be.”
Iacobellis’ love of fashion and style hasn’t change as an adult. She enrolled in the Fashion Studies program at College of DuPage and enjoyed every moment of it.
“I have dreamt of being a fashion designer my whole life, but I never could have imagined I would be this far,” she said. “When I started in the program, I didn’t even know how to thread a machine. I have since learned how to sew numerous stitches, drape a whole garment from a piece of fabric, and illustrate future garments I want to create. I look forward to the future with an open mind and an eager will to learn. I have made everlasting friends, developed bonds with teachers, and found who I wanted to be in the process.”
In fall 2016, Iacobellis and her fellow students had the opportunity to work with College of DuPage alumna Peach Carr, who was featured on the hit reality TV show “Project Runway” during Season 8 and All Stars Season 2. Carr worked with students and then headed a jury that selected items from submitted work to be shown during the annual student fashion show.
Iacobellis had two garments selected, and it was the culmination of her work with a successful fashion designer.
“In our first meeting together, Peach was kind, friendly and funny,” she said. “Talking to her was like I had known her for years. Peach exudes a confidence and a love for both fashion and her work. Throughout the process, she was open to everyone’s ideas and never, ever put us down.
“Each trip that Peach made to the fashion department, I had the chance to talk to her and get her input on my garments. She never once discouraged me. Instead she motivated me and my peers, offered solutions and encouraged us to pursue whatever our hearts desired. I started looking for inspiration everywhere I went, designing sketches and making frequent trips to vogue fabric. Throughout this journey, I went completely outside of my element patterning designs I had never chosen before, using draping and couture techniques totally new to me, and finally choosing fabrics that were different and difficult to work with. I did not know how or if it would work, but I created the best garments I have ever designed and just had fun with it. From where I started to where I am now, I become a new designer and person.”
Iacobellis earned two associate degrees – in Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising – and a certificate in Fashion Entrepreneurship. She has transferred to Elmhurst College, where she is majoring in business because she wants her career to focus on shoes.
“I hope to become a shoe designer calling my shoes ‘Theadoras’ and open my own boutique,” she said. “I want to create beautiful works of art, each being as individual as the person wearing them. I will be giving the customer a little piece of me to take with them. My motto is: I want to change the world one shoe at a time!
“I also hope to travel the world and see fashions from all over. From Ireland to London to Paris, there is so much history to learn and fashions to observe. Whatever the future holds, I intend to take a world that is black and white and add my own color.”
Although Iacobellis loved fashion from an early age, she wasn’t sure what to do in the fashion world. College of DuPage has changed that.
“It has been a long process, but I am literally living my dream,” she said. “COD gave me the opportunity to grow at my own pace and find out what I really wanted to do with my life. If you were to tell me a few years ago this is where I would be, I would have never believed it.
“I would tell students considering COD and the Fashion Studies program to do it! It’s going to be hard, scary and challenging, especially if you’re going into the program with no experience whatsoever like I did. You will laugh, cry and poke your fingers with pins on a daily basis. Eventually, days will come and go, and you will learn more than you realize. The reward comes in the end when you see your garment on the runway for the very first time. You will recall every stitch of that piece and there is no emotion to describe the sensations you will feel.”
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