Amplify V2I2: @czwizzle
Fashion is in Camille (@czwizzle)’s blood - it's almost like it's what she was born to do. A rising senior fashion design student at Lasell University, self-proclaimed plant lady and all-around creative force, Camille’s love for fashion, sewing and everything in between started from, well, before she was even born.
“It’s always been fashion,” she says. “My parents did work in fashion, not so much anymore, but my mom did fashion design, learned all about it but didn’t do much with it. My dad didn’t take a four year course, but he was working under an apprentice in a tailor shop, so he learned a lot of skills there.” He even made all of the suits and dresses at his wedding. “When I was born, he would make all of my curtains, my bed sheets, everything, he’d make me clothing, he’d make me shoes. So I grew up watching him sew and watching him make things for me, so we definitely bond over that now, I definitely grew up around it,” and she says that her parents were “not surprised at all” when she decided to pursue fashion.
Growing up, she was used to often getting something new for every occasion - it seemed to be part of the holiday tradition. “My family does really big parties every year for like Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving - like those are the big three. And growing up, you’d always get a new dress, you always get new shoes for these occasions.” Now, the challenge for her is using what she already has and making it work for these parties. “How can I change something in my closet to fit the occasion without feeling that guilt to buy a new thing? I think a big part of that has been educating my family, because, being Hispanic, the traditions are definitely different; how do you make them see that it’s not necessary?”
Camille says she really found her way into sustainability after moving out into her own apartment and providing for herself completely. “I think having to be on my own really showed me that there could be a different way - it didn’t have to be something new all of the time, it didn’t have to be these practices that weren’t healthy.”
“I’m thinking about it as something that’s bigger than just my family, like something small that my family can do to have a greater impact, as opposed to keeping a tradition that could be detrimental in the long run.”
From August 2019 to January 2020, Camille studied at the London College of Fashion, where she learned things like corsetry, was inspired by Renaissance-era art and buildings, did styling and put together her own shoots, as well as attending London Fashion Week both as an attendee and helping backstage.
“I can’t believe I was there. I went to shows and also worked backstage, dressing models which is like the scariest thing because they have about fifteen seconds to get into the clothes. I’d totally go again, but it’s like crazy impostor syndrome; but I got the ticket, my name’s on the ticket - it’s just such a fun culture.”
All of her professors taught on the side of their own professional careers in the industry, giving her even more insight and perspective on how to make her goals possible. “It really shows that it’s something that can be done.”
“It wasn’t until I was in London that they really, really pushed [sustainability] and really talked about why it’s important. I think it’s just about staying educated … and then trying to make little changes. I think a complete 180 is hard to adjust to.”
In London, she had the opportunity to visit the Christopher Rayburn studio, where everything is either recycled or remade. “Their puffer jackets are made from old parachutes, but the fill of the puffer jackets is off cuts from the studio floor, which sounds gross, but they’re using all of the off cuts, they’re not wasting anything in making that.”
“We have enough waste. And it’s like sad to me - my friend posted on Facebook recently, she works at a retail store, how in the first day that the store opened, every single customer spent between $100-300. And they were just saying that they don’t actually need the things that they were buying, they just wanted to get out of the house, and that’s… that’s wild to me.
I feel like we have such a big opportunity to make a difference. Before we left [school due to COVID-19] they were talking about how this moment was really gonna be really big in the fashion industry. Like it would be a big blow to fast fashion companies, and really change the way that we see fashion. And to see people just like shopping...like I want to buy new clothes all the time. But I’m not going anywhere, I’m not gonna buy anything. Let’s see if I can really survive without buying anything.”
Camille says that ideally someday, she hopes to mirror Jane Fonda’s sustainability. “Jane Fonda said that she’s not going to buy anything new, and she hasn’t. I would like to get somewhere in that realm. Eventually I would like to not by anything new, which is easier said than done.”
“Of course,” she says, “It’s a little bit hypocritical - I want to design clothes, I want to make clothes. So I think, this phase in my life has been about learning how to merge wanting to be sustainable and still being able to put out content that is engaging and stays true to me.”
“It’s a hard industry to crack open. Ideally after college, I’m gonna get my masters, but after that I’m just hoping to get more experience, I want to work under a designer of some sort. Ideally, I’m going to eventually … have my own fashion house.”
But she says that design internships and experience are more difficult to come by that one might think. Now a senior, the design program has gone from 60 to 13 students in her time at school. “People drop it like flies, it’s wild - it’s very demanding, and you don’t really see the rewards until much later. There’s so much work that goes into it, so much math.”
Camille describes the concept for her senior design project, which will consist of 8 full, head-to-toe looks, as “home.” “For me, my full brand statement on my website is home being something that’s inside of you, home being like your body and clothing. It’s going to be very much based around that.” She says it will start with 100 sketches, honed down and down until the pattern making can begin.
As for her own style and content creation on her platform, she describes it as very editorial. “I think it’s just about being...weird, if that makes sense. It takes me so long to put out something that I actually like, because I try and be so interesting with it. I don’t want to just post a casual outfit. I think a lot of that comes from being in London, because London is so over the top, like super extra. On the street, you just see people in full-on glam and that’s the culture; it’s very much eclectic, so that’s what I try to emulate. London was what I didn’t know I needed.”
Camille’s internships have included many facets of the industry, including marketing at her current internship at Midori Linea. “It’s really interesting because it’s very much based in marketing and like sourcing, funding, doing like promotions and doing a lot of ad work, and that’s been really interesting to learn about.”
After picking up a fashion communications minor inspired from her courses in London, Camille says that her involvement in the Fashion and Styling Club at Lasell, which she’s now the Vice President of, will continue to allow her to plan styling shoots and creating outfits like she did at school in London. “Honestly, I’m like a grandma, I love sewing, I love crafting. If I could be in a knitting circle, I would,” she laughs.
The pandemic may have put a halt to the club’s monthly shoots, but Camille is optimistic for when they are able to have them again. Some of the content that they’ve shot has even been featured in Vogue Italia in the past. “You can submit them to different magazines, because magazines will outsource creative content. I’m really excited to do more shoots." She says while she enjoys taking pictures of herself, styling others is what really inspires her.
Find more from her here.