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What they did next: Oli Carillo

MADWORKSHOP recently teamed up with one of fashion’s most prodigious designers, Jason Wu, to lead a studio at Otis College of Art and Design. In the run-up to NY Fashion Week, Jason offered one particularly standout student, Oli Carillo, an internship. We caught up with them to see how working with Wu has influenced their work and career so far.

What’s the most useful thing you learned in the Jason Wu studio at Otis?

What I learned during my time working with Jason Wu and MADWORKSHOP was how to further understand and process research into design. The project was highly focused on looking at certain historical periods as inspiration, which we then used to aid our own creativity.

Can you talk us through your final piece? What were its inspirations and references?

My final piece was a light salmon pink dress that was inspired by the traditional menswear blazer. I tried finding ways to feminize and modernize a traditional idea, so I created a piece that has a built in dress, a blazer over top, and a floating lapel.

What did you learn by interning with Jason Wu in the run-up to fashion week?

At the JWU offices, we use a lot of old school design techniques, like in-house samples and draping — a lot of craftwork you wouldn’t normally find in-house these days. Because of the methods used at JWU, I’ve learned a lot about what it’s like working with delicate fabrics and how to make various trims.

Besides construction, I’ve also learned what a fashion week is like. The amount of work we put into the collection reminded me of the sleepless nights I’ve experienced in design school. It takes a lot of dedication to work in fashion and I love being able to work in this environment.

What advice would you give to design students?

You should always be open to possibilities, including relocation, and work as hard as you possibly can. Never say no; if you want to do something, even if you don’t know how to do it, say yes. The rest you can figure out as you go. People appreciate dedication.

What does the future hold for you? What would you like to do next?

In the future, I would like the freedom to be able to turn my thoughts into tangible ideas. I’d like my own line eventually — but for now, I would like to work under the guidance of professionals to further build my experience and merit. Hopefully, I’ll end up in a position similar to Jason Wu and other celebrated designers. Becoming a notable American designer is definitely a dream.