ISU fashion design professor’s dress will be on display in design exhibition at LSU

The College of Technology’s own Joyce Robinson recently wove a dress that was accepted for display at Louisiana State University’s museum in the Traje: Mayan Textile Artistry Creative Design Exhibition. Professor Robinson, a fashion design professor in the Textiles, Apparel, and Merchandising program, who recently received the Charlotte Zietlow Women Faculty Research Award in 2019, also organizes an annual fashion show, where the public is able to see students’ projects. “The inspiration was to create a dress design using minimal seams and to hand weave the fabric with color stripes predetermined with bold stripes reminiscent of Mayan designs,” said Robinson. “It took about 40 hours to weave the fabric, and probably another 40 to develop and construct the dress. In total around 80 hours.” 

In order for the dress to be considered for display at Louisiana State University’s museum exhibit, Robinson had to submit front and back view images of the dress and compose an abstract that detailed both the dress’s inspiration and development process. Experts in Mayan culture reviewed the submission and clothing design and ultimately decided that Robinson’s dress was suitable for the exhibit. 

“This is great for the College and ISU,” said College of Technology Dean Nesli Alp. “Dr. Robinson is a multi-talented faculty, who is a great teacher, program coordinator and community liaison for our College.” Dean Alp said the College of Technology has “unique” faculty. “Most of them have years of industry experience and bring real-world experience in their courses, which is very valuable for our students.” 

Robinson regularly practices many skills other than just dress-weaving. Some include creating fabric through felting, dying fabric, using various embellishment techniques for creating surface designs on fabric, embroidery, air brush, silk screen, direct painting, applique and fabric folding to add details to clothing. 

“Designing is a passion for me,” she said. “I really enjoy teaching others how to create the visions they have. Creating garments like this one helps me to practice my skills, develop new skills and inform me of dress in other cultures, historical practices and future trends. This allows me to keep learning and pass what I am learning on to my students.” 

For advice for anyone interested in fashion design, Robinson says, “Come take classes with me in Textiles, Apparel, and Merchandising. Learn how to sew and keep practicing, [as] this is a skill that improves as you do more and learn more.”  Robinson’s dress will be on display in the Traje: Mayan Textile Artistry Creative Design Exhibition at Louisiana State University until May 15, 2021. “It’s not as simple as they make it seem on ‘Project Runway,’” she added.