Eileen O’Brien has over twenty years of professional experience in film festivals as well as production in independent and studio films, network and cable television programs. She is currently a program consultant and guest interviewer for the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival as well as a production and festival freelancer and actress.
What kind of impact does fashion have on you personally? Fashion has always been my personal artistic sanctuary, giving me a way to express myself throughout my life and career. I started making my own clothes at seven years old when my mother taught me to use her sewing machine! Since that time, regardless of what I was doing in my life, fashion was the way for me to create an image, make an artistic statement or support my role in the world. I truly believe that fashion is art. In 1972 when the legendary fashion arbiter Diana Vreeland, was appointed special consultant at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, I felt that the idea of FASHION AS ART was sealed! Seeing great fashion gives me such joy and continues to give me as much (if not more!) pleasure as when viewing any fine art exhibit.
As a judge, what are you looking for in a winning design? As technical judge, I will be excited to see the way that each team makes fashion while keeping true to the important but difficult design criteria. I am a particularly big fan of the Project Runway “unconventional materials” challenges. I am so excited to see what these wonderful, artistic teams will do with a 90% paper challenge!
ADCD supports art education programs for the youth, how do you feel that this increases their connection to our community? As the Director of the Scholarship program for the Denver Film Society’s Young Filmmakers Workshops for the last seven years – a program that teaches filmmaking to 12-18 year olds, it has been my passion and belief that helping young people to find their artistic expression is the most important thing you can do as a professional. I believe that young people find themselves and their connection to the world through artistic expression and it is imperative that all art based organizations help as much as possible to find their way. Congrats to ADCD for this initiative!
Are there any specific designs you are hoping to see on the runway? My birthday party is always some version of “The Mad Hatters Tea Party.” So, I personally love the more “fantastical” designs. But having lived in France for five years, I also appreciate the beauty of classical, chic and simple designs. (Coco Chanel is my fashion muse!)
Why is being a judge at the Paper Fashion Show important to you? As a person who believes fashion is art, it is so important to me that I support and invest in art, especially when it is in service to young people, their creations and future. The Paper Fashion Show and the ADCD are a big part of that mission in Denver! It is so important that we keep the art coming and make sure to highlight and award creative productions. That being said, I feel judging at the Paper Fashion Show is one of the great honors of my life at this time.
The technical judge looks over all the fashions before the show to verify that more than 90% of the design is comprised of paper supplied by Veritiv out of the chosen swatch book and no more than 10% of the design is made of non-paper materials or art papers.
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