The three mannequins in the window at Maine College of Art (MECA) are eye catching and producing lots of smiles from those who walk past the window display of their designer: Meet Jackiellen Bonney
Jackiellen, a fashion and textile design senior at MECA, enjoys watching the expressions of people walking past her window display on Congress Street, she told this blogger late last week in the lobby of the oldest arts educational institute in Maine. The expressions are fun because they are usually big grins and looks of surprise at the creativity involved in their production.
Made from yarn, Jackiellen created these stunning dresses on manual knitting machines available to her at school. These machines date back to the 1950s. Although they are dated she prefers to use them over the newer industrial grade machines of today because she has a lot more control over the product than with the new electronic machines of today. The newer knitting machines are expensive and usually only available at the larger fashion schools in New York City and elsewhere.
Jackiellen’s goal is to combine fiber arts with couture garments – a goal charmingly displayed in her current exhibition which stays up until Saturday, October 14, 2017.
An inspiration for her creativity is Lee Alexander McQueen – a British designer, known for “pushing the boundaries of what design is.” His fashion shows were much more than a walk on the cat walk. They were performances. Performances that always were anticipated because of the surprises that accompanied them. Lee was known for his hard-work and dedication to his art as well as for his creativity. So it came as a shock to his many admirers when he committed suicide seven years ago. That included the very gracious Jackiellen.
Upon graduation next spring, Jackiellen has already been hired. She will be working full-time at Wallace James Clothing Co., Cove Street. This new company is a fashion producer that serves a wide variety of otherwise unmet needs in the industry in northern New England. It was founded by Kim Ortengren who has vast experience in design in Boston and elsewhere on the east coast. Jackiellen will be utilizing her skills as a seamstress – a skill she learned from her single mom who is an accomplished seamstress. Jackiellen has an older sister who just began her career as a kindergarten teacher in southern Maine as well.
“My mom was pleased that I found a job to go to right after graduation,” said Jackiellen, a Maine native, grinning. “I won’t be going home to live with her after graduation!”