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Name:  Lisbeth Arias
Grad Year: 2014
Major: Fashion Textile Design, concentration in Fashion Design and minor in Design Studies
Hometown: San Salvador, El Salvador

Señorita Lisbeth Arias is one of the most passionate people that you will ever have the chance to meet here at NC State.  She is part of the first class of the fashion textile design major, a new program offered here at NC State that partners with the College of Textiles and the College of Design, a Caldwell Fellow, a member of the Latin Dance Team, Sube, and is always looking for more ways to help the community and her home, El Salvador.  In this interview, Lisbeth talks about her studio projects, her passions, and her plans for helping create a better future for others.

Tell me about the projects you are currently working on for school?
“I am currently working on my final project for my studio class.  The project assignment is to concentrate on form and to develop a silhouette that doesn’t depend on the body for structure.  Also we were to choose an inspiration from nature.  My inspiration is from the beta fish; the colors of the scales and the shape of the body and fins inspired me.  The design of my dress is asymmetrical, with the top layered in “scales” and the skirt is made with wire and tool to create body.  Now this is only the prototype we have to turn in next week, so this means that after our teachers and peers have given us feedback we are to recreate the entire dress over for the final.  After I complete the prototype I have to create two story boards for my presentation explaining my decision process of how I chose my inspiration, why I chose this type of design, and convey the meaning of my creation.  Preparing the story boards and perfecting my dress are very important because during my presentation I am not allowed to speak because my product must speak for me.  This is the hardest part because you have to use pictures, sketches, and your product to show just how hard you worked on your product and why your inspiration is important to you as a designer.”

Wow!  Are you participating in any fashion design events outside of school?
“Yes!  I am hoping to be picked to participate in the fashion event, Cotton Couture, which is taking place in early December.  I am working with another fashion textile design major to complete three products to be considered to showcase.  We have to submit our completed products this week and they decide if we make the show and if we make it that far we have to work on more products to complete our line.  We are creating two complete pieces, a shirt and then a dress with a jacket.  Buying the supplies for creating our products can be very expensive so we went to the Goodwill and bought clothes to use for the fabric in our pieces!”

Please tell me, what is a Caldwell Fellow?
“Well you apply to be a Caldwell Fellow after your freshmen at NC State and if you receive the scholarship it helps pay for your tuition and a stipend for participating in or planning service projects.  There are twenty people in my class and we are like family!  The Caldwell Fellows are a group of passionate students working for social change.  Our motto is to be a “servant leader” in that we must learn and serve before we can lead.  We also want to create relationships with the people and places we visit.  Our goal isn’t to complete our service project and then leave and never come back, we want to develop partnerships to continue to learn about different cultures and providing our service!
I am really passionate about helping the people in my country, El Salvador, and just raising awareness in Latin America.  I love my country but I know they have a lot of troubles.  I would really like to reach out to the female community there, especially single women, and teach them to support themselves by teaching them the skills to sew.  They are known for their weaving talents so these two skills aren’t too different.  With these skills, women will be able to create their own small businesses.  They could then use this money to pay for their children’s education because there isn’t public education available in El Salvador, only private institutions.  I want my country to become a safe place to live and the people there to be successful.”

What other activities do you participate in around campus?
“I am a member of Sube Ritmo, the Latin Dance Team here at NC State.  We learn and practice traditional Hispanic dances like salsa, meringue, and bachata.  My favorite thing about Sube is that it is not exclusive and is open to all different types of people. The only requirement is that you have a passion for learning to dance and we love teaching new members!  Every month we have an open studio night where we invite anyone that is interested to come out and learn new dance moves.  Our next Sube workshop is November 16 from 6-8pm on the second floor of the Carmichael Recreation center.  We would love for anyone that is interested to come out and join us!  We also participate in various campus dance performances that focus on promoting culture awareness.  I love Sube because of all the different people it brings together from across cultures and the university.”

What are your plans for after graduation?
“I almost can’t even think that far!  Staying involved in the community here and in El Salvador is very important to me.  Embracing my Hispanic culture is very important to me and I want to help people anyway that I can.  I have so many ideas for my future plans that I don’t think I’ll be able to chose just one!  My first idea for after graduation is to work on improving self-esteem in young women.  I want to change the concept of beauty by providing a boutique that works with the customer on picking out the right style and fit of clothing so that everyone can love their clothes and themselves.  Another idea that I have is to be a teacher for an apparel development class.  I want students to have a class during their school day were they can release stress through creativity.  I would love to teach fashion, textile, and design skills and encourage young people to express themselves regularly.  My final idea for my future (as of right now) is to become an international buyer.  My goal as an international buyer wouldn’t be to find the cheapest fabrics or to support child labor but to buy from small businesses around the world!  Sort of a fair trade concept but for fabrics and textiles!  This would create diversity in the fashion industry and also support families and others who work so hard for their locally owned businesses.  As I said before, this is seems very far off but whatever I do I want to be making a positive difference in the world.”


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