Colleen Moretz, instructor of Fashion Design, loves a creative challenge - whether it involves integrating technology into the design process or incorporating sustainable practices to create ethical fashion prototypes.
Moretz has lectured extensively on the subject of fashion and sustainability at symposiums at the University of Minnesota.
“My focus is on thinking about value and repurposing something,” Moretz said. “In our society, we don’t value our clothing and workmanship enough. There is this emphasis on ‘fast fashion’ or ‘throw away fashion.’”
Moretz is also interested in the transformative relationship between idealized body form, silhouette and socializing fashion and discipline.
This past summer, she presented her corset design, Transparente Pannier, at “Project IMA: Cutting Loose,” a national runway show at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The event featured designers from around the country who were asked to take inspiration from an exhibit that featured designers who challenge the conventional, idealized body.
Moretz currently teaches in the Fashion Departments at both the University of Delaware and Immaculata University. She has a BS in Textile, Design and Consumer Economics from UD and an MFA in Visual Arts from Marywood University. As part of her MFA thesis, Moretz polled creative and technical designers and fashion and apparel industry leaders about what skill sets were needed for an entry-level creative and technical design position.
“I wanted to have a handle on the industry and where it was going,” she said. “I found that companies are looking for a varied skill set and technology is the biggest thing. But soft skills are also important, like presenting your work and being able to work with other people.”
Moretz enjoys teaching these skills to senior Fashion Design students at Moore as they prepare their portfolios and work on their senior collections. She likes giving students exposure to the industry through field trips, business partnerships and entrance into design competitions.
Moretz recently sponsored Moore alumna Tara Higgins ’15 in entering two of her fashion designs into this year’s International Textile and Apparel Association Exhibition, where Higgins won a major award.
She also organized students to volunteer at NYC Fashion Week this past September, where students gained greater familiarity with the processes involved in producing and hosting a live fashion show.
Moore had been on Moretz’ radar for several years before she started working at the College in 2013. She had attended fashion shows and accompanied students to design competitions held at Moore.
“There was something about the College that always resonated with me,” she said. “When I got my MFA and wanted to get back into teaching, this is where I wanted to work.”
She began by taking a refresher course in CAD through Moore’s Continuing Education program, which led to her teaching in the Fashion Studies Certificate Program. She continues to do so today, along with her teaching in the BFA program.
Moretz began her career as a fashion designer and owner of Colleen’s Couture. Her company’s first design contract was with the well-known DuPont Company. She created an exclusive line of bridal gowns for an upscale bridal salon that were featured at their bridal fair.
Past creative highlights included creating original designs for Miss Delaware for the Miss America and Miss USA National Pageants. Moretz’ most recent designs have been featured in exhibits at the International Textile and Apparel Association, UD @ Crane in Philadelphia and the Costume Society of America’s annual conferences. She has produced and choreographed countless professional fashion shows through the year, including Holidazzle at Longwood Gardens
With all of her accomplishments, Moretz continues to design today, mostly for her herself, not for clients. She said her main focus is teaching and empowering students to reach their full potential as innovative and creative designers.
“I want to prepare my students not only for 21st century career opportunities, but enable them to be visionaries and career changers as well…to design clothing, reform the industry and impact the future.”