Student-Artist Spotlight: Mary Cross

Bryce Parr

From Savage, Minnesota Mary Cross is an apparel design and development major with a minor in retail. After graduating high school, Cross spent time attending Normandale Community College, working and traveling before choosing to attend the University of Wisconsin-Stout for fashion.

Q: What sparked your interest in art and/or design?

A:  Art and design both have just been something I’ve always done.  I began drawing as soon as I could pick up a pencil. For me it was a way to bring ideas to life – something I still love about design today.  I think I really got into designing clothes as a kid when I noticed that my dolls had cooler clothes than I did – so I began drawing the clothes I wanted to have.  Alas, my dolls clothes are still cooler than mine now.

Q: What styles or mediums do you prefer?

A: I love pens and doing nice linework.  That’s been my main go-to. I also like using the Adobe programs, especially Photoshop and Illustrator.  Combining the two mediums is what I do on the reg for apparel design. I personally believe a strong designer is proficient at both hand and computer design, but that is not always necessary.

Q: Do you take influence from any artists or designers in particular?

A: This could be a long list.  I am influenced by people’s work but also their work ethic or just how they styled themselves or carried themselves as a person.  I’d have to say, David Bowie, Debbie Harry, Nana Osaki, Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, River Phoenix, Yayoi Kusama, Monkey D. Luffy–the list goes on.

Q: Are there any projects that stood out to you during your time at Stout?

A: I had a coat project for an Advanced Pattern class, and it didn’t turn out as crisp as I would have liked.  So, over winter break, I used the leftover mossy green faux fur from that project to make a different jacket. The new jacket was reversable and had a gilded brocade lining. Now that jacket was crisp. I decided to put it in last year’s fashion show, and it won the “Best Underclassmen Designer” award that show.

The project I’m currently wrapping up was also huge for me. It is my senior capstone, and I’ve been building a collection that was inspired by a very personal topic.  The collection is called “Adverse Reaction,” which is the unwanted side effect of a prescription medication. It explores the effects on the mind overtime, and how easy it is to not even realize you have a problem until you break.  Humans are both very fragile and strong, but I believe in order to be stronger you must admit your weaknesses – that builds courage, which builds strength which builds success. That’s really the core message of this collection.

Q: Have you done any internships or projects outside of academia?

A: I interned at this small but growing company outside of Madison called DSG Outerwear.  They make women’s hunting and snowmobile gear. I learned a ton about the technical, creative and manufacturing of apparel as well as the challenges of running a small business.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: Work for a few years as an assistant designer.  The fashion/apparel industry is one where, unless you know the right people, you need to work your way up.  My plan, alongside of work, is to create side projects for myself, read some of these books I’ve collected over the years, go camping, travel, play video games, or do any of the things I haven’t had time for!