Elias Gutierrez ’09 works behind the scenes, but his work is hardly hidden.
He designs a high-profile line of dresses in the Garment District of New York City. He freelances for Kleinfeld Bridal, made famous by TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress” television series. As an intern, he created the jerseys worn by the big-headed presidential mascots who entertain during Washington Nationals baseball games.
“It’s [all] theatre. It’s something different every day,” says Elias, whose résumé bullet points for designing and creating far outnumber his years of professional experience. “It’s not every day you get to make a giant fruit for a commercial.”
Or the bobblehead likeness of controversial Iran President Mahmud Ahmajinedad — that one landed him on the cover of the New York Times.
The graphic design major produces a line of dresses for Mon Cheri Bridals in his main gig as associate designer. A costume design minor, Elias cut his teeth cutting cloth in the theatre department.
Today, he dreams up and sketches dress designs inspired by trendy pieces with ultra-expensive price tags out of reach for most.
“It’s not by any means a knockoff,” Elias says. “The goal is to make a luxury item that doesn’t break the bank.”
Elias studies hundreds of photos and hours of footage to come up with a design for, say, a wedding dress based on the threads Kate Middleton wore to her royal nuptials with Prince William.
Those specs are sent to China where cloth mockups called “muslins” are created and mass produced after tweaking.
Elias says his success has firm roots in Oswego’s theatre program, where professors Kitty Macey and Judy McCabe nurtured his talents.
“I had really close relationships with my professors,” he says. “That’s the kind of [program] they’ve set up: The Theatre Department is like a family.”