Passion for Fashion

Stevenson junior combines fashion, film and communication on campus to build her future
Phoebe Zaranski models one of her Halloween creations, complete with vampire fangs, in the Kevin Manning Academic Complex at Stevenson University.
Phoebe Zaranski models one of her Halloween creations, complete with vampire fangs, in the Kevin Manning Academic Complex at Stevenson University.
Emily Fox

The needle quickly pierces the fabric of her long red dress as she methodically guides the fabric through her fingers for a perfect finishing touch. Phoebe Zaranski is finishing her final dress in her Special Topics of Knitwear class at Stevenson University.

Some at Stevenson may recognize Phoebe for her unique and different outfits she wears every day.

“Here people very much understand this is who I am; they appreciate me for it, in the sense of they appreciate this is a part of me and they’re not going to judge me for it because they know this is what I like,” Phoebe said. “Stevenson has very much uplifted me and kind of helped me appreciate who I am.”

Her roommate, Rachel Martin, agrees.

“She would challenge herself to wear different things and see how to style a certain garment or piece of clothing every single day. And she would never wear the same thing twice,” Rachel said.

Junior Phoebe Zaranski works on a design in the fashion studio in the Kevin Manning Academic Complex. (Emily Fox)

Phoebe is a junior business communication and fashion design double major at Stevenson University, as well as a member of the honor’s program. Phoebe serves as the event coordinator for the film club and is a member of the Fashion Apparel and Design (FAD) club at Stevenson University.

Over 100 billion items of clothing are produced each year, however Stevenson junior, Phoebe, prefers to make her own.

“Not only is she wearing all these different clothes, in very unique and different ways, she’s making more than half of them,” Rachel said. “If she needs something for a certain outfit, she’ll just make it.”

As her roommate, Rachel gets a behind the scenes look at the unique compositions.

“Through being friends with her and knowing how other people know her as the girl with the crazy outfits, I think it’s really cool knowing how much thought goes into it.” Rachel said.

Sitting in the second-floor art exhibit located in the Stevenson Manning Academic Center, houses Phoebe’s 2023 exhibit titled Out of the Box. Using a polyester organza, latex, and spandex blend, she encapsulates what defines her as a person, and an artist.

A long black dress sits under blobs of paint, as Phoebe symbolizes how art helps her define herself.

“I wanted to create an overall look that looks like a normal, black dress underneath, but for it’s true uniqueness to come through in its color, paint-like, and artistic qualities,” Phoebe wrote.

Phoebe plays a huge role in not only the fashion program at Stevenson, but the film department as well. In the fall of 2022, Phoebe was asked to be costume designer for Zach Garrigus’ 2023 film, The Search for Alexander. She received a profile on IMDB for her work on this film.

“It was so cool to conduct my first real fitting” Phoebe said. “Everyone kind of knows each other and we all kind of work together.”

Not only has Phoebe done work for Stevenson films, but she has also worked with the company DBM Films located in Towson, Maryland.

Not only is she wearing all these different clothes, in very unique and different ways, she’s making more than half of them.

— Rachel Martin

For this, she has gotten the chance to work in the fashion industry as far as Houston, Texas, when DBM Films invited her to be head of the wardrobe department for a movie titled The American Miracle, a film showcasing significant events in America’s history.

“The scene was with all of the founding fathers. I was picking out outfits for all of our people to wear so it was more like getting to dress everybody and doing alterations on the spot. My hotel room was lined with clothes,” Phoebe said.

While recalling her work she did in Texas, Phoebe touches on one of her favorite parts of being in the fashion industry.

“Being able to have small talk with people, and hearing where all these people are coming from and their different stories and stuff, that was definitely my favorite part. I loved getting to talk to everybody.”

As big of a love for fashion that Phoebe has, she has a great deal of knowledge on the industry. One of the largest issues in the fashion industry is fast fashion.

“Be aware of why you’re buying it. Some people can’t help that’s the only option for them. But if you’re buying it just because it is cheaper, understand that it is going to fall apart, understand you don’t need to get it from that source or support that source. Also understand that thrifting is a thing, and you can still find something cute and fun. Be cautious and understand why you’re supporting the fast fashion that you are,” Phoebe said.

Phoebe Zaranski shows off her completed design. (Emily Fox)

Phoebe is currently working as a costume designer for films by Stevenson senior film and moving image major Devin Maldonado, senior film and moving image major Brendan Hylton, and senior film and moving image major Lee Render. These films will debut in spring of 2024.

Not only has Phoebe traveled around the United States doing what she loves, but she’s following her passion, spreading a positive message, and raising awareness for serious issues in the fashion world all at the same time, making her a prominent member of Stevenson’s community.

Phoebe speaks highly of the Stevenson community that allows her to be herself and dress outside the normal.

She inspires those around her with unique compositions every day, encouraging others to do what they love.

“Do what you want, don’t base it off of anyone else,” she said.

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