SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WRBL) – Syracuse University senior Miriam Joyce always knew she wanted to study art, but she didn’t want to be a “starving artist.” She ended up choosing fashion design because she liked getting to incorporate drawing and photography.   

“If I see a really cool sunset and I like the colors, or if I see a really cool carpet somewhere like a floor design or wallpaper, I take a picture of it,” Joyce said. “When I’m looking for stuff to do I’ll try and find some of the photos that are all a similar color scheme or a similar time period of vibe, I’ll put them all together and pick a concept from that.”

The last three years, Joyce took classes to learn how to sketch, sew, work with different fabrics and fit clothes to different sizes. All of this work leads up to designing the senior collection, where she and the other nine students in the major, design and create six outfits to be showcased in an end of year fashion show for friends and family. After graduation, they host a show in New York City for industry professionals.

However, this year, the show will be pre-recorded for a virtual viewing and the students are sharing models instead of choosing their own, in order to keep the group small due to COVID-19.

“It was kind of frustrating because there’s only 10 people in fashion and so part of it was like, ‘Well, why couldn’t we all just have one guest or something?’” Joyce said. “Both my parents have been dreaming about this as long as I have … and I feel like it was sad to think about that they won’t be there to see it too.”

Joyce says having to share models with her classmates is also frustrating because it compromises part of her vision for her collection.

“Trying to find vibes that fit all of ours’ is hard,” Joyce said. “I was originally hoping to be size inclusive and make stuff fit like my friends, like real people, but I just don’t think that’s really happening, which is kind of a bummer.”

Despite missing out on late nights in the Nancy Cantor Warehouse collaborating with her friends like she planned, Joyce wouldn’t have come up with her collection, titled “Deeply Rooted,” without the pandemic.

“I felt like I was so tired of wearing sweatpants and sweatshirts around my house and then having to throw a nice shirt on for a Zoom,” Joyce said. “I felt like I was constantly not knowing what to wear.”

She noticed that more people were going on hikes or outside to social distance, which inspired the colors and fabrics. Joyce wanted her clothes to be eco-friendly, so she picked out natural and comfortable lounging fabrics, such as linens. Over winter break, she bought white linen and dyed it in her garage using plant and fruit-based dyes.

“I felt like in the nature of the pandemic and everything, it was like a DIY time, so I felt like it fit,” Joyce said.

The eco-friendly aspect was important to her because Joyce hopes to work for a clothing brand that focuses on sustainability.

“It’s pieces that last a while and can be worn multiple different places versus just a shirt you buy and wear once,” she said.

“Deeply Rooted” includes three dresses, a pair of culottes pants with a button-down shirt, a tank top with a knit sweater and a ballet wrap skirt with a long-sleeve crop top.