Jillian: The Edible Outfit

Jillian Lewis explains her love/hate relationship with Twizzlers.

What did you think when Tim brought you into the Hershey store in Times Sq.?
I felt immediately that this was an opportunity to be really creative. Plus, I love candy.

Have you ever worked with such "fabric" before?
I have never made clothing for humans out of food but when I was 17, I made a collection out of fruits and vegetables which were modeled by Barbie. The work was extremely tedious and would wilt after about 7-8 hours, so I would photograph the work just before time would run out. This collection scored me a 5 (out of 5) on my AP art exam, helped me get into Parsons, and was featured in Newsdays "from linen to lettuce". jillian_406_05_320x240.jpg

Did you know right away you wanted to make yours edible?
Yes. I felt that it was what the challenge deserved. How could I be given an assignment to use materials from the Hersheys store and avoid the candy? I was really surprised that I was the only one who was willing to go in that direction. Even though I struggled, I don't regret the decision to make my outfit edible.

How worried were you that you wouldn't be able to finish?
To be honest, I thought that I wouldn't finish in time and that the competition was over for me. I kept fighting for it, I didn't want to get eliminated. jillian_406_03_320x240.jpg

How great that your model could sew! How happy were you?
It was helpful that Lauren pitched in with her hand sewing abilities but more than anything, her presence changed my mood which was a huge relief. She has this amazing youthful energy and she distracted me from the misery that I was feeling before she showed up.

What did you think of the other designers' work?
There was some great designs with unconventional materials but as a whole, the group of work was disappointingly very brown. Rami and I were the only ones who used color and thats likely why we stood out from the rest.

What were your thoughts on having Zac Posen as guest judge?
Initially, I wasn't as excited as when I saw Donna Karan. He is fairly new in the fashion industry and not yet legendary. Though, during the critique, I found his comments to be extremely intelligent. I was incredibly impressed by him. I think he is one of the best American designers right now.


Were you surprised at all with how positive the response to your garment was, after all the trouble you had?
I loved the design of my dress from the very beginning. The problem was the execution. As soon as Lauren exited the runway, nothing falling off the dress, I knew it was possible that Id be on the top. I was, though, surprised... REALLY SURPRISED that I pulled it off.

What do you think ultimately put Rami's garment at the top?
Rami's dress was colorful and was full of energy. His model looked perfect from head to toe. I loved his dress so much... I would wear it just as it is.


Finally, of course, what's your favorite Hershey's candy?
Really, my favorite Hersheys candy is twizzlers. I swore off of them after my wild struggle. When I was standing up on the runway with my model during the deliberation, the lights were very hot. I could smell the twizzlers melting. It was both appetizing and nauseating... strange but true... I thought that memory would have destroyed my love for twizzlers but as time has passed I am completely over it. Oh the trauma!!

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