When Isabela Wilson ‘19 was a sophomore at Oakcrest, she thought she wanted to pursue a career as a pediatrician. But as she continued to explore and develop her passions alongside the guidance of Oakcrest teacher, Ms. Victoria Bigliano, she ultimately chose to pursue a very different track - fashion design.
Now a senior at Drexel University majoring in fashion design and minoring in art history, Isabela is finishing her senior collection of women’s evening wear, titled “Amor Redemit.”
“(The collection) takes inspiration from Renaissance art, specifically Botticelli’s La Primavera (The Spring), and the luxury, decadence, and regalness of that era’s costume history,” Isabela explains.
Following graduation, Isabella hopes to work in art or costume history, with her aspiration to become a historical costuming consultant.
Ms. Bigliano recently invited Isabela to share her Drexel fashion design senior project with an arts appreciation class at Oakcrest.
"When she was in my class, Isabela had strong research and analysis skills,” Ms. Bigliano said. “Art requires interpretation on many levels but strong students also bring context and evidence to the works they are discussing. I saw this again in Bela's work when she presented her Senior Project from Drexel University.”
While at Oakcrest, Isabela said she was grateful for the mentorship and expertise of her teachers, who helped guide her then and still continue to do so now.
“Ms. Bigliano was my Senior Thesis advisor and helped me so much with discerning what I should study in college,” Isabela said. “It was in her AP art history class that I discovered and cultivated my love of art history. Ms. Ginny Boles was my mentor during high school and continues to be my mentor to this day… Mrs. Lisa Kenna’s freshman English class was so influential in nurturing my love of mythology, literature, and writing. She was so supportive of my abundant enthusiasm. Dr. Kathleen Sullivan’s English classes my sophomore and junior year challenged me to read literature that I would not have read on my own, and helped me develop my writing skills in a way that has helped me through high school and college.”
While a student, Isabela also was a co-captain on the swim team, participated in theatre productions both on-stage and off-stage, and sang in the Oakcrest chorus. For the Upper School Theatre Production of The Wizard of Oz in 2019, she designed, ordered, and organized all 103 of the show’s costumes. Isabela was a member of the English Honor Society and the National Honor Society.
For the capstone of her Oakcrest education, the Senior Thesis, Isabela explored the topic, “From Corsets to Crop Tops: World Events, Women’s Place in Society and the Human Quest for Freedom and Their Impact on the American Woman’s Fashion Industry.” This allowed her to not only reflect on her Oakcrest education, but also push forward into her chosen field of study in college, fashion design.
As to how the liberal arts education at Oakcrest formed her as a person and prepared her for life beyond the Oakcrest walls, Isabela says the work ethic that was instilled in her has been priceless.
“The way English classes taught me to write, not just how to use the right words, but how to create a strong structure and argument, has served me incredibly well. Oakcrest also taught me how to think critically, ask good questions, and have meaningful discussions--not just about literature or science, but everything,” she said. “Oakcrest helped me to learn more about myself and grow into the person I am today. This self knowledge has helped me develop and cultivate my personal aesthetic throughout design school into one that is truly representative of my whole self.”