When Verity Gordon saw her first show at New York Fashion week in 2014, she hoped that one day she would be able to show her own creations at a world-famous event.
“I was an observer and I was inspired,” Gordon, 20, said in relation to that Fashion Week show two years ago.
She didn’t have to wait long to make it to the big stage. Gordon, a resident of West Windsor, will be showcasing “Historica,” featuring her red carpet wear at this year’s Small Boutique Fashion Week, on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Metropolitan Pavilion on 125 W. 18th St. in New York.
Small Boutique Fashion Week, now in its 10th season, is a runway show and market during New York Fashion week that focuses on small business owners and emerging designers who show their works to small boutiques and unique shops.
A 2014 graduate of High School North, Gordon attended Mercer County Community College as a student in the fashion design program. Active in the school’s first college fashion show, she was awarded the GAP scholarship towards her fashion studies. She was a finalist in the New Jersey Fashion Week Young Designers Contest in 2015.
Gordon, who graduated from MCCC in May with an associate of applied science, received highest honors and has been written about in the college’s magazine. She is now enrolled in Moore College of Art & Design as a junior with a major in fashion design and has plans to do at least one internship either in fashion marketing or costuming.
Gordon said he Fashion Week show will eight gowns and a bustier corset top with palazzo pants. They are all formal garments of the red-carpet variety.
“The theme is based historically,” Gordon said. “Think Greek and Roman goddesses with beading, feathers, lace and expensive fabrics. I am using vibrant jewel tones and each gown is a single color scheme.”
Gordon will not meet most of her models until the day of the show, but has an idea of the types of models she wants to wear her garments.
“I have the philosophy of inclusion and ethnic diversity, so I have requested a mix of ethnicities,” she said. “I also care that women of all types and sizes get to dress fabulously and that models do not have to be willow thin and six feet tall.”
“I really want to help real women feel good about themselves even if they are not a model size 2,” she said. “Everyone should have a chance to look and feel pretty.”
The only model she has chosen is Tess Ammerman, an actor based in New Jersey. “She is my muse and I have built my show-stopper gown around her,” Gordon said.
Gordon, who has been working in the alterations department at David’s Bridal, took the summer off to prepare for Fashion Week. She says she has learned to do most things in the store. “I continue to visit with them and keep them up to date on the collection,” she said. “They have been especially supportive and understanding.”
Gordon was a student at The Lewis School of Princeton, and she and her brother, Andrew, were in a production at McCarter Theatre, which is where first became interested in costume design.
“I found I was more interested in the clothing aspect of plays than the acting, and unlike my brother, who is a classically trained actor now, I couldn’t stand the constant rejection of auditions,” she said. “I’ve always been known for drawing, because it was a good outlet for me when I used to struggle with dyslexia, and I love the creativity.”
She said when was at The Lewis School, she would draw rather than describe or write. “I hated reading and writing, but since attending there I don’t have too much trouble expressing myself and I love books,” she said. Gordon has learned to work around issues that include being easily distracted.
“As a visual learner, I tend to express myself through drawings,” she said. “Pattern making is more mathematical and I’m quite good with numbers, and because I’m drafting my own patterns, I know what I intended. There’s not much reading involved.”
Her mother, Jill, is the school nurse at St. Ann’s School in Lawrenceville; her father, Neil, is a project manager at Novartis. Jill also helps her daughter with beading on her designs — all 15,000 crystal beads. Gordon also talks about her mother’s “Herculean beading that she has spent many hours attaching.”
Gordon and her brother were born in Melbourne, Australia. They moved to West Windsor with their parents, who are British, in 2001.
Gordon spent two summers at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City during her high school years at North. “I learned how to better illustrate models, and drape and sew with industrial machines,” she said.
She learned to construct corsets and Tudor clothing for A Man for All Seasons at Kelsey. “It was great to see my sleeves and corsets on stage,” she said. One of her favorite designs was a purple bark-like tweed winter jacket, 1920’s inspired, with a faux red fox fur trim and hood. “When I showed it to prospective colleges more than one professor suggested that I should make it up immediately,” she said.
Her favorite designers include Zac Posen, Vera Wang and Pnina Tornai. She watches Project Runway, Love Lust or Run, and Say Yes to the Dress regularly.
“I am hoping to eventually have my own fashion line but expect I will be working for a fashion house, probably in New York City,” Gordon said. “My passion is for couture evening wear and wedding gowns. I just have to keep challenging myself, work with the best teachers and believe.”
She interned with Kate Pinner at Kelsey Theater while at MCCC. “She is an inspiration to me and has continued to encourage me as I construct my collection, and to provide advice and a second pair of eyes,” said Gordon, who has also been allowed to continue to use the sewing lab at the school after graduation.
“Rather like the painter whose house is the only one not painted, I have and do make clothes for myself but use most of my time to make for others,” she said.
For tickets to this year’s Small Boutique Fashion Week shows, go to smallboutiquefw.com.