From childhood to college dreams: BHS Senior Zoë Crane nurtures lifelong passion for fashion


Crane poses with her models before STRUT 2017. Photo: Kyla Muzzy

Cerella Farinholt

While many high school seniors frantically struggle to define their interests and goals, Zoë Crane has cemented a hopeful vision for her future. Crane, a Senior at Burlington High School and Burlington Technical Center, is a fashion designer.  Her work has been showcased in the Burlington Art Hop’s STRUT fashion show for five consecutive years, and Crane strives towards an education and career in fashion design.

Crane is applying to colleges in Boston and New York City this fall.  She is excited by the possibilities that a cosmopolitan education in fashion design entails.

“I don’t know what specific job I want to have, but I definitely want [to do] more fashion shows in the future”, said Crane when asked about her long-term aspirations.  

Crane has nurtured a lifelong interest in the visual arts, and enjoys working with a wide range of artistic subjects and mediums.  She has extensively explored drawing and painting from a young age.  It was through this creative experimentation that Crane stumbled upon her affinity for fashion design.  

“In fifth grade, I started drawing clothing without the intention of it becoming a lifelong passion,” Crane said. “I liked to draw cool outfits from TV and it just continued from there.”

During the summers following her freshman and sophomore years, Crane studied design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).  At FIT, Crane was able to connect with other young artists, access an abundance of new materials, and expand her technical skills as a designer.

“At FIT, I learned to draw croquis, which are the figures used to sketch designs, really well,” Crane said.  

Crane also enjoyed the more specialized courses that FIT offered.

“My draping course was super fun,” Crane said. “I learned how to make patterns by draping muslin over mannequins, which I never had the opportunity to do on my own.”

Crane seeks inspiration from both the world around her and her personal experiences. Crane’s most recent collection, displayed in the 2017 STRUT fashion show, reflects on her own childhood.

“My latest collection depicts the way I viewed things as a kid, in a simplistic and abstract way,” Crane said.  “It is inspired by how my childhood perspective translated into my early art.  I took my old self portraits and used them to get the ball rolling.”

Zoe Crane smiling after STRUT 2017

In order to convey her vision, Crane crafted her collection with meaningful mediums and techniques.

“I used bright colors because I think they represent childhood nicely”, Crane said.  

She also used new mediums as a way to challenge herself and step outside of her artistic comfort zone.  

“I used clear vinyl because I  wanted to try working with unconventional fabric,” Crane said. “I think it is a cool touch because it kind of represents photo albums and memories.”

Crane views fashion as an invitation for creative influence on society.  

“The fashion industry can inspire people to think outside the box instead of conforming to the trends,” Crane said.  “As designers, we inspire people to have fun with what they wear.”

Senior Emma Sutton,makes an effort to attend STRUT every fall, and says she is consistently awed by Crane’s designs.  

“It’s amazing that someone my age can create such beautiful and professional designs,”  Sutton said.  “After seeing young designers and models at STRUT, I am motivated to up my wardrobe game.”

Rivan Calderin, a model for  Crane’s most recent STRUT collection, also feels empowered by her designs.  

“It was nerve-wracking to walk in front of so many people,” Calderin said.  “However, with the support of my peers in the audience, I felt confident and excited while wearing Zoe’s designs.”

Crane employs her designs as a platform to share her ideas, values, and identity with the world.

“I like that you can, as a designer, explore an idea that you have and turn that idea into a whole line of clothing in a very abstract way that sort of makes sense,”   Crane said.  “I want to make clothes where you can tell I was the one who made them.”