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Cameron Utter Designs To Embody Emotion

A hit Travie McCoy and Sia song, a signature color inspired by Emily Dickinson and a celebration of vibrant emotions all inspired Cameron Utter’s collection “Euphoria Golden.”

Utter is one of the many senior apparel and merchandising students who debuted collections at the 2019 CSU fashion show “XPOSURE” on April 12, but the path to designing his senior capstone collection was entirely his own.

Utter has been interested in fashion for much of his life. Whether it was stealing and wearing his sister’s dresses, making outfits for his childhood dolls or taking a fashion design class in high school, Utter is happy to have his lifelong passion result in something concrete.

“The most rewarding things for me is a balance between two things: finishing a design and making the product,” Utter said. “Finishing the product and the design is iconic to me because seeing the connection between the two and realizing I made this a thing, it’s not an idea in my head anymore. That’s my biggest achievement.”

Utter takes inspiration from many places during the design process, but the concept of “Euphoria Golden” emerged when he was listening to the song “Golden” by Travie McCoy and Sia.

“What’s special about this song is the combination of melody and lyrics and Sia. Anything with Sia always sounds more emotional,” Utter said. “It’s a romantic song. It’s supposed to describe the relationship between a man and a woman, in this case of course. It was describing how the relationship was golden, it was special, it was meant to be, so to speak.”

Sketches of Euphoria Golden collection.
An initial sketch from Cameron Utter’s “Euphoria Golden” collection hangs on a display board outside the design studios in the Gifford building April 8, 2019. Sketches drawn Cameron Utter. (Johanna Fortescue | College Avenue)

After further exploring the meaning of the word golden and finding synonyms like gleaming, lustrous, youthful and vigorous, Utter began to form ideas of a formal eveningwear and ballgown collection that embodied the meaning of both the song and the word “Golden.”

“Euphoria Golden” is made up of a color palette of white — which Utter said is his signature color because of its association with Emily Dickinson and “white hot passion” — gold and the rainbow.

“I wanted to add a third element, and I thought, ‘What better way to represent identity and the energy felt between two people and all the emotions other than rainbow?'” Utter said. “So, I included a multi-spectrum of colors in order to symbolize the broad spectrum of emotions we feel as humans and how beautiful that can be when those emotions are shared between two people.”

Man walks down runway at fashion show
Senior Apparel and Merchandising major Cameron Utter walks down the runway at the Colorado State University “Xposure” fashion show, hosted by CSU’s department of Design and Merchandising April 12 at the Lincoln Center. Utter’s collection “Dreamscape,” was featured during the show and won the award for “Best Construction.” (Johanna Fortescue | Collegian)

After developing his initial concept and creating sketches, Utter began what he considered the most difficult part of the design process: transitioning from ideas to producing and constructing the clothing in the collection.

“It was a lot of testing, re-testing and perfecting, and a lot of help from my teachers,” Utter said. “It took a lot of work to actually see what was going on in the pattern itself because you have to have a lot of experience with them to know where the bugs are. If you’re an amateur like me, it takes longer to figure out what’s going on with something.”

Utter sourced supplies for his collection from various locations and relied on his scholarships to fund over $6,000 of fabric, jewelry, shoes and other materials used to compose his final looks.

“Without that money I would not have been able to buy shoes. I would not have been able to buy jewelry. I would not have been able to keep on with all the production costs,” Utter said. “I am so grateful to this university for that. They were so generous with me.”

Overall, Utter is proud of the emotional appeal captured in his finished collection, and feeling it gives his designs depth. “You feel like a princess in these outfits, or, if you’re me, you feel like your most personal aura or identity is now being worn on the outside,” Utter said.

After months of long work for both Utter and his classmates, Utter was excited to see everyone’s collections walk in the “XPOSURE” fashion show. “I’ve watched every single person make their collection in this class, and every single one of them is fantastic,” Utter said.

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