“The Industry is Pretty Burnt Out, but so is the Planet” Personal Profile: Kayla Kobilis

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By Connor Fallon 

Kayla Kobilis with her 2021 Collection, “Anthropogenic”. A sustainable fashion line featuring 7 different full outfits.

Kayla Kobilis was one of the thousands of college graduates in Ohio in 2021, but her impact goes beyond that of the average student. Kobilis graduated from Kent State University’s School of Fashion, where she majored in fashion design with a focus on sustainability.   

Kobilis created seven exceptional looks for her Senior BFA Collection, called “ANTHROPOGENIC”, that premiered at the KSU’s 2021 Annual Fashion Show. Kobilis’ collection is based on the Anthropocene, the geological period we are currently in. Kobilis took inspiration for the collection from climate change, focusing on overfishing and microplastics in the ocean.  

“For my collection, I merged my concerns about nature, like overfishing and microplastics in the ocean, and made it into something that is wearable and sustainable,” said Kobilis. 

Asymmetric top dyed using tumeric. High rise, straight-leg fit trousers dyed using the shibori method. The entire outfit made out of completely sustainable materials.

During Kobilis’ junior year of college, she took a class called “Sustainability in Fashion,” taught by Noël Palomo-Lovinski at KSU.  

“We watched a bunch of documentaries, one being ‘A Plastic Ocean’, which is what inspired my senior collection,” said Kobilis. “Seeing the impact of the dyes, the labor it takes to make things, the overconsumption of products — that is what really triggered me to go down this path.”  

 Kobilis believes that there should be more opportunities for students to learn about sustainability throughout the fashion program, and was grateful to have had Palomo-Lovinski as a professor for the class.  

Sustainability has a different meaning to every individual consumer, but what does it mean to a designer as well as a consumer? “[Sustainability] focuses on more of a circular consumer mindset. So, from start to finish it’s very conscious of materials, production and labor. As it goes through the cycle, it maintains that ecofriendly and sustainable mindset… so there is never any major waste” said Kobilis. Kobilis currently works in fashion design, and although her job title may not include anything relating to sustainability, she plans to continue promoting it through her work. 

Kobilis-Thesis-Mag

Kobilis gives some important advice to people shopping for new garments, “I would think about the future of that garment or item before you purchase it. The Tik Tok trend is SHEIN hauls, but think about if you actually need that many things or if it is just trendy,” said Kobilis. 

“People should look for pieces that will work for them, but not overconsume … the industry is pretty burnt out, but so is the planet.”   

To check out some of Kobilis’ freelance design work, head over to her Instagram @kayla_k_designs.   

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