Una Studentessa di Moda

by Meaghan Evans

January 22nd marks one month into a stateside homecoming for Anna Roth, a budding fashion designer and Oregon State University apparel design student.  After whirlwind term studying abroad in Florence, Italy, Roth returned with design inspiration influenced by and the artistic styles she studied in the birthplace of the Renaissance.


From an early age, Roth was captivated by the crafting abilities of her Aunt Ne. Inspired and motivated, she practiced first with crocheting and hand sewing. Roth continued her artistic development but this time with a sewing machine of her own, given to her as a gift.

“When I started to get really into sewing, like making pillow cases, and pants, and garments, I got interested in the construction of a garment. All I wanted to do from then on was to just make things,” Roth said. 

She was eventually creating her own patterns, learning by experimenting with draping and form, but her talents did not stop there. Throughout high school, Roth explored many mediums.

“I did a lot of drawing and painting, more two dimensional stuff. I did some ceramics, like pottery, I did a bust of myself once,” she said.

Uniquely, Roth sees her designs more as soft sculpture, rather than articles of clothing. Her focus on construction and craft elicit distinctive creations, separating herself from her fellow apparel designers. Roth’s works bridge the gap between avant garde and wearable fashion.

“I want something I can still be creative with but also something consumers want,” Roth said.

Roth is inspired by artists with a “clear but not crisp” aesthetic approach. Candice Cuoco, a Project Runway contestant, explores gothic art and architecture within her designs. Jenny Saville is a painter who illustrates nearly abstract nude human figures. Another of Roth’s influences is Chiara Mattiussi, an Italian tattoo artist whose illustrations are clear, bright figures with a surrealist edge. One of Mattiussi’s original pieces can be seen on Anna’s left leg, a unique interpretation of Benvenuto Cellini’s Perseus with the Head of Medusa.   

A posting sent to her by a friend lead Roth to find her current job as an assistant in the Costume Shop. Located on the first floor of Withycombe, an OSU liberal arts building, the Costume Shop serves as an archive and design studio for Corvallis production costuming.

Roth has altered, constructed, and designed pieces for three one-act plays, one theatre production and is currently working on the costuming for the upcoming Opera, La Rondine, premiering at 7:30 p.m. on March 8 at Ashbrook Independent School in Corvallis.

Another extraordinary aspect of designer Anna Roth is her recent trip to Florence, Italy. Surrounded by some of the oldest and most famous art in the world, Roth found herself constantly in awe.

“Before I left, I was really inspired by the frescoes in Santa Croce. Also, thinking about construction in terms of all the art forms. You’re looking at paintings, you’re looking at sculptures and you’re looking at different construction methods in terms of actual clothing,” Roth said.

Via de’ Tornabuoni is a street littered with designer stores like Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Gucci, and more. During her term, Roth walked this street often, observing the craftsmanship of these designers.

“You walk by designer stores on a daily basis and you see people wearing designer things. So you want to take in that quality and creativity all at once,” she said.

When asked about her defining moment in Italy as a creative, Roth described her hands on classes.

“The fact that we got to learn from designers and people in the industry was really cool, ” she said.

These positive and supportive critiques affirmed Roth’s belief in her talents. Ultimately, Roth would like to head to New York for Grad school, preferably Parsons School of Design. After finding an internship with a designer, she plans to move back to Portland to open her own boutique.

Her vision for the store taps into quintessentially Portland values. Roth’s brand will be environmentally conscious and ideally completely constructed with her own hands accompanied by a small team. In five years, she plans to take Oregon by storm. Keep a look out for Anna Roth’s future brand, featuring her beautifully alternative designs.

Was this article helpful?