Village People: Cassie Dodd, 28, is Feeling Free

Cassie Dodd models her work

Maywood native and fashion designer Cassie Dodd wears a gown she created. Below, she poses with models donning her clothing line, which includes gowns she’s designed for prom. | Submitted photos 

Cassie Dodd along with other modelsWednesday, May 17, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Cassie Dodd, a Maywood native, actress and full-time fashion designer, recently hosted a show in Chicago that featured the spring collection of her C. Marie Designs fashion line. Her clothing has also been featured during Black Fashion Week USA, among other platforms.

Dodd, who graduated from Northern Illinois University, learned to sew at Proviso East High School, her other alma mater.

In a recent email, Dodd explained her motivation and her journey in the world of design.

I learned the basics of sewing at Proviso East, but later I taught myself everything else about sewing and fashion. The class, fashion tech, was so much fun. Other than English, it was one of my favorite classes.

Although I got my bachelor’s degree in political science and public law, and community leadership and civic engagement in advocacy, I transitioned into sewing after college because my desire is to design. I’ve always been creative. As I saw members of my family going off to prom, the more I thought to myself, ‘Hey, I can make their dresses.’ So, in 2014, when one of my nieces started getting ready for prom, I took advantage of the opportunity to show what I could do. It went extremely well.

Cassie Dodd designs

Right now, I design full-time and work as an extra on TV shows that film in Chicago like “Chicago PD,” “Chicago Justice,” “Chicago Fire,” “Empire” and others (to name a few).

On April 29, I hosted the first show, called The Emancipation of C. Marie Designs, to feature only my designs at the Douglas Park Ballroom in Chicago. I displayed my bridal collection, summer wear and couture looks.

I drew my inspiration from ancient queendoms and Nubian warriors. When I create, I’m naturally drawn to patterns and colors that reflect my African ancestors. I love sequin and all things glam, but African prints are my favorite. As Maya Angelou said, “I come as one but I stand as 10,000.”

I came as one, but people need to know that I am standing on the shoulders of the thousands that came before me. The ones who died for all of my opportunities to be educated, fearlessly creative and unapologetically me. VFP

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