CMU Threads designers showcase work downtown Grand Rapids during Art Prize


Designer, Holly Conner, speaks about what her clothing design means to her on Oct. 5 at The Smith Haughey Rice & Roegge Law Firm in Grand Rapids, Mich. 

More than 50 people attended a showcase of designers work for this year's student-run fashion show, Threads, Thursday Oct. 5 on the rooftop of Smith Haughey Rice and Roegge Law Firm downtown Grand Rapids during Art Prize. 

Central Michigan University’s Fashion Merchandising and Design program hosted the live exhibit and it was sponsored by the CMU Alumni Association to showcase the collection of work by fashion design students. There were five student designers who each had three models, who were also students, to model their work.   

Approximately 60 tickets were sold and the revenue goes to the CMU Alumni Association to cover the cost of the event. 

Threads, a student-run fashion show, is put on every year in April for fashion merchandising and design students to show their work on a professional runway. Winners are awarded for different categories. 

Ian Mull, faculty adviser for Threads fashion, advises the producers and directors as well as coordinating fashion events on and off campus. His role for this event was to assist organizing the live exhibit, which included collaborating with the designers, the 15 models and the CMU Alumni Association.

Mull said the reason for putting on this event was to promote Threads and to reach out to alumuni to show progression in the fashion design program. 

“Art Prize is one of the biggest art events in Michigan, so to be able to look at fashion in an art form and be apart of it is such a great opportunity,” Mull said. 

Student designer senior Kaitlyn Lauer, said it was her first year doing this at Art Prize but she was thrilled to show her work to new audience. 

“I’m excited to network with people and gain experience with showcasing my designs,” Lauer said. 

For each design, the model would walk out wearing the piece where the designer would explain the material and their inspiration for it. 

Also showcasing his work, graduate student Jason Gagnon explained his passion for design sparked when he was younger and liked to create comics. That one day turned into his fashion work today.  

“I’ve always been interested in clothes and fashion. Now I get to put a meaning behind it," Gagnon said. 

During the live exhibit, alumni got to talk with the designers and ask questions about their collections and designs. The designers and models also walked around downtown Grand Rapids beforehand to show off their looks.

After the event, 1984 CMU alumna Sarah Gammans expressed her appreciation of the designers work for the fashion show in April. 

“The event was great," Gammans said. "The setting was phenomenal, and it was cool to see what kids have done and what they are currently learning in the program.”

Mull ended the night by saying how he was thrilled with how the event went. 

“Our designers and our models blew it out of the park, and it was a great opportunity for us to showcase our innovation, technology, as well as our talent that we have at CMU," Mull said. “This was a chance for our alumni to feel proud of where they came from, and to understand that this is the next generation they’ve invested in.”


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