Student designs brought to life in Threads Fashion Show


A designer waves to friends and family during the Threads Fashion Show on April 7 at Finch Fieldhouse. 

As the blue and green atmospheric lighting and upbeat music died down in Finch Fieldhouse, many audience members could only find standing room at the sold out 20th anniversary of Threads Fashion Show on April 7.

The student-run fashion show was organized and planned by the 44 students in the FMD 357 class. Student designers, 21 in total, showcased their collections, which were modeled by 95 student volunteers. 

In honor of the show’s theme, “Threads 2.0: The Evolution,” this year’s runway setup was  different than years past, comprising several connected tents containing small runways and seating areas lining the perimeter of Finch instead of one large stage. Rather than a traditional runway, models strut through tents so each tent’s audience viewed the student collections in a different order.

Dior fashion illustrator Bil Donovan was the special guest. Outside of the tents containing the runways, a small exhibit featuring sketches he had prepared for the show could be viewed in the middle of the room, along with other student-designed garments, photography and print pieces.

Before and after the show, attendees could view some of the fashion students’ work in exhibits — also on display in the middle of the room. Before the show began, mounted models stood outside of the tents, showing off some of the designers’ pieces that would not be featured in the show.

Grand Rapids senior Brianna Wildey was one of the mounted models, participating in both the pre-show exhibition and the walkthrough of all of the models for the show's finale. It was her second year modeling for Threads, which she said was very different than last year, due to the new setup of the runway.

"It's a whole new experience than it was last year, and it was a little hectic at times," she said. "But it was so much fun being a part of it again. I just love working with my designer (Cavellier) and modeling in Threads." 

Wildey wore a “hospital gown for teens” designed by Megan Cavellier. It was designed to be a “comfortable and functional alternative” to some of the ill-fitting hospital gowns, Wildey said. 

Cutting edge and futuristic pieces — ranging from gothic wear to elegant bridal gowns — were showcased on models strutting through the tents during the show.

Threads Fashion Show on April 7 at Finch Fieldhouse.

Student designer and Eagle senior Phoebe Boutwell said her collection, “Rainbow Dream” was inspired by The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” animated movie from 1968, and she wanted to incorporate a variety of bright, psychedelic colors. It was her last year participating in Threads.

“It’s bittersweet, but I’m really happy with how it turned out,” Boutwell said. 

During the show, audience members could go online to vote for their favorite collection, and the collection with the most votes won the Viewer's Choice Award. 

After the finale, several designers received recognition and awards for their collections. Winners included:

  • · Lizzie Van Alst — Best Women’s Wear
  • · Eli Zaborney — Best Men’s Wear
  • · Erika Erlenbach — Avant Garde
  • · Holly Bazarewski — Rookie of the Year
  • · Jason Gagnon — Master’s Award
  • · Sydney Newsome — Collection of the Year and Viewer’s Choice
  • · Phoebe Boutwell — Fashion Photography
  • · Julianna Saad — Fashion Illustration
  • · Alexis Quinney — 3D Printing
  • · Megan Cavellier & Dannichen — Garment
  • · Alicia Johnson — Multimedia Design

Royal Oak junior Julianna Saad, who participated and designed in Threads for the first time this year, received the “Fashion Illustration” award.

“My collection was based on taking from the past, and how past fashions influence today’s fashions, so I named it ‘Looking to the Golden Days,’” Saad said. “I took inspiration from different historical periods like the 1920s and 1940s.”

Saad said her first experience as a Threads designer was “amazing, nerve-wracking and tiring” and she hopes to keep branching out and improving her skill for next year’s fashion show.