Students display apparel projects created this semester at Threads
Watching models rock their garments was the most satisfying part of the Threads Fashion Show for co-producer Zach Stoner.
Models strutted down the 72-foot long runway wearing clothes designed by Central Michigan University students at the seventh annual fashion show which packed McGuirk Arena on Saturday night.
The Portage sophomore co-produced the fashion show with Virginia graduate student Jennise Thurston, and took home best in show for his L.A. club-inspired menswear collection.
It was his first time producing and second time designing the show. This year, Stoner said he created all of his collection designs during spring break—seven designs in six days.
Submissions to the runway show were judged beforehand to ensure the best work was being displayed. Awards for best collections, best mounted exhibition, avant garde, people’s choice award, best model and two best in show awards were announced as the models walked the runway.
Before the runway event there was also a mounted exhibition for the first time at Threads. Items in the hallway of the Events Center displayed work by apparel and design students that could not be part of the runway show. Table displays and computer aided design garments were part of the exhibition.
“We’re kind of the visionaries (of the show),” Thurston said. “We changed a lot of things compared to the past years."
Thurston and first-time faculty adviser for the event, Michael Mamp, said they wanted a professional feel that was closer to industry-standard fashion shows.
Students executed every aspect of the show. From the lighting, live music, models, make up and planning leading up to the event, students with or without designs in the show had a hand in the production. The fashion show is the second largest event on campus and cost about $18,000 to put on. Funding for the show came from fundraising and ticket sales, plus a portion of the College of Education and Human Services.
“We are the top fashion school in the Midwest and one of the best in the country,” Mamp said. “We continue to grow in terms of enrollment and I think these events mimic industry standard.”
Mamp said the juried judging process gave students feedback from faculty and industry professionals like guest judge Renaldo Barnette, who is a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Barnette personally inspected each piece and chose the two best in show awards.
Goodrich senior Nikki Allen won an award for best collection as well as best in show for her garden-party themed garments.
“It’s amazing for my work to be recognized by someone like Renaldo,” Allen said. “I am also grateful to have the support from my family and friends that came tonight.”
Monroe junior Kelsey Lancina took a turn at just about every job during the fashion show. She had two dresses on display at the mounted exhibition and one in the runway show that won the best avant garde award. All of her dresses were sewn out of paper she hand made.
“There was no theme this year. It was completely up to you, whatever you wanted to submit,” Lancina said.
Lancina helped with the production of the show by lending a hand backstage, and also modeled a pair of pants on the runway that she designed.
She said she was happy to display a semester's worth of work. It took a month to make the paper for the dresses, and that was before she started sewing them, she said.
Southfield sophomore Sala White designed a protest collection in response to recent cases of police brutality against minorities. The rich colors represented controversial issues in the justice system, and all of the garments had a background, she said. Her collection was featured in the mounted exhibition.
“They put me out here because of the message I was trying to portray. This is a protest piece,” White said. “On the red dress there are 28 rhinestones on the front and back. Every 28 hours a black person is killed by vigilantes or law enforcement based on 2014 data.”
There were four pieces to White’s collection, each representing either the justice system or those not being served by it. Some of the models, as well as White, wore bracelets connected by chains she fashioned into looking like handcuffs using pliers.
“The exhibition really was fantastic," Mamp said. "It was an opportunity for us to show the breadth of what we do in our program and not just the looks that are on the runway."