Meet Alanna Lizun — the Kent State alumna taking on the world of fashion

Alanna Lizun, now a Kent State fashion design alumna, prepares models wearing her collection to take the runway in Rockwell Hall on Friday, April 27, 2018 for the annual fashion show, “FS2:Alchemy.” 

Ashley Johnson

Kent State fashion design alumna Alanna Lizun had a pretty successful year. 

Lizun’s collection, “Arguments + Eruptions,” won Best in Show in “FS2:Alchemy” — the university’s 2018 annual fashion show that took place in April — which then landed her a spot in the 2018 Supima Design Competition in New York City.

Each year, thousands of hopeful college seniors apply — and Lizun was one of seven finalists to make it.

“I was so happy after I found out that I had won the top award for my collection that I don’t even think that I was paying attention when they announced Supima, and then they said my name and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe it!’” Lizun said.

Lizun used the concept of men versus nature to inspire her “Arguments + Eruptions” collection. The clothing designs were mostly red, with one piece resembling an explosion.

Lizun’s “Growing up Female” collection for Supima focused on a different concept: societal pressures that young females face, especially those who are forced to grow up too soon. Her experience with knitwear and textiles helped her decide what materials worked best for each collection.

Lizun knew she wanted to pursue fashion from an early age. She got her first sewing machine on her 11th birthday to design clothes for her American Girl dolls, and she hasn’t stopped designing since.

“Throughout my high school, I took different sewing classes, and then I actually started my own sewing class as an extracurricular because I ran out of classes to take, and then in college, I took community classes for sewing,” she said. “Before I came to Kent I was like, ‘Oh, I know how to sew all this.’ So coming into college, I kind of figured out what path I wanted to take for fashion design.”

While in Kent, the now 22 year-old took boxing classes to keep her focused and happy. In order for Lizun to enjoy her own designs, she knew her mental health was a priority.

She also understood the importance of creating a collection for both herself and others, and her positive mindset didn’t go unnoticed.

Lizun’s mentor for the Supima competition, Chanjuan Chen, worked with her throughout the process. The fashion design and merchandising assistant professor helped Lizun and other seniors develop their collection ideas through concepts, sketches and prototypes.

“Alanna is a very passionate student who has worked extremely hard and used her experience in knitwear to make an incredibly unique Supima collection,” Chen said.

The young fashion designer headed to New York soon after winning the Kent competition to once again compete.

The Supima fashion competition featured senior students from fashion programs across the country and gave them a chance at $10,000, along with a platform to display their pieces at New York and Paris Fashion Week.

Each year, the competition provides a category of womenswear pieces for the aspiring designers, and this year was cocktail dresses. Because Lizun’s collection was inspired by young girls, she decided to bring her childhood self into her designs.

She preferred to wear jeans and a T-shirt and her pieces displayed that comfort while still following the cocktail dress rules.

Lizun didn’t win the competition in early September, but she said it gave her a new sense of confidence and new opportunities. She will be displaying her collection again this year at Paris Fashion Week.

Ashley Johnson is the fashion reporter. Contact her at [email protected].