Kent State Fashion School to host a virtual showcase


Kent State fashion students are preparing for a virtual showcase on April 30.

Meredith Reib Reporter

The annual Kent State Fashion Show will look a little different this year as The Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising will be hosting their annual fashion show in the form of a virtual showcase broadcasted on YouTube Live at 7 p.m. on April 30.

The show will feature collections from 23 Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) students and 11 Bachelor of Arts (BA) students who have spent countless hours constructing their garments. 

The production team adapted to a lot of changes and challenges of this year and have created an innovative display of creativity that has never been done before. 

“The biggest change is that we hired a professional video production company and we are filming the show in an entire new light this year,” said senior fashion merchandising student Ally Mann. “The video is able to capture every single stitch, bead and detail that the designers have spent so long to make that usually can’t be seen on the runway. I think the garments are being shown better this way.” 

Mann is one of two senior co-producers for the show alongside senior fashion merchandising student Sarah Zappa. Mann and Zappa have been coordinating the fashion show since July 2020, making safety their top priority.

They brainstormed ideas for hosting the show in-person, but all of the ideas proposed came with coordinating issues. The online alternative is able to offer a happy medium for both the production team and the designers to still produce an adaptation that wouldn’t deteriorate the overall production. 

“From the beginning, we had the goal of hosting this event somewhat in person while being socially distanced, but to also blow everyone’s expectations out of the water,” Mann said. “Everyone has been wearing masks, taking a COVID-19 questionnaire everyday, sanitizing and being socially distanced during production. We are keeping safety at the forefront while putting emphasis on each garment captured within the live show.” 

Mann and Zappa are in charge of overseeing everything happening simultaneously, correlating it among a team and making sure everything is done on time. 

“We have had to think on our feet and figure out how to piece it all together. We take everyone’s vision and bring it to fruition,” Mann said. “We would be nothing without every single person on our team. Everyone has their own specialties that they utilize to assist in the overall execution of the show.” 

In past Kent State fashion shows, the designers coordinated their designs based on a specific theme. However, this year the designers got to utilize their own creativity and craftsmanship to gather inspiration for their collections. Viewers can also expect a behind the scenes portion of the virtual showcase that will draw emphasis on the designer’s garment construction process and how the production team brought their vision to life. 

The designers had to start production in advance and dealt with a lot of setbacks due to pandemic restrictions. They faced a lot of challenges with collaboration and most of the garment construction process was done within their homes. However, it allowed them to explore their creativity and showcase who they are as designers. 

“My goal is to show people my craft and show how I perceive certain topics through my collection,” said senior BFA fashion design student Kayla Kobilis. “I like to think of things more positively and turn things from a negative into a positive within my designs.” 

Fashion design students have gained a lot of valuable experience toward their performance level in the industry and the show will grant them the opportunity for people to witness their artistry on the runway. 

“I hope to show through my collection everything that I’ve accomplished and learned at Kent State,” said senior BFA fashion design student Emma Marie Noll. “Ever since I was an underclassman, I have always wanted to witness my stuff walking down the runway someday and knowing that I made it to this point through the pandemic has really been the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Meredith Reib is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected].