Rock the Runway fashion show revives the Roaring ’20s

Rebecca Kapler hands the Rock the Runway awards to Ann Marie Elaban and Kassidy Brillhart, designers of the winning line “Living Lindy” on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Paige Miller

Kent State students dazzled the audience with intricate designs at the 13th annual Rock the Runway fashion show featuring styles inspired by the Roaring ’20s.

Sophomore communication studies major Michael Gallagher II hosted the show in the Kent Student Center ballroom Saturday night.

Rebecca Kapler, Center for Student Involvement assistant director, said she has been planning the event since the fall.

“It has gotten bigger each year,” Kapler said. “This year we have the most designers we have ever had in a show.”

The designer call started in November, and designers were greeted with guidelines and deadlines.

Rue Monroe, a sophomore theatre studies major, played with gender roles in the ’20s and present time in their debut fashion show collection “Glitz at the Ritz.”

“I found my inspiration through the Harlem Renaissance. The detail and culture during the 1920’s caught my attention immediately,” Monroe said. “The movement as a whole plays a huge role in my garments, shapes, colors and symbolism.”

Monroe’s collection added a delicate touch to structured pieces and took them a month to construct.

“The male peacock is more flamboyant,” Monroe said. “Women in the ’20s were going for a more masculine look. I used peacock feathers throughout my design to complement that.”

Curator of the Kent State Museum Sara Hume; director of communications and marketing for the College of the Arts Eftihia Tsengas; and general manager of Wolf Creek Tavern, an authentic speakeasy, Dawn Bilinovich, used extensive knowledge of fashion designs from the ’20’s to judge designers on how they incorporated the theme into each collection.

“I feel like it’s easy to come up with a concept, but actually making and presenting it is a whole other thing. This entire process has taught me a lot about myself as a designer but also that I have a long way to go experience wise,” Monroe said.

Fashion design majors Kassidy Brillhart and Ann Marie Elaban won the event with their line “Living Lindy,” and both students received $2,500 toward their fall tuition.

“Our concept, ‘Living Lindy’ came from the dance Texas Tommy. That was a name used for the Lindy Hop from the ’20s,” Elaban said.

A common theme throughout the show was toying with the combination of men and women’s wear with the added element of risqué silhouette’s and fabrics.

“We wanted masculine structures with feminine colors,” Brillhart said. “The hardest part was making it cohesive and interchangeable.”

“Living Lindy” featured a reversible cape in soft blush with a sequin patterned fabric, which echoed other elements of the line.

Fashion design majors Emily Rinehardt and Rachel Weidner also won a $500 gift card to Mood Fabrics in New York City as the audience winner.

Their line called “We’re Pretty Girls, Floyd” combined menswear with soft silk and feather details, and Rinehardt and Weidner said their collection was inspired by American bank robber, Pretty Boy Floyd.

Every designer stunned the crowd with flowing fringe and illuminating sparkling dresses that reflected around the ballroom. As the models strutted down the runway, Kent State’s Jazz Society Quartet played smooth jazz behind a gold backdrop, which flattered each collection with their music.

“The most rewarding part of this experience is today and watching our designs come to life,” Elaban said. “Being able to see the drawing translate to real life with the model doing the same pose in the sketch made it surreal.”

Paige Miller is the fashion reporter, contact her at [email protected]