Annual Fashion Show inspired by student ‘visionnaires’


Senior Fashion Mechandising major Noelle Horan hangs clothes in preperation for the annual Kent State School of Fashion Fashion show in Rockwell Hall on Wednesday, April 22, 2015.

Ellen Freeborn

A visionnaire dreams of innovation and imagines originality. The person envisions a more beautiful, yet tangible future and is able to communicate such visions successfully.

This French word, “visionnaire” (or “visionary” in English), encompasses the mission of Kent State’s Fashion School. The school trains future designers to think for themselves, challenge the realms of their imagination, evaluate the success of new ideas and communicate through skilled craftsmanship.

With sleepless nights and seemingly endless trials and errors, Kent State fashion students are becoming young visionnaires whose work displays ingenuity and consciousness.

For these reasons, it comes as no surprise that this year’s annual fashion show, “FS2 Visionnaire,” is inspired by the young visionnaire. Not only will the most innovative designs be displayed, but also the production of the show itself is an expression of large-scale creative thinking and planning.

The show incorporates the creative work of a wide range of individuals, and teamwork is crucial for execution of such a large and professional vision. Designers from every class — freshmen to seniors — will showcase single looks alongside senior B.F.A. students who will present their senior thesis collections. All of this is then put together by a full production team consisting of two senior co-producers, a management team of about 15 students, each overseeing a small committee, and two faculty advisers.

Angela Wische, a senior fashion merchandising major, is one of the senior co-producers directing the production process. Wische’s professional demeanor and energy — not to mention her ability to manage a busy schedule — is not only inspiring, but also greatly beneficial in preparing for such a prestigious event. She’s been piecing together this weekend’s production for almost a year now.

Wische said the visual display will be “crisp and clean, with the focus on the garments,” and the ambiance will be simplistic and elegant, strategically focusing all of the attention to the student designers.

“Everything from our catalog to the stage and lighting will be very clean and focused,” Wische said.

To be selected for the show, student designers had to go through a competitive elimination process and were critiqued by industry professionals.

James Coviello and Tara St. James, who both design for their own labels in New York City, and alumna Lauren Grover, who designs for Anna Sui in New York City, critiqued the B.F.A. collections.

The single submissions were judged by local professionals Sean Bilovecky, owner of The Pattern Makers in Cleveland Heights; Marcy Cope, senior designer and product development manager of Arborwear in Chagrin Falls; Laura Smith, designer at Laura Lynn Collection in North Ridgeville; and Anton Zbarzh, who designs under his own name in Cleveland.

The jurors and critics looked for innovation, creativity and excellent craftsmanship to represent Kent State’s best student work on the runway.

“To me, being a visionnaire means being at the top of your game, making the most of what you have, elevating Kent State and showing what you’re worth,” Wische said.

The range of designer work chosen for the show is sure to not only inspire the audience, but also motivate underclassman to pursue greatness throughout the entirety of their education at Kent State.

Jessica Musto, a sophomore fashion design major, has already gotten a head start. With aspirations to work for a high-end designer after graduation, she is taking every opportunity to challenge herself now.

“Just getting name recognition and having my designs in a primarily senior show is going to be a great resume builder,” Musto said.

Musto designed a dress and jacket combination as her first-ever piece to go down the Fashion School’s runway. She said she was inspired by “a really amazing graffiti print” and the juxtaposition between a feminine silhouette and a “hard, tough girl” print. Her determination and inspiration at a young age is the type of charisma that will carry her through the challenging fashion program with success.

Designers and other industry professionals, a group of designated critics, donors and sponsors, alumni and potential employers will be among those in attendance, offering student designers the perfect opportunity to showcase their work.

Tickets are still being sold for all three shows: a matinee on Friday followed by a show that night, as well as a final show on Saturday night where awards such as Best in Show, Knitwear and Best Use of the TechStyle Lab, will be presented.

Tickets may be purchased in the atrium of Rockwell Hall or online.

Contact Ellen Freeborn at [email protected].