Fashion Student Organization styles recycled clothes for runway looks

The Fashion Student Organization holds the annual Goodwill Personal Styling Show in Rockwell Auditorium on Feb. 27, 2015. Fashion students used inspiration from their favorite fashion designers and, using only garnments from thrift stores, created their own, personal looks.

The Fashion Student Organization holds the annual Goodwill Personal Styling Show in Rockwell Auditorium on Feb. 27, 2015. Fashion students used inspiration from their favorite fashion designers and, using only garnments from thrift stores, created their own, personal looks.

Kelsey Drumm

 The Fashion Student Organization demonstrated how to style secondhand clothing at the ‘Designer-Driven’ Goodwill Personal Styling Show on Friday, Feb. 27 in the Rockwell Auditorium.

The Fashion Student Organization (FSO) welcomed all of its members to participate whether they styled, modeled, decorated the venue, sold tickets or worked backstage for the show, said William Perrine, fashion merchandising associate lecturer and faculty advisor of FSO.

The annual Goodwill Personal Styling Show has taken place every spring since Perrine became the faculty advisor six years ago, he said.

“We do a big show in the fall semester called ‘Art of Contrast,’ and then this is our spring show (Goodwill Personal Styling Show),” Perrine said. “This one is about styling with secondhand clothing without any designing. The participants had to bring and show receipts from where they bought the clothing they entered in the show.”

Everything except the model’s shoes must be purchased from a secondhand store for this competition, Perrine said.                                                                                                          

The average American throws away 68 pounds of clothing each year, Perrine said, so the Goodwill Personal Styling Show presents a way to keep older garments up and running. Although thrift shop clothing appears worn, its quality usually outlasts newer clothing.

Besides conserving gently-used garments and reducing landfill waste, the Goodwill Personal Styling Show specifically spotlighted students in the fashion merchandising program, which gave students who might  not know how to sew a chance to still participate and try styling, Perrine said.

“We do the Goodwill Personal Styling Show every year, and it’s really fun because typically fashion shows are design-based, so designers usually create garments and send them down the runway,” said Jess Ballas, fashion merchandising senior and president of FSO. “We want to give fashion merchandising students an option, too, because fashion merchandising students always produce shows, and it’s fun when FSO can get them involved in the actual live production of the show.”

The preparation of the fashion show involved several hours of work for FSO members, Ballas said.

For example, the interior design team wanted to convey the typical atmosphere of a fashion show, so the set appeared crisp, clean and not too flashy. Kathryn Reaven, junior fashion merchandising major and FSO member, said the team worked to bring all of their visions and tastes together.

The ‘Designer-Driven’ theme of the Goodwill Personal Styling Show showcased looks inspired by famous designers this year, so the interior design team made sure to capture the theme into their venue, Reaven said. 

“Since the show is called ‘Designer Driven,’ it’s more designer-inspired, and we wanted a ‘Kate Spade’ look,” Reaven said about the decorations outside of Rockwell Auditorium. “Black, white and gold is the color scheme for the show.”

In addition to FSO members’ efforts, the judges worked hard to determine the top three stylists and top model, Ballas said.

Angie Wische, senior fashion merchandising major and co-producer of the annual fashion show; Michael Phillips, fashion design major; and graduate student Xiaohan Lin judged the competition.

The models walked across the stage, down the runway and posed at certain points to present their outfits to the audience. The secondhand clothing models were coordinated with a projection of a famous designer’s style for the stage backdrop.

First-place winner Madeline Meinhardt, a senior fashion merchandising major, won a $50 gift card with a photo shoot; second-place winner Mary Cooley, senior fashion merchandising major, won a $25 gift card with a photo shoot; third-place winner Todd White, a freshman fashion merchandising major, won a $25 gift card and top model; and Victoria Blake, sophomore fashion merchandising major, won a $25 gift card and photo shoot, Ballas said.

Meinhardt, the first-place stylist winner, also won the Goodwill Personal Styling Show her sophomore year and judged the competition her junior year, she said.

Meinhardt said she chose Dolce & Gabbana as inspiration for her styled look, then carried around a few example pictures while thrift-shopping and found the perfect jacket for her vision while assembling the winning outfit.

“At the end of the day, there’s these big, luxury designer brands, and not everyone can afford those things,” Meinhardt said about the importance of conserving clothing. “I think a big part of our industry is making things affordable for other people, styling outfits and showing people you can reuse, donate or repurpose clothing. This clothing is all real and wearable.”

FSO charged $7 a ticket to attend, which financially supports the organization.

“The proceeds of the $7 ticket goes to the cost of interior design, hair and makeup products,” Ballas said. “FSO’s been around for 31 years, and we started our first scholarship this year. So, the remainder of the ticket sale money will fund our scholarship. It keeps the organization going.”

Contact Kelsey Drumm at [email protected]