Rock the Runway brings pop music fashion to life

Audrey Fletcher

As Asia Parker’s three models walked the runway Saturday, she stood off to the side in the audience cheering them on.

The sophomore fashion design major’s collection was the first to grace the runway at the 11th annual Rock the Runway: Boy Bands and Girl Groups design competition hosted by Kent Student Center Programming and the Center for Student Involvement.

Parker began creating her futuristic looks with plastic accents, inspired by music group Jade, in December.

Her collection, “A Simple Power,” beat out 16 other top designs.

“I did not expect it at all,” Parker said. “(My models) told me I would win, but I was like, ‘it’s my first time, you don’t know.’”

Junior fashion design major Miriam Ennin’s collection “Tribal Alternative” and senior fashion design majors Michelle Milfort and Ginette Norvelus’ collection, “High-Toned” were also in the top three.

“The East Coast Dolls,” created by sophomore fashion design majors Julia DePalma and Tracy Vollbrecht and freshman fashion design major Melanie Martin, won the audience choice award.

Before the show, judges Mark Calderon, founding member of boy band Color Me Badd; Lisa Smedley-Calderon, fashion stylist; Jason Brewer, buyer for Justice clothing; and Anne Siegel, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fundraising Manager waited backstage in anticipation to see the student’s creations.

“I’m excited just because you can teach someone the technical side of design, but what we’re going to see tonight is their passion,” Brewer said.

This year, Siegel returned to judge for the second time.

“I was so blown away by last year’s talent,” Siegel said. “I’m just excited to see what they come up with.”

Golden Reflections dance team began the show with a routine to Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” played by New York band Decadia. Senior Pan-African Studies major Marvin Logan, the show’s host, followed them out to begin the show.

Wearing bright neon dresses to ’90s grunge-inspired ensembles, models strutted looks from all 17 design entries. Some designers took their inspiration from girl groups such as The Spice Girls and TLC while others channeled the funky, rock chic designs of Gwen Stefani and the Noisettes.

The judges took time to deliberate before coming back out to name the top three and critique those collections.

Brewer said they looked for someone who took a risk, made a cohesive collection and took into consideration the overall theme of the show.

“The talent in this school is amazing, and I think every single person who presented today should be extremely proud,” Brewer said. “It was difficult. I wish we could’ve given them all prizes.”

Siegel said she was also impressed.

“I like how they were able to take a lot the inspiration today that is really that late ’80s and early ’90s feel and propel it a little bit further,” Siegel said. “Everyone did a great job. It was a hard decision. It’s always a hard decision.”

After the judges selected their top choice, Logan announced Parker was the winner.

The judges said they chose Parker’s collection because it was cohesive and true to the theme.

Calderon said he could see a girl’s group wearing her collection. Not only did Parker beat out the other music-inspired collections, but she will also have half of her fall 2015 tuition covered as part of the winning prize.

“I’m really blessed and excited,” Parker said.

Contact Audrey Fletcher at [email protected].