10th annual ‘Rock the Runway’ hits stage


Jacob Byk

Sophomore fashion design major Latisha Ondiegi works on a leotard for her Rock the Runway designs a in Rockwell Hall studio, Wednesday evening, March 5, 2014. Ondiegi’s designs will be presented at Saturday’s annual Rock the Runway contest, this year themed “British Invasion II”.

Jake Green

Kent Student Center Programming will host the 10th annual “Rock the Runway” student fashion competition at 8 p.m. Saturday night in the Kent State Student Center Ballroom.

The sold-out show will feature 15 student-made fashion lines, designed to fit this year’s show theme: “The Second British Invasion.” Each line will consist of three looks, inspired by the New Wave of British music in the 1980s and must include at least one representation of the British Union Jack, said Jennifer Gunnoe, Center for Student Involvement associate director.

“The Second British Invasion was really fueled by MTV,” Gunnoe said. “A lot of American artists didn’t have videos yet, so MTV would fill airtime by incorporating a lot of British artists. And for a lot of the British artists, it was very much about the look and fashion.”

This year’s three judges are Stephen “Suede” Baum, Kent State alumnus and fashion designer; Emma Day, Kent’s Carnaby Street Style fashion boutique owner; and Anne Siegel, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame special event manager  Gunnoe said that she believes this group of judges is perfect to not only relate to the music, but also understand what it’s supposed to look like.

“I grew up in that music era,” Suede said. “What was so exciting about that time is that everyone really explored fashion and tried different things. Everybody had crazy makeup and guys would wear things like spandex and lots of chains.”

Suede, who was a contestant on season five of the reality fashion TV show “Project Runway,” debuted his fashion brand with a fashion show in Rockwell Hall in February 2013.

“Doing something as big as ‘Project Runway’ raises your level of expertise and creativity,” Suede said. “I’m going to be looking for designers who push the creative level.”

Suede said he would also be looking for a line’s potential for marketability because that is what will ultimately forward a designer in his or her future fashion career.

Senior fashion design major Dana Kapcewich said she will be presenting a line inspired by Billy Idol’s music video for his 1984 song, “Flesh for Fantasy.”

“I really like the punk look,” Kapcewich said. “It all came from Idol’s video: leggings with holes, leather and pants with cutouts.”

This will be Kapcewich’s first year presenting in “Rock the Runway” because of past time constraints, but she said she has wanted to show a line every year.

The lines will be judged based on line cohesiveness, craftsmanship, interpretation of the theme and general design. The winning line will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City and be mentored for two to three days by Suede himself, and the audience choice line will receive a $500 Mood Fabrics gift card, said Kristan Dolan, Center for Student Involvement marketing coordinator.

“The winner will be able to spend some time with Suede in the New York Garment District and visit the Kent State fashion studio,” Dolan said. “One-on-one time with Suede in his element is just the coolest thing.”

Contact Jake Green at [email protected].