1980s Brit fashion rocks annual ‘Rock the Runway’ event

Jake Green

New Wave British music and fashion inspired the designers whose three-look collections filled the stage at the sold-out 10th Annual “Rock the Runway” student fashion competition in the Kent State Ballroom Saturday night.

The show’s theme was “The Second British Invasion,” and featured 15 student-made clothing lines and ‘80s music. Each line had to include at least one representation of the British Union Jack and display inspiration from the 1981-86 era of music.

Freshman design major Madison Booth and sophomore design major Jessica Miloslavic, said David Bowie and the “punk androgynous look” inspired their collection called “Thirteen Hours.”

“The ‘80s were a very theatrical time, so there’s a lot to work with,” Booth said.

Senior fashion design major Phantashia Hall said her line, “Depinned” was inspired by Sex Pistols lead singer Johnny Rotten’s quote: “When the arse of your pants fall off, just use safety pins.”

“It’s a time period where young people didn’t have a lot of money,” Hall said. “They used what they had and were able to find easily to express themselves.”

Hall used the “wrong side” of fabric she found at her internship with Li & Fung USA in New York City and safety pins for her line, which won judge’s choice at the end of the night. Her prize will include an all- expense paid trip to New York mentoring under Stephen “Suede” Baum, Kent State alumnus and fashion designer.

“Your styling was spot on,” Suede said in his live critique. “Having not grown up in the era, you did a wonderful job. You’re a true designer.”

Rock the Runway 2014 from KentWired.com on Vimeo.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame special events manager Anne Siegal and Kent’s Carnaby Street Style fashion boutique owner Emma Day also judged the competition. Junior communications studies major Steffahn Maclin emceed.

Susy Mei, senior, and Via Stacey, junior, fashion design majors won the audience’s choice for their collection, “Beautiful Hot Mess.”

“We were focused on how American new wave and punk bands responded to the British bands coming to America,” Stacey said.

Eighties tribute band, Decadia, and Golden Reflections, a Kent State student dance team, performed throughout the show. Decadia played such 80s hits as Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax, Don’t Do It,” Duran Duran’s “Hungry Like the Wolf” and Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).”

The Kent Student Center Programming design group, Signum Design, also featured their tribute music video for “I Ran (So Far Away)” by Flock of Seagulls.

Kelly Nieser, freshman fashion merchandising major, said her line, “Between the Lines,” was inspired by the “I don’t care” attitude of the Second British Invasion.

“I just tried to stay true to myself,” Nieser said. “It’s more about the being and the attitude than the fashion.”

Hall said she couldn’t wait to go to New York City with Suede, where she’ll also tour the garment district and Kent State fashion studio.

“I’m really excited to win the internship in New York, Hall said. “It’s a great feeling to win during my first year doing it.”

Contact Jake Green at [email protected].