Annual Rock the Runway fashion show showcases hip-hop themed looks

Morgan Jupina

The entire Student Center Ballroom was electrified with sights and sounds from the late ‘80s Saturday as students walked a runway wearing chunky boom boxes, mismatched outfits and fanny packs. DJs spun out tracks from artists such as Sir-Mix-a-Lot, Living Colour and the Fresh Prince.

Participants in the annual Rock the Runway fashion show embraced the hip-hop theme to give the audience a show straight out of the hip-hop era.

Fashion design students paired up in teams of two and picked models to present three looks inspired by hip-hop. Some played off of the theme while using unconventional fabrics to create a unique twist on hip-hop culture.

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Corinne Brothers, senior fashion merchandising major, said she added lace to her line, Urbane Beat.

“It’s not necessarily typical hip-hop, but I really felt like I could incorporate it,” Brothers said. “I wanted to sophisticate hip-hop.”

Michelle Milfort and Ginette Norvelus, sophomore fashion design majors, said their garments were inspired by Romans 1:16, the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Bernie Mac.

“In our lives, we truly want to glorify God in our designs and be unashamed of it,” Milfort said. “We wanted to incorporate the style and trends from the ‘90s and hip-hop but still add our own modern twist to it.”

Milfort and Norvelus won the audience choice as well as the judges’ pick at the end of the show.

Milfort said she and Norvelus bought the fabric, created the patterns and sewed everything to create their line, Unashamed, two weeks before the show. She said winning the Audience and Judges Choice awards was an honor and blessing.

Four guest judges sat on the panel to award winners with a $500 shopping spree to Mood Fabrics and an appearance on BET’s show “106 & Park” in New York City. Judges included Kori Fields, freelance fashion writer and a Kent State fashion alumna; Dave Tolliver, a platinum-selling R&B artist from the group Men At Large; Bijou Star, on-air personality for Z107.9; and DJ Bancamp of Maybach Music.

Weijia Wang, senior fashion design major, said she has worked on her team’s collection every weekend since August.

“We were inspired by Nicki Minaj,” Wang said. “She really loves hip-hop and bright colors, so that’s the direction we went.”

3 Kingz and Legacy Dance Team provided live music and dancing during the “hip-hop house party” event. The dance team performed in the corner of the stage while models walked by.

Sarah Pohan, junior fashion merchandising major who modeled for Wang in the show, said Rock the Runway was much different than any other show the Fashion School hosts.

“This show is more about entertainment, I think, than it is showcasing garments like in a regular fashion show,” Pohan said.

Kaylene Abernathy, sophomore pre-human development and family studies major, modeled Milfort and Norvelus’ looks.

Abernathy said Milfort helped teach her how to model for her first runway show.

“I loved it. I had so much fun at the show and I loved the creativity and seeing what all of the other designers came up with,” Abernathy said. “It was a great first experience.”

Milfort said she looks forward to traveling to New York City with Norvelus.

“I’m excited to attend ‘106 & Park’ and meet the host of the show,” Milfort said. “Also, to finally be able to go inside Mood Fabrics where the designers of ‘Project Runway’ get their fabric is exciting.”

Contact Morgan Jupina at [email protected].