FSO’s Mardi Gras show thrills at Soroptimist fundraiser


The Kent State Fashion Student Organization stands backstage at Brookside Country Club in Canton after their Soroptimist Fashion Show on Saturday, October 13. Photo by Jenna Watson

Alicia Crabtree

Students from Kent State’s Fashion Student Organization showed off their original designs at the Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County’s annual fundraiser Saturday morning.

As a worldwide organization, Soroptimist International, Inc. works to make a difference for women and girls while spreading goodwill and understanding. Students from FSO collaborate with Soroptimist each year for a fundraiser.

William Perrine, lecturer and faculty adviser for FSO, said he enjoyed partnering with Soroptimist International in past years.

“It’s a great organization,” Perrine said. “We’ve been working with them for years now, and this is our big kick-off event for FSO, for everything we do in the fall. We really enjoy coming here, and it’s been a lot of fun for us over the years.”

Alexandra Coon, curator at the Massillon Museum and former president of Soroptimist International of Canton/Stark County, said her favorite part of the fundraiser is the fashion show.

“I love seeing the designs every year and how enthusiastic all of the students are,” Coon said. “They’re always so willing to cooperate. They’re very professional as well, which is really impressive. They end up putting on a great show every year.”

Coon said it is great to get a younger, student demographic represented at the fundraiser.

“I think that keeps it fun, fresh, light and modern,” Coon said. “There are a lot of women’s organizations that have fashion or style shows. I think we’re the only one that incorporates these up-and-coming designers. I think Kent State students are a little more edgy and can be free with this because they’re not doing it for a grade, they’re doing it for a good cause.”

Kendall Walter, FSO president and junior fashion design major, said the collaboration with Soroptimist International is a good thing.

“Alexandra, who is the coordinator for the show, talked with us,” Walter said. “It’s more than just a fashion show. It’s for a cause. It’s a fundraiser to help women in need and to stop sex trafficking. Soroptimist means ‘for the help of women.’”

Walter explained that the entire fashion show for the fundraiser was run by students of FSO.

“From coordinating to modeling to designing for the event, hair and makeup, everything is student-run,” Walter said. “We even brought photographers this year, which we haven’t done in the past, but it’s another part of the arts that we wanted to get involved. A lot of people don’t want to design or model, so it’s another way for students to be active with FSO.”

Coon explained how the Mardi Gras theme was an attempt to go green and recycle decorations and materials used earlier in the year.

“This year’s theme came about because our club hosted a Soroptimist conference for the entire region last spring, and the theme was Mardi Gras,” Coon said. “Mardi Gras is always fun. It’s colorful. It’s vibrant. It gives people the opportunity to be glitzy and sparkly. We thought the students would have a lot of fun with that.”

Walter described how FSO students also went green for this fundraiser.

“We tried to use things from Rockwell,” Walter said. “Students tried to use what they had around, which is resourceful. A lot of design students don’t have money, so it’s interesting to see what students can do on a limited budget.”

Coon said the fashion show is an element that people look forward to every year at this event.

“I think that there has been a core group of people that come repeatedly,” Coon said. “They know that this fashion show is always something that is different and dynamic and they appreciate that it’s something the students do for a great cause.”

Contact Alicia Crabtree at [email protected].