Kent State associate professors design costumes for 2012 Summer Olympics

Nana Battah

Three associate professors from Kent State’s School of Fashion Design and Merchandising are designing and manufacturing more than 30 costumes for local performing arts ministry Life Isn’t Only Now, who is traveling to London to perform in the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Sherry Schofield-Tomschin, Linda Ohrn-McDaniel and Vince Quevedo are finalizing costumes with just a “few last minute tweaks,” said Schofield-Tomschin, lead project designer.

The group will be performing in London during the Olympic Games, but after the group’s limited funds were depleted for travel expenses, Kent State’s fashion design professors rose up to the challenge.

The designers provided over 200 hours to design and create the costumes, which will be worn by about a dozen dancers to depict animals and characters for performances based on Old Testament stories of creation and the Garden of Eden.

According to the L.I.O.N. Players’ website, “The L.I.O.N. Players is an outreach ministry based out of Akron, Ohio. The purpose of L.I.O.N. Players is two-fold: to encourage teens and college students to live lives of sexual purity and to introduce people to the person of Jesus Christ.”

“We wanted to create costumes that wouldn’t take away from the dance but rather to enhance the performance and bring it to life,” Schofield-Tomschin said. “This was a chance for us to design something we hadn’t done before. It gave us a possibility to think about the concept and come up with a design to work in a different medium from what we normally do.”

Quevedo has previous experience designing and working with dance material because he used to own a company that manufactured gymnastics apparel. He was also a former NCAA competitor and belonged to a dance troupe. He designed male costumes for this project.

“What I liked about the project was the challenge to create costumes out of the leftover fabrics that were used to create the women’s costumes,” Quevedo said. “I wanted the costumes to be masculine, easy to care for and not to distract from the dance. Beauty of dance comes from the movement of the dancers. It’s important for the audience to see the movement of the dancers. If the audience is strictly focused on the costume, then I haven’t done my job very well. Depending on the dance or the event, fashion should always play second to the performer. I make it a point to enhance the body.”

Quevedo said he needed to create artistically relevant costumes and be able to transform and evolve the character with confidence.

“Good designers, such as Schofield-Tomschin, Ohrn-McDaniel and I, can design anything from art-to-wear to ready-to-wear because we are versatile,” Quevedo said. “What I like about our team is we are able to design for competitions such as the International Textiles and Apparel Association art groups because we can interpret our design sensibility to fit into any kind of event. To say we can only design for a specific design concept is a cop-out and a sign of poor conceptual design. We are the ideal fashion dream team.”

Contact Nana Battah at [email protected].