Fashion students prepare for Rock the Runway

Danielle DeBord

At any moment, the Rockwell Hall studio can change from mellow to chaos; music playing, clicking and clattering of sewing machines and cutting tools, people sighing and grunting in frustration. Even with Rock the Runway less than a week away, Kent State fashion design students fill the room with laughter and jokes, distracting themselves from their stressful days ahead.

Some contestants just have final finishing touches and adjustments to make to their garments; other designers began their designs last weekend.

The annual Rock the Runway fashion show features designs from students of any major, to be judged by three industry professionals. Unlike other fashion shows sponsored by the fashion school or Fashion Student Organization, Rock the Runway is hosted by Kent Student Center Programming.

Each year comes with a theme — this year’s is “Celestial Space Odyssey.” The requirement is a three-piece collection with light incorporated into one piece; the type of light is at the designers’ discretion.

Caley Taylor, freshman fashion design major, began her pieces over winter break, and now only has a skirt to complete and some overall finishing touches.

Rock on the Runway


Saturday, 8 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom


Julie Stanley, whose work has been published in InStyle, Lucky, Allure and Vogue.

Lucilla Murillo is the vice president of Design for Tween Brands since 2009.

Ryan Haber has his own collection of high-end heels, worn by celebrities like Carrie Underwood.

Taylor is using a light-up toy invented by her father to illuminate a skirt for one of her pieces.

“It will be interesting to see everyone’s designs because mine is very contemporary and modern,” Taylor said, “and other people’s designs are very avant-garde.”

She said she is going for more of an “alien” look and is using alien-themed makeup. For her lighted element, she is using wire to construct a bubble skirt and also used a metallic silver fabric, which will be included in all three garments.

Although her original design partner changed majors and ultimately dropped out of the show, Taylor continued as an individual designer and said she’s confident her designs will be completed in plenty of time for Rock the Runway.

While Taylor is going at it alone, many chose to compete as a pair. One of the many teams of designers is Brittany Miller and Morgan Burns, both sophomore fashion design majors.

Six days before the show, they are constructing a top out of broken CDs.

The layered CDs will look like fish scales, but that is not where the inspiration came from, Miller said. They will also be using bubble wrap for their designs.

“We’re working with things that we haven’t before: vinyl, ‘weird’ plastic material and bubble wrap,” Miller said.

Watch it live

Don’t miss TV2’s live coverage of the show, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday.

The pair decided to center their collection around a bridal theme, with each piece including a veil. Miller said their fabrics represent the celestial look: They are using black tulle, a metallic tulle and vinyl.

Burns said they used the vinyl to create a “dog cone” look that will go around the waist of one of the models.

Miller and Burns have sometimes been staying up until 3 a.m. working on pieces, but said they are still excited for the show.

“It’s a cool show, it’s amazing,” Miller said. “It’s cool it’s not put on by the fashion school.”

Ashton Potter, junior fashion design major, also said she is happy Rock the Runway isn’t put on by the fashion school. She said it’s something new to work with.

“It’s not even sponsored by the fashion school at all, so it’s a cool break from what you’re normally doing,” Potter said. “You just get to do whatever you want and have fun with it and be more like a real designer than like a student.”

Potter paired up with Brandi Finley, also a junior fashion design major, to create a collection. In their final piece, they are using glow sticks to meet the light requirement.

“I love working with layers,” Finley said, “and she said we could use layers if we did the show.”

They are using plastic vinyl, blue organza and white tablecloth vinyl materials for their pieces, Potter said.

“Our big inspiration was, like, cyborgs and the Terminator,” Finley said, “how it’s like, you think you’re human but really you’re not.”

Potter and Finley’s pieces are two dresses and a shirt and leggings. They also have a cape to go with one of the pieces.

Potter said the vinyl, which was their main fabric, was difficult to work with and was incredibly time-consuming.

Even though Rock the Runway is quickly approaching, Finley spent her studio time joking to calm the mood, instead of stressing.

Potter said everything is pretty much together. They just need to add all the details they want to add, she said.

“Once the models walk, I don’t care who wins,” Potter said, “I don’t care what happens. I got to see it, and it was great.”

Contact Danielle DeBord at [email protected].