Designers rock the runway in a ‘Celestial Space Odyssey’

Danielle DeBord

There were many variations on a theme of outer space filling the Student Center Ballroom Saturday night. Collections with names ranging from “Crystal Wreckage” to “Darkened Sky” strutted down the runway.

Kent Student Center Programming hosted the annual Rock the Runway fashion show. This year’s fashion design students had to center their work on a specific theme, “Celestial Space Odyssey.”

Three fashion industry judges were tasked with choosing a winner.

One judge, Julie Stanley, is a Cleveland native and freelance photographer for TRG Reality. Stanley has had work published in Vogue, Lucky, Allure and InStyle magazines.

“I’m expecting to see a lot of great work and creativity,” she said, before the event.

Stanley also said she was very interested in seeing how the designs would flow on their models.

Ryan Haber, another judge, is a high-end women’s shoe designer and has worked with BCBG Max Azria Group, Inc and Steve Madden Ltd. His designs, so far, consist of only high heels, but have been worn by the likes of Carrie Underwood.

The final judge, Lucia Murillo, has worked for more than 20 years in the film and fashion industries, including work on the movies “Sleepy Hollow” and “Walk the Line.” Murillo is now the vice president of design at Tween Brands, Inc.

Because she attended college for fashion design, Murillo said she “can really connect to people who are at that stage in their life.”

There were three final collections chosen by the judges from a total of 24 that walked the runway. The finalists were Kendall Walter and Samantha Sowinski with their collection, “Elysian Assent,” Amy Tiefermann and Erin Marvinney, with their collection, “Intergalactic Atlantis” and Ginette Norvelus and Michelle Milfort with their collection, “Steel of Mars.”

Milfort and Norvelus said the show was challenging because they are both freshman and have not taken many design classes yet. They said they were very happy to be one of the top three finalists.

“It was very challenging,” said Milfort, freshman fashion design major.

The finalists were critiqued on-the-spot by the judges and responded to questions about the details of their collections. Before the winner was announced, the audience texted their favorites to a source and, together, chose Shannon Lowry and Kiara Tillman with their collection, “Futuristic Perceptions.” For their win of audience favor, Lowry and Tillman received a week devoted to shadowing designers at Tween Brands, Inc.

Tiefermann and Marvinney won the overall competition with their collection “Intergalactic Atlantis” and received a $500 gift card to Mood Designer Fabrics in New York City. “I knew she was [good], but I never expected this,” said Tiefermann’s mother, adding that her daughter must have chosen the right major.

Tiefermann and Marvinney are both sophomore fashion design majors. For their collection they got their inspiration from jellyfish, whose alien-like features proved to be a beneficial influence.

Marvinney said they worked on the project for at least a month and began pulling all-nighters in anticipation of the show.

“I was surprised; this is our first show,” Tiefermann said.

The judges agreed that it was a fantastic show and that it was difficult to pick the final three collections, let alone the top collection.

Contact Danielle DeBord at [email protected].