Fashion students’ self-produced fashion shows gain acclaim

Yelena Tischenko

Fashion and art groups around campus go a long way to create fashion shows to get their names out and their designs shown. Just two main fashion shows, like last semester’s Art of Contrast and this semester’s Annual Fashion Show, won’t cut it for students who want to showcase their work in more than one outlet.

Fashion merchandising and design students also have good practice for the future.

“It’s good practice in communicating professionally,” said J.R. Campbell, director of the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. “Also, making sure you budget appropriately, host events, maintain and protect garments and present them in their best light. These are useful skills in terms of being to function properly in the industry.”

Students don’t realize how much work goes into pulling off a real fashion show, Morgan McMurrin, president of the Fashion Student Organization, said in an e-mail.

“Not many college students are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes of a show and it’s really exciting to take part in that,” McMurrin said.

Students from various majors, such as architecture and theatre, joined the Kent Art Collective for the mix of talent and diversity.

“There was a lot of interest from all the designers, so we were like why can’t we have our own show?” said Bethany Clark, senior fashion design major and member of Kent Art Collective. “We just wanted to make it a reality.”

Kent Art Collective’s May 5 show at the Kent Stage will feature a gallery exhibition and fashion show that will feature clothing from the senior class and some art pieces.

“The group is more than just fashion, it’s an open invitation to any artist who wants to participate in something where they can show their stuff,” said Nicole Sciria, senior fashion design major and president of Kent Art Collective.

While some organizations cater to fashion design students, Flemister Ink brings in anyone who wants to hosts a fashion show.

“I’m networking a lot and meeting a lot of people while doing this,” said Danielle Flemister, business management major and president of Flemister Ink. “It gave me leadership and improvising experience. Experience is the biggest thing for me.”

Flemister submitted paperwork to officially become a recognized student organization. After her group was approved, it started planning and advertising for its fashion show in January.

“I had a vision, interest and dream,” Flemister said. “So I made them come to life. That’s why I did it. It made me think if I have a goal, there’s no reason for me not to accomplish it.”

As more diverse, student-run organizations are being created, students experience how to run a fashion show. As their groups grow, they learn more about producing and managing their own shows through success and failure.

Katya Philmore, president and creative director of MODISTA Fashion Group, said creating a show from scratch gives her and her seven teammates great social building as well as professional skills. Producing her show taught her to agree with her team as well as coordinating schedules and working together to create a show but is worth every second of it, she said.

“I wanted it to be broad and open so there would a lot of people who want to showcase their work,” Philmore said. “We really just have an open-door policy when it comes to designers and models.”

Laura Toomey, senior fashion merchandising major and co-producer of the annual fashion show, said managing a fashion show taught her to be independent and trust her decision-making skills.

While there’s mostly good experience coming out of having a fashion show, there are downsides.

“I really encourage students to get involved in activities,” Campbell said. “Unfortunately, it can compete with their ability to do coursework. They should understand that being a student (studies) should be their top priority. What I hope they get out of having shows is exposure and a chance to think about it and how work is getting presented and how it’s being perceived.”

Contact Yelena Tischenko at [email protected].