Fashion icon to critique seniors’ eight garments

Sarah James

Dana Buchman’s visit reflects well on program

Dana Buchman, who founded her namesake women’s fashion brand, will critique senior fashion design majors’ final collections as part of the Senior Design Critics Program.ÿ

Each of the 17 students participating will have about 15 minutes with Buchman, who will critique the clothing based on construction, concept and fabric selections. The students will show eight garments sewn in a test fabric, and Buchman will help them select four of the designs to produce for their senior fashion show.

“In the industry, you’re lucky if you get critiqued like that,” said J.R. Campbell, director of the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising. “Usually the critique is ‘I’ll buy it or I won’t.’ This process is meant to be much more supportive.”ÿ

The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave the fashion school a list of six designers interested in critiquing student work. The fashion school selected three: fashion design duo Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra, who visited Kent Oct. 21, and fashion designer Charles Nolan, whose visit was Nov. 22.

Linda Ohrn, School of Fashion Design and Merchandising assistant professor and program organizer, said the program allows both students and faculty members to connect with the fashion industry.

“It’s important for them (students) to understand that even though it (the industry) is somewhat small, there is room for a lot of personalities,” Ohrn said. “It’s a tough industry. People will tell you what they think.”ÿ

Ohrn said she considers the critique process a “reality check” for most students, who are required to watch each critique.ÿ

“It’s tough for the students to get that New York attitude when they are used to living in Ohio where we’re kind of nice about everything,” she said. “In the industry, when something is not working out, they’ll tell you it’s not working and they won’t sugarcoat it.”ÿ

Campbell said Buchman’s visit is the first proving phase of the program.

“They are going to have to have designs that are well enough thought out, well enough constructed that she can see if they are going to be successful or not,” he said.

Campbell said the critics program gives visibility and credibility to the design process while validating and supporting faculty.ÿ

“It was my imperative to make sure it was much more about the faculty connecting with the designers and building that rapport as much as the students do,” Campbell said. “We intentionally made it a public event.”ÿ

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 in the Atrium at Rockwell Hall. The critics program began in 2003 thanks to an endowment by Ronald Teare.

Contact fashion reporter Sarah James at [email protected].