Fashion is life

Pamela Crimbchin

Months of work precede models’ runway walks

Watch a video about the fashion show.

Fashion is one language the whole world can speak.

“It’s always changing,” said Brandy Weisgarber, junior fashion merchandising major. “It’s something that keeps my attention because it’s never the same, and it’s a very fast pace environment.”

The second annual “Fashion is Life” runway show, sponsored by Harambee, a student organization, and Mell Bell Inc., a business that helps plan fashion shows, is set to take place Oct. 1 in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. But before all the glitz and glamour can strut down the runway, there is a lot of work to do.

“I’m super nervous,” said Melanie Biggins, senior accounting and fashion merchandising major of Mell Bell Inc. “I’m so nervous.”

Harambee sponsored “Fashion is Life” last year, and the show was a success. When Mell Bell Inc. contacted Harambee this spring to do another show, the organization agreed.

The first thing the planning team needed to do was pick a theme for the show. Biggins was very inspired by travel and suggested the idea of “A Trip Around the World.”

“I wanted to do something to take fashion back – let’s really study and go beyond what everyone is wearing,” Biggins said. “. I want to go to a fashion show and learn things, so I feel like if you go to this fashion show, you’re going to learn a little bit.”


Where: Kent State Student

Center Ballroom

When: Oct. 18-10 p.m.

Cost: $10 for General Admission,

$20 for VIP, which comes with front row seats and refreshments

Students can contact a member of Harambee or Mell Bell Inc. for tickets or come to these locations:

&bull Tuesday, Sept. 22 from 11 a.m. –

1 p.m. in Oscar Ritchie Hall, from 12:30 – 4 p.m. in the Student Center

&bull Wednesday, Sept. 23 from 4-5 p.m. in the Student Center

&bull Thursday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m.-

4 p.m. in the Student Center

&bull Friday, Sept. 25 from 2-4 p.m. in Oscar Ritchie Hall, from 4-5 p.m. in the Student Center

Students get 50 cents off the ticket price for donating any item of wearable clothing.

The nine designers in the fashion show are pulling inspiration from a different country for their design. Countries include Greece, Italy, Brazil, Egypt and Mexico.

Designers only had to sign up to be in the show, so there was no competition to earn a spot on the runway. Once the designers were approved, they chose what country they would like to represent.

Kimberly Miller, junior human development and family studies major, is helping organize the fashion show while also designing for it. She chose Greece as the inspiration of her designs.

“It’s really romantic and elegant,” Miller said. “Just like soft, flowy draped things. So I’m trying to use the draping, but make it a little edgier. Maybe shorter skirts.”

Biggins is also designing for the show. She will be using Italy and Mexico as the inspirations for her two collections.

“A lot of silk, silhouettes, a lot of lace,” Biggins said about her designs for Italy. “I try to reflect on back in the time, in Italy, when silk and soils was really important.

“For New Mexico, a lot of flowers and bright, bright colors.”

Not all of the designers have to make full outfits. Three designers will be making T-shirts inspired by Japan, America and Native Americans, while Kori Fields, senior fashion merchandising major, will be making collars.

Planning for the show began last April and continued via e-mail, Facebook and telephone throughout the summer. During this time, many designers changed their minds.

“We’ve gone through a lot of designers that have switched in and out,” said Britany Ruby, junior fashion merchandising, who is helping to organize the show.

Designers are working hard to get their pieces finished, but with classes, jobs and other projects, the task is extremely difficult.

“Gosh I wish I had it better with time,” Biggins said. “I just don’t have enough.”

Once the designers have the pieces somewhat complete, it’s time for them to find their models.

Three model tryouts were held in order to find a minimum of 20 models. Ruby said she would have liked more people to try out so the models in the show would not have to have more than three wardrobe changes.

“I guess a lot of (people) are scared of what the audience may think,” Ruby said. “And then I know some girls are afraid to walk in heels, but that’s not even mandatory.”

Ciara Ware, senior justice studies major, has been a model in four or five other runway shows.

“Confidence is a big thing,” Ware said. “Being confident enough to go out there and model and walk.”

Weisgarber modeled in a show last spring and decided to try out for “Fashion is Life.”

“It’s just different experiences,” Weisgarber said. “It’s something to add to a résumé as well.”

Designers reviewed model sizes, walks and snapshots in order to find just the right girl for their works. If models agree to be in the show, they will meet with their designers for fittings and to go over what the designer wants out of them.

Not all of the models will be walking. The collars do not have a specific country they were inspired by, so instead of walking, the models will stand throughout the ballroom for people to view as they walk in.

Models, designers and stagehands will have three practices during the next two weeks to make sure they are prepared for opening night.

Both Haramabee and Biggins hope all the outfits are done prior to the night of the show but know there are always last minute adjustments to be made.

“I hope it’s not like this, but last year we had people ripping apart skirts and sewing them back together and safety pinning stuff back stage,” Ruby said.

During two of the practices, models and designers will work on fittings and walks.

The final practice will be in the ballroom the night before the show with everyone involved. At that practice, dancers, backstage helpers and others involved in the show will join designers and models to do a total practice run of the show.

Biggins and Ruby said they hope the practices will ensure nothing goes terribly wrong during the actual show.

“(At a show I was in) one of the designers didn’t show up, and I was in that scene,” Biggins said. “So I was like ‘What are we wearing?’ They were like ‘Just put on some of your cutest clothes,’ so I was like ‘OK’ . I’m trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Even with all the stress of finding designers, making outfits, picking models and organizing the show, everyone involved seems to love fashion shows and is excited about the final product.

“I think it will be very exciting,” Biggins said. “This is my first one (with Mell Bell Inc.), and I hope to maybe one day do it around the world.”

Contact features reporter Pamela Crimbchin at [email protected]