All eyes on the Enigma

Sarah Blei

VIEW photos from the event.

Immaculate senior fashion design collections manifested themselves at Rockwell Hall last night for the 26th annual senior portfolio fashion show: “Enigma.”

Senior fashion design majors began sketching their designs about a year ago. Students narrowed their designs down to three or four looks for the show. Suede, a contestant on season five of “Project Runway,” and Tad Boetcher from the clothing line “tad b” gave feedback to the students throughout the year about their designs. Both are Kent State alumni.

“I was so pleased with the progress on all levels,” Suede said in an e-mail. “I am proud of each and every student who presented a collection.”

Kayla Shaw, senior fashion design major, said the inspiration for her collection was reggae music.

“I did a lot of research on how the beginning of reggae music started and of the whole Rastafarianism lifestyle,” Shaw said. “I can relate my designs to ‘Enigma’ because reggae can kind of be a mystery because of how it all exactly started.

“The way it started was a whole bunch of music genres mixing together because in Jamaica, they would get signals from all these different radio stations everywhere, so they would mix it all together and make their own music – which became reggae. You definitely know what reggae is today, but it is kind of a mystery on what exactly went into making it.”

Shaw took the mystery of reggae music and transformed that ideology into her designs. She mixed fabrics that aren’t usually put together in designs to complement her beach resort theme with reggae inspired colors.

“The collection is maroons, dark greens, yellows and various shades of each,” Shaw said. “The whole point of my collection is that I’m mixing really unusual fabrics together.

“I sewed chiffon to leather, and you don’t see that too often, and then mixing a knit all in the same thing.”

The designs Shaw showed were a swimsuit with a cover-up, a cotton and knit floor-length tube dress with a shoulder drape, shorts with a chiffon bubble top and a chiffon-leather skirt with a hooded tank top.

Mallory Mason, senior fashion design major, showed her collection, which was inspired by Pop Art.

“I based my whole collection off of Pop Art and how the Pop Art movement changed the way art is looked at as a whole,” Mason said. “And the way that afterwards, art wasn’t taken as seriously, and people started to have more fun and basically play on popular things.”

Mason made three looks for her collection. She focused around a spring/summer collection and constructed a dress, a tank top with shorts and a swimsuit with a cover-up.

“I think my bathing suit is really fun – not something you would usually see,” she said. “It’s all very modern. I went off of a silhouette from the 60s for the bathing suit. That era in general was my inspiration – the era of when change occurred.”

Mason designed a turquoise high-waisted swimsuit with a yellow bandeau top that peaks through the front. Over top laid a cover-up that makes a circle around the model’s body, with slits for the arms and head.

Laura Ireton, senior fashion design major, made garments based on various rays, such as cosmic, gamma and X-rays.

“It’s kind of like the mystery of how something can be invisible or ridiculously crazy with colors,” Ireton said. “So when I translate that to my designs, I used the contrast between pure white fabric and neutral nude chiffon. And then I also have crazy prints that have a lot going on with them. It is a translation of simple to crazy.”

Shaw reflected upon the experience she has had through the fashion design program at Kent State.

“The best thing is what you learn about yourself in relation to fashion,” she said. “I feel like everything in the end now points you to the direction you want to go. This experience has given me my identity as a designer.”

Suede offered some advice to seniors as they prepare to graduate and enter the fashion industry.

“Be determined, be flexible, be smart and SPONGE – soak up everything you can and learn as much about the industry as possible,” he said. “Don’t burn bridges and remove emotion from your business life.”

Contact the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising reporter Sarah Blei at [email protected].