Fashion students show off little black dress designs

Sarah Blei

Sophomores present in annual program

Sophomore fashion design majors flaunted their designs of a “little black dress” last night in Rockwell Hall.

“The walk-off is just a way for the students to get excited about the program and to see what all the other students are doing,” said Sherry Schofield-Tomschin, associate professor at the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising.

“They had four weeks for the LBD project, from sketch to finished garment, and with a complete muslin about halfway through. This is the first garment that the sophomores have gotten to design and construct from nothing, so they are very excited.”

The “little black dress” phenomenon was introduced in the late 1920s by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Chanel emboldened this chic and sexy appeal, which went against women’s fashionable norms of that era. It was a sleeveless sheath cut just above the knee that revealed a woman’s shoulders, back and legs.

Sophomore design students were given two and a half yards of black satin fabric to create a unique “little black dress.”

The students were divided into five sections. The designs were judged by junior and senior fashion design students and faculty, and a winner was chosen from each section. The audience voted for its favorite design as well.

Winners from each sophomore class section include: Krystal Hollon, Sam Hawkins, Lindsey O’Connell, Bethany Clark and Karissa Conner. The fan favorite winner went to Abby Drake.

“It’s exciting. I wasn’t planning on winning since they pick one from each class,” O’Connell said. “Especially because I thought my class did really good.”

Conner, sophomore fashion design major, said she enjoyed the project because of the freedom it gave the designers.

“Anytime as a designer you want that creative freedom, and you don’t always get that with some of the projects we do, which I totally understand why because it is about getting your construction down and learning different techniques,” Conner said. “So sometimes they have to steer you away from some of the other stuff.”

“But it was nice because there were few limitations on this. It was the first time we really ever had free reign, and it was great. I was happy to do it as the first time we legitimately designed something.”

Conner explained how she came to the idea for her design and the process along the way.

“My little black dress is sort of architectural,” she said. “My inspiration was definitely sculpture. It was really complicated to sew and the design looks simple, but the facings were really complicated. The inside construction was the hardest part of my dress.”

Katelyn Grummel, sophomore fashion design major, discussed the inspiration for her dress.

“I designed it based off of a guy’s button-down shirt and wanted to do something with the collars and buttons,” she said. “I wanted it to be a bit uneven.

“You could tell everyone put a lot more work into what they were doing. It was something we wanted to do, not forced to do.”

Contact fashion reporter Sarah Blei at [email protected].