Fashion School prepares for annual portfolio show

Kristen Kotz

Fashion icon will attend senior show on Friday

Senior design major Emmy Woodhall works on her designs for the senior fashion show in the Rockwell studio. CAITLIN PRARAT | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: John Proppe

Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta will be in attendance at the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising’s annual portfolio fashion show April 20. The world-famous designer will be inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame.

The show will feature the collections of 23 fashion design students. Each of the student collections will feature three to four pieces the students have created.

Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, an assistant professor at the school, who teaches the senior construction course, said the students started designing in the fall semester.

“I help with the construction of the garments, fitting the models and whatever fashion show productions needs me to do,” she said.

The students also took a trip in the fall with the fashion school faculty to New York to buy their final fabrics.

Ohrn-McDaniel said the students have gone through several critiques from a group of critics, who gave them feedback on their collections. They are also required to make test garments before they make their final ones. The students then had the opportunity to revise their collections before the final critique, which took place the Monday after spring break, she said.

Shammi Chowdhury, an instructor at the school who is in charge of putting together the portfolio show, said not all the seniors have their individual collections in the show.

“Being in the show is a privilege, not a right. Sometimes they (the students) forget that,” she said.

All seniors will be part of the show in some way, as they all worked on a group collection that is in the show, Ohrn-McDaniel said. Select juniors are also going to be part of the show with their menswear collections, she said.

Chowdhury said the decisions are based on the constructions of the garments in the collection, the ability of the student to meet deadlines and how well the student’s collection goes along with the theme.

The theme for this year’s show is “La Noche,” or “The Night.” One thing different about this year’s show is that the students were given individual themes and the overall theme was based on the students’ collection. Chowdhury said that she didn’t like this approach because it seems like the designs are all over the place.

Marissa Atkins, a senior fashion design major, is one of the students in the fashion show. Her collection is called “Flight of Fantasy,” which is inspired by the World War II era, she said.

It consists of two shorts and tops with a jacket, a jacket and a skirt, and a dress. The collection is casual and made from cotton fabric.

Atkins said she is relieved her senior portfolio is finally finished.

“It’s a lot of work, and sometimes it’s tedious and really stressful,” she said. “But when its over with, it’s nice to look back and be proud of where you come from over the years and just to be done with a collection.”

Christina Tucholski, another senior fashion design major, is also going to be in the fashion show. Her collection is called “Black Magic” and consists of three black cocktail dresses and a jacket in different fabrics. Tucholski said that it took her about 150 hours to complete sewing on one of her pieces.

“It has been a year in the making,” she said.

The students also have to fit their garments to models, who are Kent State students who were selected by Chowdhury in a model call.

The show is being held this Friday, April 20, in the Kent Student Center Ballroom. There will be two shows, a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening show at 7 p.m.

Oscar De La Renta is only going to be at the 7 p.m. show. The doors open at 1:30 for the 2 p.m. show and 6:30 for the 7 p.m. show. The cost is for the matinee is $20 for students and $65 for all others. The evening show is $200. Anyone interested in attending can call 330-672-4645, Monday through Friday from noon to 2 p.m. to order tickets. All profits from the show go to the fashion school.

Senior Portfolio Show

When: April 20

Time: 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Cost: 2 p.m. show — $20 for students and $65 for all others, 7 p.m. show (Oscar De La Renta in attendance) — $200

The cost of tuition, room and board, and textbooks are some expenses college students face. Fashion design students, however, are also required to purchase materials such as fabric and drawing supplies for their major. These costs can really add up for students.

Fashion Design students have to buy muslin, which is a simple cotton fabric students use to test out designs when creating their collections.

This cost of muslin is about $2 per yard for students, said Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, an assistant professor at the School of Fashion Design and Merchandising who teaches fashion design students.

“In the first couple of years they don’t have to buy as much fabric or materials because some of it is provided,” Ohrn-McDaniel said. “But they also use muslin, which is a cheap fabric that they use as a test fabric, is not as costly when they get in the upper levels and they start working in finer fabrics that cost a little more. So that’s the main cost.”

Ohrn-McDaniel said as the students move along in the program, they are encouraged to use higher quality fabrics in lower quantities. The cost of a higher-quality fabric such as silk can vary greatly from store to store, and can range from $10 per yard to $60 per yard.

However, while fashion design students do have to buy their own materials, they do not have to purchase as many textbooks for their major as other students, Ohrn-McDaniel said.

Students also have to buy markers for blending colors on fabrics. Markers cost about $4, and students need them for every color of fabric they use. Students also have to buy their own thread and bobbins for their projects.

Orhn-McDaniel says that the senior year is the most expensive for design students because of the portfolio project.

Marissa Atkins, a senior fashion design major, said she agreed with this. She said she spent at least $1,000 on materials her senior year. About $150 dollars of this went toward the 75 yards of muslin she used to make the test patterns for her collection. She also estimated that she has spent about $3000 on materials for her major over the past four years.

Atkins said her portfolio was probably her single most expensive item. It cost her about $120 for the case and about $4 for each of the 30 page covers she put in it.

“All of your materials you use throughout your career, so it’s almost an investment in what you’re doing in your future,” Atkins said. “For instance, with my portfolio, that was the most expensive thing I bought, but it is going to get me a job. “

Atkins has been able to afford the materials thanks to help from her parents and working in high school. She also had a scholarship, which she used at the University Bookstore to buy her materials.

Some of the drawing materials fashion design majors have to buy are colored pencils, tailor’s chalk, sketch books and rulers.

Senior design major Christina Tucholski said most students understand they will have to spend money on materials.

“If you want a cool project, you will have to spend money,” Tucholski said.

Atkins said she went through about two sketch books a year at about $5 a piece.

One way design students can save money is by buying muslin when it’s on sale and by shopping at discount fabric stores, Ohrn-McDaniel said. Atkins suggested students buy refills for their markers instead of buying new ones and buy materials with friends and split the cost.

The Price of Fashion:

Kent State Tuition: $8,000 per semester

Markers: $4 each

Fabrics: Muslin-$2 per yard; Silk-$10 to $60 per yard

Sketch Books: $5 each

Portfolio: $120 for case; $120 for page covers

Total Cost of Materials over 4 years: $3000

Contact fashion design reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].