Instructors explain fashion show confusion

Beth Rankin

Fashion students got a taste of the real world last week when the results of their final critique were released.

For the first time in the Kent State fashion show’s 23 years, nine students were cut from participation.

Although some students were upset by the results, fashion design instructors said the news shouldn’t be a surprise, and the show will be of a higher quality as a result.

Four New York fashion designers, who have been working with senior design students throughout the year, came to Kent last week to decide which students’ work would be in the fashion show.

Shammi Chowdhury, instructor and director of the fashion show, said before this year only student-made garments were cut from the show, not entire students. The individual garments were excluded because of their poor construction quality.

“It should be a privilege to be in the show — not a right,” Chowdhury said. “We want to showcase quality, not quantity.”

Elaine Thomas, fashion design and merchandising instructor, said throughout the past year, the instructors helped students fix problems with garments’ fitting while the critics focused on improving the design.

According to students’ syllabi, any changes suggested by critics and instructors that were not carried out would disqualify their work from the show. It also stated that completing all required work does not guarantee admittance in the fashion show.

While some students said there was confusion about whether they should listen to their instructors or the critics, instructor Linda Ohrn said students were told the critic always had the final say. However, she understood that getting feedback from more than one person might be confusing.

“You’re always going to have that issue when you’re dealing with two people. Even in the industry, you’re going to have to deal with it,” Ohrn said.

Senior fashion design major Eric Frank said he was pleased with his critiques from designer R. Scott French. He said the feedback he received and the changes he made helped to make his collection more marketable and cohesive.

“It worked out so much better,” he said. “They really know what they’re talking about.”

Thomas said that whether or not a student was selected to participate in the show, the most important thing to take away from this experience is a quality education.

“At the end of the process, my biggest hope is everyone can grow from it and just feel they learned,” she said.

Contact fine and professional arts reporter Emily Rasinski at [email protected].