Fashion design students upset over critics’ choices for show

Emily Rasinski

While most students celebrate the culmination of college by walking across a stage and getting a diploma, Kent State fashion students celebrate by watching models wear their garments and strut down a runway.

But many students feel this opportunity was unfairly taken from them.

“Our fashion show is our walk,” said Greer Keeble, senior fashion design major, “and now the fashion show doesn’t mean a whole lot.”

Many fashion design students voiced discontent yesterday, claiming the way guest critics and professors judged their work was unfair. They said the teachers and critics gave contradicting instructions.

Senior fashion design student Emily Plaskett said there was a lot of confusion between what the teachers told them to do and what the fashion critics wanted.

“Who do you listen to?” Keeble added, whose collection, London Unwashed, was accepted into the show. “There were too many hands in the pot.”

Elaine Thomas, instructor in the School of Fashion Design, said the judging was based upon different criteria including quality of construction, appropriate choice of fabric and cohesiveness of the collection.

The students were judged only by the critics, Thomas said, and they decided which students’ designs will be featured in the annual spring fashion show called Silverscreen.

The critics were: men’s wear designer R. French Scott, women’s wear designer Eric Gaskin and illustration and design team Ruben and Isabel Toledo. Scott and the Toledos visited campus Tuesday, and Gaskin communicated via the Internet from New York.

The critics selected 24 out of the 33 students who entered their designs into the show.

Keeble, whose work was judged favorably, said they were required to conform their designs to whatever the critic wanted.

“Even though they are our designs, it’s like they own them,” she said. “You’re kicked out of the show if you don’t conform.”

Besides the confusion and forced conformity, Plaskett, whose work didn’t make the show, said the reason her collection was rejected is because of a dispute about some of the shirts she made for a fall semester class. She said a teacher claimed she did not make two of the shirts in her collection. Because of this disagreement, Plaskett said she is not able to participate in the show and might be kicked out of school for plagiarism.

“Everything she questioned, I had an answer for,” Plaskett said of her teacher’s accusations. She added that there were incorrect technical aspects of the shirts she said proves she designed them instead of purchasing them.

“They would have never made it to the sales floor,” she said. “There is no way I could have bought them.”

Plaskett, along with the other students who didn’t make the show, was informed of her rejection via e-mail.

Keeble said that even though her garments will be featured in the show, she has lost her excitement for it.

“I was worried I wasn’t getting in, but it wasn’t for my satisfaction,” she said. “It was for my parents’. What else proves I did all this work? We have worked four years for the show. Everyone deserves to be in the show.”

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