School of Fashion resumes annual in-person fashion show

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Matthew Brown

Chloe Proffitt models for the annual fashion show on Thursday, April 28, 2022.

Benjamin Weaver, Reporter

A Kent State student models during the annual fashion show on April 28, 2022. (Savannah Monks)

The model strutted down the stage in black leggings, a purple shirt with retro gaming designs and a big green monitor for a head. This was just one of the many looks that left people talking after the show.

The School of Fashion’s annual fashion show, presented by Dillard’s, was brought to life by the work of over 152 people, mostly students, after not having an in-person show since 2019.

The show had over 50 models showcasing the work of 30 different senior fashion design and fashion merchandising majors. Each designer could have more than one piece as a part of their collection.

The show was mostly organized by students, with the help of some faculty and staff. Joanna Georges, a senior fashion merchandising, was one of the senior co-producers of the show with Mikayla Doughney, who planned everything from start to finish.

“We do have help from our faculty directors, but it is essentially ours,” Georges said. “We’re picking our management teams, we’re training our management teams, like help pick ushers and dressers and we’re teaching them everything from start to finish.”

Some designs consisted of black dresses and suits with black lace adding some three dimensional texture to the pieces. Others consisted of long robes and dresses with one or more prints.

A group of Kent State students models Janda van Dyk’s collection during the annual fashion show on April 28, 2022. (Matthew Brown)

One collection that the crowd seemed to enjoy was a collection of outfits that were predominantly red and blue with white and light browns thrown in. The collection had a dress, what could be considered a suit and two pieces of outerwear.

One thing was for sure, no two outfits looked the same.

Jayda Breiding, one of the designers and first place winner of the Rock the Runway 2020 show, had all seven

Breiding has been interested in fashion since she was younger, and she said getting the opportunity to participate in the show was a big deal for her.

I always made my Halloween costumes every year and then eventually I would start making costumes for other people. I got into … altering prom dresses for people. One season I did probably at least 50 dresses in the span of three months,” Breiding said. “That was a lot of fun and then growing clientele and meeting people and learning how to work with people just made me love it even more.”

When she got the email that said she was in the show, she was so happy that she cried, but she said she was not entirely surprised.

The process of getting work even considered for the show is a year-long process. Beginning in the spring semester of junior year, students only begin to draft up ideas for the fashion show then they must make mock-ups of their ideas which they call muslins. The next two semesters are about building on that idea and slowly bringing the final work to life.

“So for the mockups, you do have to go through another interviewing process like a judges panel and you explain your collection to them,” Breiding said.

The judges will then give critiques, recommendations and compliments about the pieces.

Marie Bukowski, interim director of the school of fashion, gives opening remarks during the annual fashion show at Kent State University on April 28, 2022. (Savannah Monks)

Before the pandemic, the event was held in-person, but last year’s show was entirely virtual being filmed and posted on YouTube.

Until about six or seven weeks ago, the plan for the fashion show was to be only a film like they did in 2021, said Joanne Arnett, faculty co-director and School of Fashion associate professor. The event was able to be held in person because of the university changing its COVID restrictions with a show film being done as well. The film will premiere on YouTube on May 1 at 7 p.m.

“[The students] have really risen to the occasion,” Arnett said. “So you can imagine they’ve been working hard since the beginning of the semester  between the two of them.”

For all the hard work the students have put in, there will be awards presented Friday at 6 p.m. The awards were already decided by the judges before the runway show, and they are the only ones who know the winners before the award ceremony.

“I think anytime there’s an opportunity to see student work showcased, people should come see it,” said Marie Bukowski, the associate dean of The Kent College of the Arts. “If not at the fashion show, any of the events that we put on all year long. We definitely want people to see what amazing things our students do.”  

Benjamin Weaver is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected]