Designs created as a tribute to their home country and fashions made for people with nonverbal autism were some of the chosen collections for awards given at Friday’s School of Fashion award ceremony.
Twelve of the 14 winners are fashion design students graduating in May who have been working toward this moment for upward of three semesters.
“The whole process started my second semester of my junior year where we had to write up our thesis proposals,” Janda van Dyk, a senior fashion design major, said.
Van Dyk won the TechStyleLAB Award. This award is for a collection or design that uses textile digitalization and technology innovatively.
“I was so excited,” van Dyk said. “I custom designed and printed all of my fabric, including the lining and everything.”
Van Dyk’s collection was a homage to her South African heritage.
“I’m originally from South Africa and then my family and I emigrated to the U.S. in 2014,” she said. “My collection is titled “Acculturation” because it is where two polarizing cultures come together and respect aspects of each culture.”
One textile she designed featured a mosaic of the South African national deer, a springbok.
Jayda Breiding, another senior fashion design major, took home two awards; the Market Ready Award and the Best in Show Award. The Market Ready Award is given to a student who has a collection or design ready to be sold in the fashion market.
“I cried,” Breiding said after the ceremony.
Breiding designed seven looks with the purpose behind her designs for people with nonverbal autism. All seven designs were featured in the show.
“Each garment has a feature to it that helps with some type of like sensory sensitivity,” she said. “The fabrics are picked specifically for people so it’s not irritating at all, even down to the patches on the jacket.”
Breiding’s biggest takeaway was all about the construction and engineering that went into making easily accessible designs.
“I don’t want clothes just to be clothes,” she said. “I want them to be something that actually helps people.”
The night started with the featured designs modeled on the runway.
Kayla Burlingame, a senior fashion merchandising student, modeled for two of the designers.
“I’m just really proud of everyone,” she said. “It’s really cool to see how everything came together.”
Following the show was the awards ceremony and a dessert reception.
At the reception, the designers mixed and mingled with friends, supporters and the people that modeled their clothes.
Marie Bukowski, assistant dean of the College of Arts and acting director of the School of Fashion, stayed through the reception.
“It’s just amazing, seeing everything come together and just the energy on the runway,” she said. “I could watch it again and again.”
Going forward, Bukowski wants the graduating seniors to follow their passion.
“It’s done so well for them so far,” she said. “Just keep following their dreams no matter what.”
For all of these seniors, it is one of their last big shining moments at Kent State.
“I would say this was definitely the hardest thing I’ve done so far,” van Dyk said. “It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But at the end of the day, I’m so happy and I think that if you’re a designer or creative in any field, you should just go for it and pour your heart into it and stay true to who you are.”
Katherine Masko is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]