Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Serving the Southern Illinois University community since 1916.

The Daily Egyptian

Dominique Martinez-Powell |
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Fashion students showcase skills with eclipse designs and vintage garments

Daylin Williams
Aaron Elliott sewes eclipse themed design for the Fashion Studies Student Showcase Fashion Show April 1, 2024 at Quigley Hall in Carbondale, Illinois. Elliott was inspired by American folk wear and says “Theres nothing more American than denim.” [email protected]

Student fashion designers are putting the final touches on a vast array of garments to be featured in the Fashion Studies’ Student Showcase Fashion Show April 25 at  7 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. 


This year’s lines include eclipse-related garments, along with more typical clothes. The show doesn’t usually have a theme, but organizers wanted to tie it in with the biggest event of the year: the total solar eclipse.



Some of the students were each given a phase of the eclipse to inspire them. A junior going by the single name Lisa was assigned the after-effects of totality.


So, I have two looks that are kind of like dark representing the actual Eclipse and then my next two looks are like representing the flowers opening back up and like nature going back to its original phase,” she said.


Lisa was working on a trio of bows, one sheer white with a narrow black ribbon, the others black with white accents. The white bow was for a dress, while the black ones were for the models’ hair.



“I’m definitely going through a bow phase right now,” she said.


Junior Aaron Elliott was assigned the second interphase part of the eclipse, which produces a phenomenon called Bailey’s Beads, an effect created when the outer rim of the moon’s typography allows only beads of light to pass through. To represent this, Elliott is scattering small bells across a swath of denim.


His collection heavily features the traditional fabric, as he favors American folk wear.


“I mean, what’s more American than denim,” he said.


Elliott is also representing another phenomenon called the diamond ring effect by embroidering pieces of mirror on a dress to catch the light. He said the eclipse theme gave him direction.


“My interpretation of it was, what would you be like if you didn’t know what a solar eclipse was? How would you want to do it? How would you celebrate it? So, I imagined that these people are trying to get the sun to come back, because the sun does give us life. So, these people are having a celebration of sorts,” he said.


Lisa said, despite having a common theme, the eclipse collections “couldn’t be less alike.”


“We all just kind of took it and ran with it basically,” she said.


The student designers not working on eclipse garments base their designs on chosen decades. For senior Kylah Smith, that means the 1930s.


“Like any type of Harlem Renaissance time period, where fashion trends were really big and what people were wearing was most important because, right after the Great Depression, clothes were starting to become a thing again. People were starting to be able to wear what they wanted, especially women. Women were able to start wearing pants instead of wearing dresses or skirts traditionally. So that’s really what I wanted to focus on,” she said.


Her collection features peaches and pinks contrasted with neutral shades. One of her pieces is a pink romper, the type of which was quite popular as beach wear in the 30s.


A freshman who goes simply by Jada is also favoring pink, creating a dress with bows designed to evoke a 70s ballerina’s outfit.


“So far it’s not done, but I promise you it will be cool,” she said.


Jada said she doesn’t pay much attention to what’s happening in the wider fashion world.


“I feel like everybody has their own taste. I feel like that’s the whole point of fashion is that everybody is very different. Everybody’s bringing something to the table, you know. I try to just be more like, whatever I feel is more of my taste,” she said.


Student designer Noah Eaton is going darker, harkening back to the film noir vibe of the 1940s.


He said the goal is to modernize a look while staying true to the vintage feel.


“I went with that sort of aesthetic of like trench coats and suiting. But my specific design perspective is sort of like genderless clothing that anyone can wear. So, I have like a suit gown, for instance, that a male model is wearing. And then my female model is wearing a trench coat look. And then I have another male model wearing a skirt,” Eaton said.


He said it’s important that the garments flow naturally while the model struts along the catwalk.


“If you want something really dramatic, the flow just lends itself to that,” Eaton said.


Freshman Chloe Antoine agrees. She’s working on the longest dress in the show. She chose a colorful floral fabric to match the feel.


“It’s flowy, like something I could see myself in,” she said.


Antoine worked with her model, Emily Brinkman, to pick out the fabric.


“I just kept sending her pictures until we figured out what would look best with her skin tone and hair, what we could accessorize with it best,” Antoine said.


The student showcase will allow her to demonstrate her work, she said.


“I can actually show off my skills, what I did throughout the semester, a glimpse of what I could do in the future,” Antoine said.


Lisa is also looking forward to a chance to show off.


“It’s literally our blood, sweat and tears are going into this,” she said. “So it’s definitely a big event that I always look forward to.


Senior lecturer Judy Huyck said the showcase also lets parents see what their tuition dollars are being used for in a way that’s more effective than a grade report.


“They actually see what those grades reflect and what the students have put in and all the work that they have put in,” she said.


Hyuck said she hopes the audience comes away saying: “’Wow! So this is what this department does. This is what Fashion Studies in the School of Architecture puts out.’ Yeah. It’s a neat program, and the only one in the state of Illinois.”






















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