Fashion design students to showcase final works in runway fashion show


Brian Munoz

Joshua Gavel, a senior studying fashion design and merchandising from Champaign, puts together clothing for the senior design runway show Monday, April 2, 2018, in the fashion merchandising studio in Quigley Hall.

By Kitt Fresa, Features Editor

Students in the Fashion Design and Merchandising program have been working on handmade garments to present in the 2018 Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show.

Approximately 170 students across campus have contributed to the show including cosmetology students from John A. Logan Community College.

The event is free and open to the public and will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the J.W. Corker Lounge on April 26. The runway fashion show will start at 7:00 p.m. in Student Center Ballroom D.


Dr. Laura Kidd, an associate professor of Architecture at SIU and organizer of the fashion show said the first half of the show will feature garments created by freshman, sophomore and junior students.

The event will end with feature runway shows with garment collections from twelve senior fashion designers.

Kidd has orchestrated the annual fashion show and supervised the senior designers as they create their final collections since 1997.

Her duties as organizer include producing the show, writing the narrations, and collaborating with others on lighting and sound cues.

Kidd said fashion shows at the university have been going on since the 40s and 50s.

Senior designers have been working on their collections all year in preparation for the fashion show with each designer has around eight garments in a collection, Kidd said. 

“In the fall we start by the line concept and they do their designs, then they get approved,” Kidd said. “Then they have to scout all their models. They have to source all their music, they have to do the choreography for the show.”


She said each designer is responsible for sourcing all of the fabric required for their garments.

She said the senior designers prepare for a lot of the show, which showcases their collection that serves as their final.

In the second semester each of the designers do the pattern drafting to create the patterns, Kidd said. Then, they concentrate mainly on the garment fittings and preparing them to be worn for showcase.

“We usually have standing room only,” Kidd said. “I would say we have got to be one of the biggest student events. I mean we pack them in, we absolutely pack them in every single year, kind of unbelievable.”

Kidd said many people come from not only the university but the community as well.

She said it’s nice to see it all come together because there’s so much work involved in it.

One of the senior designers this year is Olivia Martinez, who said her trip abroad to France and Switzerland last summer inspired some of her work for the show. 

“I got most of my inspiration from the architecture, the colors, the streetwear that’s over there,” Martinez said. “A lot of my look this year is black, white with metallic and hints of color, mostly purple and pink.”

Martinez’s garments include dresses, skirts, pants, tops and others.

Martinez said designers start with a concept in mind, write it down and do a flat which is a drawing that selects what fabrics go where. After that designers move on to muslin fabric which is a prototype that’s tweaked until perfection.

Once the prototype is finished designers move onto actual fashion fabric which is the fabric that the outfit is going to be made out of and go on the runway, Martinez said.

Martinez said she would like to keep designing garments just like the ones for the show but she said she’s open to where the job is.

“It’s a really competitive industry so I’m looking at Nashville, Memphis, Kansas City, anywhere that I can get a job in the industry,” Martinez said. “I would ultimately like to design under a designer or be under somebody, I don’t really care to be famous at all.”

Senior Designer Emily Hennenfent said the fashion show is the biggest thing fashion students do in the major.

“It’s the biggest thing we do in our four years here so there’s a lot of work that goes into it,” Hennenfent said.

She said the fashion program slowly escalates it’s students requiring sophomores and juniors do mini-lines in anticipation for their senior year.

Hennenfent said for the fashion show sophomores create a collection of three garments, juniors create five, and seniors create eight at the minimum.

Hennenfent is going to graduate school in costume design and said she wants to do more theatrical and historically inspired costumes.

“I took inspiration from the Rococo period, Marie Antoinette kind of the luxurious exuberance that they had and I kind of modernized it using more modern colors….lots of sequins and  jacquards that they would have used back then but kind of deconstructing it,” Hennenfent said.

For some of Hennenfent’s garments she took the cages that were typically worn underneath rococo period dresses and exposed them to the outside.

“Historically they would’ve had cages and corsets underneath their gowns, but I’m kind of taking those things and pulling them out and making them visible,” Hennenfent said.

Kidd said it’s interesting to see how different the garments and collections all are.

“I really never had many years if any, where everybody seemed to come up with the same stuff, it’s always a little different,” Kidd said. “I think that’s kind of nice and it’s very interesting to see it develop. It’s always interesting to see the light bulb finally go on their head where they finally get it.”

Features Editor Kitt Fresa can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @kittfresa.

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