Three Colorado State University Department of Design and Merchandising student designers were awarded for their collections at the May 6 “All in Bloom” fashion show inside Canvas Stadium.
With a runway carpeted in green artificial turf lined with flowers, mirror balls and pink and orange uplights, the runway and music from generations past tied 14 designers’ works to the spring theme in the first live show since 2019 due to COVID-19.
Student directors Annie Lien and Jason Thornton with the DM474 Fashion Show Production and Event Planning class led the effort to transition the event from a virtual presentation to an exciting in-person event.
“This is an important culmination of the apparel design and production students’ hard work over the past four years,” said Kevin Kissell, assistant professor and capstone instructor in Design and Merchandising. “Our students are so deserving of the ritual of the live show, the VIP reception, and being able to introduce their loved ones to faculty and friends. It’s the final ending of their academic career. This is their official send-off into the fashion industry.”
Hadjis wins two awards
Elise Hadjis earned the Excellence in Construction prize for “Fish Don’t Exist.” Krista Melusky captured the Excellence in Design award for “Sparking Joy,” and Brittany Watson earned the Excellence in Innovation honor for “Chaos.” Hadjis also won the First Birdsong Outstanding Senior Capstone Collection.
Kissell said Hadjis has a double major in chemistry and has been experimenting with nano-solar technology and how to incorporate that into the weave or knit structure of the garment.
“Imagine that your clothes create the power to charge your devices,” Kissell said. “One of her jackets incorporated LED lighting around the hood and sleeve cuffs for increased visibility and utility for early morning and late night sports enthusiasts.”
Melusky, Watson show creativity
Kissell said Melusky and Watson combined problem solving and innovation.
He said Melusky came up with a more streamlined and simplified method of pattern making, where the welt pocket (in a men’s tailored jacket, for instance) was actually built into the garment pattern instead of being an additive process.
Kissell said Watson used the innovative textile printing capabilities of the prototyping lab in the Nancy Richardson Design Center. It does not require water and is sublimated onto recycled polyester fabric. Watson also sourced many of her fabrics from deadstock inventory.
The awards were presented by Kissell, Department Head Karen Hyllegard, and guest judges Heath Olson, vice president of western stores for West Tommy Hilfiger North America, Laura Coates of Seventy West and Olivia O’Neill of Krimson Klover.
A full-scale event
From gingham to fleece, sneakers to stilettos and structured pleats to billowy drapes, the students’ capstone collections displayed a diversity of concept, functionality, color and accessories. Form-fitting styles contrasted with flowing gowns and asymmetric ensembles.
The collections showcased recreational, workwear, evening gowns and outerwear, accented by thoughtful, thematic hair and makeup styling plus accessories such as sunglasses, handbags, antlers and fringe.
Avery Martin, digital media strategist for the College of Health and Human Sciences, was the emcee, while DJ Mitch Perez, a design and merchandising student, kept the upbeat vibe flowing among collections with seamless transitions from “Mr. Postman” to “Heart of Glass” and “Life in the Fast Lane.”
The student models — diverse in terms of size, age, and gender expression — used the musical cues to great advantage to highlight garment details such as psychedelic jacket linings and bustiers.
Outlooks on fashion
Before the show, a packed audience also saw a video featuring student Greg Nixon. Nixon is concentrating in apparel design and production. His collection, “Bloome,” offered functional ski apparel with a blend of natural and fluorescent colors.
After the show, a video featuring Miles Harrison, a student concentrating in product development, showcased another perspective.
Harrison, sporting his own tie-dyed hoodie design, joined Martin on stage briefly to share his advice for Rams: “Always be yourself. Don’t try to look like anyone else. Express yourself with the clothes you want to wear.”
The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.