Fashion’s Fall Season Full of Winning Moments
The Lindenwood University J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts was packed as 60 St. Louis area students from 9 different schools walked their designs down the runway during the 2018 Fall Fashion Show. The sold out event was truly special for our North Tech senior designers, who all participated and then celebrated as their classmate Kaylyn Gillespie was awarded first place!
Gillespie, an active full day senior who serves as the Fashion Club president and mentors students through the A+ program at Ackerman, plans to attend either Missouri Western or Lindenwood after graduation. She has long been interested in fashion design and other creative professions, saying her mother has always called her the “most imaginative” of her children. “I was the kind of kid who would take a cardboard box and just turn into something else,” she said. Gillespie continues to pursue that creativity as she explores new hobbies and career pathways. “My newest passion is photography and I also love baking,” she said as she described her vision of a future that includes owning a boutique and/or cafe. She plans to major in some combination of business management, entrepreneurship, and fashion design depending on her final school choice.
Prepping for the show was no cakewalk, “It was stressful and frustrating. I was so nervous…” said Gillespie who confessed she only managed to sleep for two hours the night before the event. “But I have a great support system in this class,” she continued, “they all kept me going and, in the end, I did it!” This level of support for each other is common among the program’s students according to their instructor Shan Oliver. “These students always root each other on, they critique each other in a way that makes them even better,” he said as he described the way his class really gels by embracing teamwork and support.
Students competing in the fashion show were required to create one garment to participate according to the contest rules, but Oliver had the students create one complete look instead. He then guided them through a model casting from which 13 North Tech students were selected to walk the runway in the designers’ creations, including junior Fashion Design student Jasmine Gray who modeled for Gillespie. Additionally, our Cosmetology students assisted with pre-show hair styling and 3 of them joined the team on show day to assist with hair and makeup, producing results that were dramatic and impressive. “There were a lot of great looks on the runway and I was so proud of myself,” Gillespie said. Oliver feels that she “has a very promising career ahead of her.”
Juniors in Fashion Design also had a busy month as they competed in a mini “Project Runway” event at Tech. Oliver, a former competitor on Project Runway himself, crafted the assignment in which teams of students created a collection of 4 looks based on a trending topic. Students were given 3 weeks to create their garments which they shared with a group of judges via a runway show followed by descriptive presentations of their design choices.
Our show judges for the mini Project Runway included: Jo Flannery, Education Director of the St. Louis Fashion Fund; Dwight Carter, CEO and Director of Brainchild Productions, Michael Shead, fashion designer; Angela Harris, owner of Edgychic Boutique; and North Tech staff members Cher’ron Jones, Earlene Hicks, and Davina Reid. Judging criteria examined time management, cohesiveness, theme execution, and fit.
Jordyn Rice, Ayanna Lyles, Jasmine Gray, and Sadionna Fleming won the competition with their chosen theme of abuse (other themes were #metoo, discrimination, and military service). The team created looks using red to signify the violence and anger of abuse, black to signify depression and loss, and transparent fabrics to signify vulnerability along with silver accents. The four pieces followed a cycle of abuse beginning with love, then verbal abuse, physical abuse, and finally moving on from abuse. Some garments drew inspiration from reality like a jacket designed with elements similar to a straight jacket, connoting the trapped feeling one in an abusive relationship experiences. All students said the project was very demanding but they also had a lot of fun. “They were so passionate and worked very well together,” said Oliver confirming they deserved their first place win. “The whole class worked so hard and I’m very proud of the time and effort they put into this assignment,” he said.
Fostering creativity and independent work is the mission of our arts related programs at Tech. Students interested in learning sewing, pattern making, design fundamentals, and more should visit http://northtechnical.org/application/ to submit an application for Fall 2019.