Students got the opportunity to show off their original fashion designs for not only exposure, but the chance to win a scholarship at the 12th annual African American Textile Society Fashion Expose last Thursday in Stewart Theatre.
AATS has held this show every year in an effort to showcase the talents of participating students in textiles. Participating in the show were nine designers, eight of which majoring in textile and apparel management and each with their own unique style and theme. The show was judged by a group of professionals and faculty, and hosted by an entertaining Gabriel Ross, a senior in arts applications, who performed impressions of Barack Obama, accents and other random but interesting gestures throughout the show.
Richelle Smith, a senior, presented a line called “Follow the Graffiti Brick Road.” She described her line as “urban style dresses with graffiti prints.” Her theme was very evident in the patterned dresses she presented, in colorful shades. Many of her dresses had cutouts in the back while models walked the runway to “Fire Fire” by music artist M.I.A.
Also a senior, the next designer Grace Beal’s line was called “Back in the Hop.” She described it as “evolved silhouettes from the 1950’s, inspired by an icon of the era.” Her line was full of fun spring colors such as pink, white and green and full skirts; some of which had bows fashioned at the waist on the back. Her dresses were fitted on top, but full on the bottom and allowed much freedom of movement.
Jasmine Doltie, a junior, presented spring dresses in beautiful shades as well, in her line called “How Does Your Garden Grow?” Doltie’s dresses were charming in shades of royal blue, blue and green to name a few; some of which had carefully placed flower details that really made the garden theme come alive. Doltie described her line as ” Garden Party dresses with silk floral accents, following the garden’s evolution from bud to bloom.”
Although he was the only male designer in the show, Garry Atkinson, a senior in industrial design did not shy away from the bright and fun colors that are representative of spring in his line called “Illusion Brand.” Atkinson showcased impressive needlework, showing creative men’s shorts with patches of bright color. The colors included a bright aqua, yellow and purple. Atkinson described Illusion Brand as “Lifestyle gear for strong minded thinkers of the future.”
“Hedda Maria” was student Marissa Monroe’s line, which represented and followed the progression of flowers (growth). Her line was an array of dress lengths and shapes and ranged from subtle green to a long pink dress with a yellow and blue sheer layer on top of it. Hedda Maria was described as “a variety of spring dresses and hair accessories that resemble the natural progression of a flower.”
For intermission, Jared Fontaine, Ayesha Atkinson and Sean Ingram graced the stage with spoken word performances. Fontaine detailed his close affair with poetry, while Atkinson discussed her thoughts of people’s misuse and neglect of time. Ingram encouraged the audience to go for their dreams while accompanied by a band two men on drums and a guitar, playing in the background as he spoke.
When the show resumed, models strutted down the white runway carefully holding teacups palm up in one hand for seniors Claire Stanhope and Brittany Erb’s line “Les temps sont durs por le reveurs” titled in French. They presented black fitted dresses, some with red zippers up the back, and several floral prints, as well as a few flowing dresses. The line is described as “Fabulous, fancy, flirty frocks.”
A metaphoric representation of life and finding your path” was used to describe junior Ashley Tucker’s line called “Baptized in Black Light.” The line included both men’s and women’s clothes full of cardigans, risen pants and leggings in shades of black, purple, gray and white. Models walked to “Amazing” by hip-hop artist, Kanye West.
The audience was in for a real treat when senior Jessica Fulks broke the traditional runway method that prevailed throughout the night so far, by including campus dance group DanceVisions in the presenting of her line “Lache’ .” Members of the dance company reached out with flowing arms to models entering the runway in clothes in a variety of styles and shapes, with full and fitted skirts and dresses that were almost geometric and varied in length.
Her line included red, black and white. In the description of her line, Fulks wrote “Shown through rough edges and the contours of the fabric, I wanted to shine light on what is known as too urban to be considered high fashion.”
The final designer for the night to showcase her work was Kim Ray, a senior who is also majoring in business administration, whose line was called “Insane Serenity.” She described her line as “Ready-to-Wear apparel inspired by the bright colors and bold prints of the 60’s.” Ray’s line included spring and summer worthy short jumpsuits as well as full dresses and fitted long body flattering dresses with cut outs in flirty places such as the back or side of the body. Her color palette included aqua, white, and pretty patterns.
While the judges deliberated, Tashonda Haugabrook performed with a small band for the audience to enjoy. Designer Kim Ray won first place, and $400. “I am very excited about winning, I worked really hard for this day; practically everyday of the week this semester and it paid off” said Ray. ” I was really surprised when I heard my named called for first place because I wasn’t sure if I was going to win because there were so many great designers in the show. I am happy to have won, and hopefully there will be more exciting things to come in the future” she said.
The judges awarded Fulks second place and $200, as well as Best in Show, while the attendees voted her showcase Audience Favorite. In reference to the awards Fulks expressed her desire to win first place but said “Kim did a really great job on her line.”
She also said “My models were fun to work with as well as DanceVisions, so I’m happy that WE got Best in Show.” Fulks expressed how pleased she was that so many people in the audience liked her line and she felt that the show went well.
The event was very organized and well worth the ticket price that not only gave students a chance to show off their designs, but their ability to put together a great show as well. Students were provided with each designer’s email in each program schedule, in case they wanted to inquire about any of the designs they saw in the show.