Senior VPA fashion designers light up the runway in end-of-year fashion show

Senior fashion designers light up the runway in annual show

Thursday, April 26 marked the annual Senior Collection Fashion Show, hosted by the School of Design.
Published: April 27, 2018 | Updated: May 5th, 2018 at 8:56 am

A hum of confused chatter filled the room as a runway model broke the given path. As the audience wondered whether it was a mistake, the model shed her billowy chiffon dress to reveal a form-fitting, beige gown.

The room erupted in applause as the model strode confidently away. The audience now understood the undressing was symbolic of the theme of the collection the model wore. Mackenzie Stone had designed a synthesis of clothing depicting the causes of gender violence, and models wearing sheer garments with dripping red plastics, like blood, walked despondently down the aisles to showcase it.

Stone’s collection, called “Monsters are Bred, Not Born,” was one of 19 that debuted Thursday at the 34th Senior Collection Fashion Show, an annual event held by Syracuse University’s School of Design, which is housed within the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The show — which was held in the afternoon and evening in Goldstein Auditorium — is a culmination of an academic year’s worth of creating, designing and sewing by seniors in the school’s fashion design program. Each senior was tasked with constructing a collection of six to eight looks, which are then put on display by models from the campus community.

School of Design Director James Fathers introduced the evening show by congratulating the students in the program and thanking their supporters, including their families, friends and faculty members.

“For those of you who are blissfully unaware, this event (requires much) time, money and endless moral support, so thank you,” Fathers said.

The collections were a mix of ready-to-wear outfits that could be purchased in a clothing store and abstract pieces that used plastics, wires and, in one notable case, a cone over the breast. Jakia Nur’s ready-to-wear “Beautiful, Confident, Empowered” collection was the first of the 7:30 p.m. show. The collection comprised modest yet sexy looks — including shimmering black and gold jumpsuits and sequined dresses — for “conservative women or women of faith who feel limited to their wardrobe.”

The glitter, floral and sheer qualities used in Nur’s collection were trendy and showed in several other collections, including a noteworthy collection created by Courtney Capazzi that repurposed bridal gowns to fit into other pieces, including dresses and skirts. Angela Rose Carucci used pink and green florals and fruit prints in her ‘50s-pin-up-inspired line, and Brittany Hicks’ “Ethereal” collection showed draping whites decorated with whimsical, blue watercolor florals.

Some collections, including Andriana Gyamfi’s Indian-inspired “Heir to the Throne,” stunned the crowd with their bright pinks, oranges, yellows, greens and turquoises. The audience was also enthralled with “Becoming Tate,” a collection by Gaju Carole Niyonzima that represents “the different stages a black woman … goes through on the journey of self love.” Niyonzima’s collection was accompanied by Beyoncé’s “Freedom,” which opens with a monologue by Malcolm X, beginning with: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.”

Most collections were unified with a single theme. “Face Value” by Mackenzie Meyers featured fabrics with abstract, watercolor-esque faces. Wendy Chan’s “Deteriorate” included spine-like elements that demonstrated her personal struggle with spinal disc compression. The social media-inspired “Do You Like Me” by Alex Rosenbaum featured fabrics stitched to form iMessages, Instagram “like” hearts and censored nipples.

Each senior ended her showcase by following her models onto the stage, basking in the applause with a bow. The audience was clearly loudest for one designer, though, and not for the high quality of her collection. Rukeyah Wagner concluded the show by taking the stage with her young daughter, who had shyly walked the runway earlier but now took in the cheers with a gleeful smile.

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is a contributor to The NewsHouse at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.