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Sam Fox seniors to showcase capstone collections in 89th annual fashion show

Aiden Blinn | News Editor

Sam Fox School seniors majoring in fashion design will showcase their capstone collections in the school’s 89th Annual Fashion Design Show April 15.

The show, held at Third Degree Glass Factory, will be directed by Claire Thomas-Morgan, senior lecturer in fashion design Sunday at 5 p.m. Professional models will showcase each senior’s designs, the results of a lengthy process of sketching, constructing and tailoring.

According to Haley Lundberg, one of the seniors presenting her work in the show, she and the other seniors have been working on the designs for this event for quite a while.

Senior designer Karalena Davis makes final touches on her project as she waits her turn to work with a model for the Annual Fashion Design Show.Courtesy of Jennifer Silverberg

Senior designer Karalena Davis makes final touches on her project as she waits her turn to work with a model for the Annual Fashion Design Show.

“We began the process the summer before our senior year. So, our instructors told us to start researching, finding fabric swatches and start thinking about our thesis in more of a research kind of way,” Lundberg said. “They had us assemble our thesis like any scientific process. That helped us formulate and really solidify our approach to the project.”

According to Thomas-Morgan, the capstone collection is an opportunity for students to be involved with every step of the fashion design process.

“They get to do all the fabric sourcing, thinking about coming up with the customer and determining what marketplace they want to be in,” Thomas-Morgan said. “They’re really getting to do everything that goes into a designer label on their own.”

Thomas-Morgan believes that the seniors’ deep level of involvement with their projects is good practice for a job in fashion design in the real world.

“It’s almost more of what a lead designer or creative director at a company would be doing. But they get a little hands-on experience on all of it; so, when they leave they can really take those skills to all sorts of jobs,” Thomas-Morgan said.

Each collection is thematic in nature, and many students, including senior Adria Duncan, rooted their work in personal experience.

“I chose to focus on the human heart because I think it’s the center of where we all live out of and surrounds the choice we all make to live from a place of love or [of] fear,” Duncan said. “Also, my father, two years ago, was diagnosed with a heart condition, and I’ve witnessed him make his transformation within himself and how he’s lived his life and relationships.”

Senior Amanda Fosnight also incorporated a theme into her collection, drawing inspiration from the environment and sustainability to generate ideas.

“My research in college has had a lot to do with the environmental impact of the fashion industry; so, that for me is looking into different elements of sustainable design. So, really that’s where my collection started,” Fosnight said. “And then I drew actual, visual inspiration from sort of natural textures, not really cliche nature things, but different lines and things that you find in nature; particularly, I was looking at mountains and glaciers, and then layering in rocks for my inspiration.”

Additionally, Fosnight emphasized sustainability by constructing her pieces with natural ingredients.

“An example of a more environmental, sustainable thing that I was doing was dyeing with natural dyes,” Fosnight said. “So, I created a dye textile with grapes and acorns and then rust, so it created a shibori method to dye that textile.”

Students choose themes and invent designs that are designed to draw attention and inspire creativity rather than be sensible.

“Runway fashion is very different from ready-to-wear, daily clothes because you need to catch people’s eyes, and that process has to be immediate,” senior Sherry Xu said. “For me, runway looks don’t have to be practical. It’s more about expressing yourself and imagination.”

In that same vein, Duncan equates runway design to an art, distinguishing it from everyday wear.

“I really think fashion design is an art form. Yes, it’s functional, and we all have to wear clothes as a necessity, but fashion can also be sculptural or avant-garde or minimal,” Duncan said.

Lundberg finds that the artistic nature of fashion design creates a challenge because designers have to capture the audience’s attention

“The difference in designing for runway is that you’re thinking about the way that it’s going to show when you only have a few seconds to look at it,” Lundberg said. “You’re thinking more about bigger details like the way a fabric moves, if it’s shiny, if it changes the way a person walks.”

Despite its unique challenges, for the seniors, the fashion show is a chance to advertise their work and receive useful advice.

“Fashion is also a great way to promote yourself, to promote your work and also to get to know new people,” Xu said. “A lot of people who are coming to the fashion show are people currently working in the fashion industry, and they can offer you a lot of feedback.”

According to Fosnight, even with only a week remaining until the show, she is still striving to perfect her designs before Sunday’s show.

“I want to add textural details. I want to do felting over my sweaters, and I want to add some beading… to add more dimension to it,” Fosnight said. “And then thinking about how I want to style it for the show; so, that would be getting jewelry, shoes, things like that that will kind of complete the look…and make the look unified on the runway.”

Thomas-Morgan recognizes the personality of each collection and the hard work that the seniors put into their capstone collections.

“This year we have six really phenomenal seniors. They’ve really put some of their heart and soul into their collections,” Thomas-Morgan said. “Each one has some sort of hand element—something they’ve really spent a lot of time developing and creating from hand-dating to dying to laser cutting. [They] really [put] a lot of themselves in it.”