Fashionable finale

Mar 212007
Authors: Amanda Hudick

Senior apparel and merchandising majors have just one semester to create a masterpiece with knowledge accrued over four years of gathered education.

With an average audience of about 350 to 400 people a night, the students feel the pressure of producing a fashion show and everything it entails – something they’ve been learning to do their entire college career.

“(My line is) inspired by the Brother’s Grimm fairy tales and it’s about not taking fashion too seriously,” said Heidi Thompson, senior apparel and merchandising major and participant in the show.

Students had the fall semester to design and produce five ensembles, each of which is composed of one to four garments in product categories including business wear, sports wear, maternity wear, evening wear and snowboarding wear. Each line of apparel is carefully created to get the attention of a specific target market.

Each week of the spring semester, students meet in committees to work on anything from promotions and stage design to modeling and hospitality.

The event is called the Senior Apparel Design Show, “Breaking the Silhouettes,” and consists of about 23 designers and 20 other students who produce the show.

The showcase is “a venue for the seniors to showcase the culmination of four years of work,” said Eulanda Sanders, associate professor for apparel and merchandising.

Carrie Cantwell, a senior apparel and merchandising major and participant in the show, said her line targets women’s casual business and includes jackets, pants and skirts.

When asked how long it took to complete her line, Cantwell replied, “I don’t even want to think about it.a very long time.”

The creation of each student’s line of apparel takes a tremendous amount of time and effort.

“The process involves the use of computer-aided design technology,” Sanders said, “for market research, concept development, technical drawings, textile designs, first production patterns, production samples, specification sheets/production guides, costing and computerized presentation of all work.”

“Students in the program must also plan, promote and present the show on both evenings,” according to a press release covering the show.

When asked why she chose to participate in the show, Thompson replied, “Why’s a great way to showcase to the rest of the school what we actually do in the apparel design program.”

In December, industry judges assessed the lines of apparel of each participating student. Unlike in the past, a different judge was invited to evaluate solely the construction of the garments.

There are eight awards students have the chance to win in the program. They are: Best Line Concept, Best Construction, Best Target Market Definition, Best Textile Design, Best Trendsetter, Best Specialty Market, Best Special Occasion, and Best of Show.

The Best Specialty Market award honors the student who best represents a line for a lesser-acknowledged market. The award for the student who develops the best line for a specific event is the Best Special Occasion honor.

“I feel I really hit my target market, and produced a few unique pieces,” said Cantwell.

Only seniors in the AM446 Apparel Design and Production capstone course are allowed to participate.

Thompson, who attended last year’s show, said the most enjoyable part was “figuring out how the pieces go together” and the support from her peers.

“My favorite part of the show is the excitement of the first night and seeing all the hard work of the designers and the students putting on the show come together,” Sanders said.

Sanders and Karen Hyllegard teach the courses responsible for creating the clothing displayed in the showcase.

“Breaking the Silhouettes” is produced by sophomores, juniors and seniors in the Apparel Show Production course. These students have either a merchandising or apparel design and production concentration. The Show Production students work on finding models, promoting the showcase, organizing the apparel lines and designing the stage setup.

The event has been held annually at CSU for over 30 years and takes place every spring semester and is sponsored by the Department of Design and Merchandising.

The judging panel consists of industry experts Debra Catlow, Julia DiVerdi, Rosemary Girard and Karie Koplar.

This year, all the judges are residents of Colorado and one is a returning judge. Each judge has had experience working in the apparel industry.

In the 2006 show Eun Jeong Harrington, who now works for Rebecca Taylor in New York City, was the Best in Show winner. The 2006 Best Line Concept was Kelly Bryant, a current employee for Sierra Designs in Colorado.

Some former participants in the show now work for businesses including Tracey Reese, American Eagle, Mavi in NYC, and more locally, Rocky Mountain Clothing Company, Goldbug, Spyder and Pearl Izumi.

CSU’s College of Applied Human Sciences is the only college in Colorado to offer a bachelor’s degree program in apparel design and production through the Department of Design and Merchandising.

According to the show’s press release: “The program ensures students’ mastery of LECTRA, the leading computer-aided design software used in the industry today, and imparts students with invaluable industry experience through participation in study tours and professional internships.”

Amanda Hudick can be reached at


*Tickets are $8 for students, $15 for non-students.

*Event will take place in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.

*Two showings: March 26 and 27 at 7 p.m.

*Tickets are available at the Campus Box Office and will also be sold at the door.

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