After months of sketching, shopping and sewing, 32 student fashion designers sent their original lines down the runway before a high-energy crowd of several hundred friends, family and community members.
“Going from sketches to seeing it live on a model was just amazing,” said Katie Faliski, a sophomore from Florida, N.Y., whose “Rendezvous” collection won a first-place award at the Student Fashion Society’s annual Spring Fashion Show on March 10.
A 25-year tradition that’s among the most popular events on campus, the show offers students in one of SUNY Oneonta’s largest and most unique academic programs the chance to put the skills they’ve learned in the classroom into practice. Before making it to the runway, each garment must pass a rigorous inspection by Dr. Annacleta Chiweshe, Associate Professor of Fashion and Textiles and adviser to the Student Fashion Society.
“I pulled a few all-nighters,” admitted Kaitlyn Keicher, a freshman from Catskill, N.Y., whose four-piece collection, “Destined,” won second place in the freshman/sophomore division. When the big night arrived, the thrill of seeing her original creations in the spotlight made all the hard work worthwhile. “It was awesome,” she said. “It made me realize that this is really what I want to do.”
During the two-hour show, more than 100 student models strutted down a runway constructed for the event in the Dewar Arena of the Alumni Field House. Collection themes ranged from “Cocktail Hour” to “Life’s a Circus,” and the garments unveiled ran the gamut from halters and shorts to trailing gowns. Each line was evaluated by a panel of judges based on a variety of criteria, including innovation, craftsmanship, fit, presentation and salability, and the winners were announced at the end of the show.
Senior Kelsey Minnich placed first in the junior/senior division for “Sun Kissed,” a four-piece collection designed for an upscale beach vacation. “To actually create a garment that someone is going to wear and use in everyday life — and that’s considered a piece of art — is really fulfilling for me,” said Minnich, who has been sewing since she was 7 and aspires to a career designing theater costumes.
The 150-member Student Fashion Society organized every aspect of the show – from publicity to logistics – and more than a dozen local businesses served as sponsors or donated prizes for the event.
More than 300 students are studying fashion at Oneonta, one of only two SUNY schools offering a bachelor’s degree in Fashion and Textiles. Students can choose to spend all four years at Oneonta, or they can enroll in a 3+1 cooperative program with the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Students in this program spend their senior year at FIT studying specialty fields ranging from jewelry design to advertising and graduate with both a B.S. from Oneonta and an A.A.S from FIT. Internship and study abroad opportunities enrich the learning experience. Many students land internships in New York City, and SUNY Oneonta offers a semester abroad program at American Intercontinental University in London, among other study abroad opportunities.