Natural designs debut
Spring fashion show will bring storms and volcanic eruptions to the stage
Trees, grass, rivers and rain are all components of nature very familiar to Lynchburg.
These ingredients that make up nature will soon be displayed by 28 designers through their original creations in the ninth annual spring fashion show produced by the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FACS).
The show title is “Cotton Couture,” inspired by a partnership FACS has with Cotton Incorporated. Designers are required to create their garments using 60 percent cotton while keeping the theme of “nature’s dream” in mind.
Cotton Inc. gave a $25,000 grant this year for the fashion show that will help pay for show expenses, workshops, online fashion classes and instructional supplies. The grant also covers a trip to Schoolhouse Fabrics in Floyd, Virginia, where students will be able to purchase $50 worth of fabric, and a tour of Cotton Inc. headquarters in
Cary, North Carolina.
Janique Cameron, director of the show and senior FACS major, pointed out stereotypes the public may have about a college fashion show.
“I feel that it is very underestimated,” Cameron said. “The designers put a lot of work into it, and it’s very high class, … We take it very seriously. We stay up night and day for it.”
Matalie Howard, assistant professor of FACS and creator of the fashion show, came to the same conclusion as Cameron. According to Howard, the show exhibits traits of a professional fashion show.
“It’s not your typical college fashion show,” Howard said. “We want to make it realistic to fashion week. We have the full spectrum of top-quality staging, stage lighting, rope lighting, spotlights and music. We put in endless hours striving for perfection along the way.”
Julie Earle, new to the fashion show crew, scored the role of assistant director after being chosen from around a dozen applicants for the position.
“Last year, I attended the show and was blown away by it,” Earle said.
“It was something that I wanted to get more involved in.”
Sarah Bell, a senior participating for her third time, said her friends noticed the professional approach in which the fashion show has been presented throughout the years.
“I know of a lot of people who were hesitant to come because fashion shows are stereotypically a girl thing,” Bell said. “My guy friends who come are pleasantly surprised by how good it is, how professional it is and how fun it is. It isn’t just for women. We have men designers and models too.”
This year, Bell decided to draw inspiration for the nature theme from volcanic eruptions.
“I wanted my looks to be powerful and strong,” Bell said. “And well, a volcanic eruption is pretty powerful and strong.”
For inspiration, Bell said she watched volcanic eruptions for an hour on YouTube just to solidify her concept and study the natural disaster. According to Bell, making the garment is not as hard as deciding what design to make and finalizing sketches. She compared the first draft of a design to an English paper, as the first draft is never the final product.
Melissa Felder, a senior fashion merchandising major, is participating in the show for her third time. Felder’s interest in fashion began when her mom made her take a sewing class instead of a photography class as a senior in high school. After participating in the fashion show her freshman year at Liberty, Felder was set on fashion as a career.
“There is something about that moment when you watch someone walk down a runway in a garment that you made, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of it,” Felder said.
This year, Felder’s garments are inspired by thunderstorms.
“Thunderstorms have always been so exciting to me, and my inspiration for this show came while I was walking to work and a storm started to come in,” Felder said. “The clouds started to go dark and the wind started blowing. I thought that even in this storm there was still beauty in it.”
Alongside the 28 designers, more than 125 people will be working behind the scenes to make the fashion show go smoothly. FACS students with a minor in foods and nutrition will prepare the food, and students in the event planning class help work out logistics of the show.
The event will take place April 11 at 8 p.m. in the Schilling Center. Tickets will be available online.
Fraser is a feature reporter.
Ruth Bibby, previous photo editor of the Champion, has been selected as one of the judges for the fashion show. Bibby, who graduated with a double major in fashion merchandising and journalism, now works in New York in public relations for a fashion company.