Fashion Speaks: FACS department holds 17th fashion show, featuring 25 student designers and 36 models

Some see fashion just as clothes, changing trends or artistic expression, but for many, fashion is also a means of communicating. The FACS department held its 17th Annual FACS Fashion Show Saturday, April 15 in the School of Music Concert Hall. The designers and models in this year’s fashion show had the opportunity to speak to attendees through their creative looks.

Family and friends arrived dressed to the nines as they filled the foyer and took photos together before finding their seats amid the bright pink stage lighting. 

The show featured 25 designers and 36 models. A video featuring some of the designers discussing the creative process behind their work kickstarted the event. Their work began in the fall semester. From design check-ins with student leadership to model rehearsals, participants voluntarily dedicated much of their time over the past several months to this project. Some of the designers and models mentioned that their relationship with the Lord gave them the motivation and inspiration necessary to see their workthrough to the end.

Emma Granger, director of the show, introduced the theme of this year, “Fashion Speaks,” and welcomed attendees to this celebratory evening along with the rest of the leadership team, which included Anna Gray, Madeline Shepherd and Elise Oliver. The team also introduced Loni Mbele of Models for Christ, an organization that has partnered with the department this year to encourage students going into the fashion industry to remain courageously committed to Christ. 

When the models hit the runway, attendees cheered and commented on their favorite parts of each design amongst one another. With everything from classic feminine silhouettes to denim, bright colors and neutrals, designers were intentionally given much freedom with their looks this year, since fashion speaks to people differently. Whatever the inspiration behind their individual pieces, designers and models agreed that seeing the designs go from an idea to a tangible article of clothing to a complete look on the runway was one of their favorite parts of the process. 

Later in the show, designers had the chance to describe the details of their pieces, how they implemented current trends and how fashion speaks to them. Anita Thiessen won the best in show award. Caleb Hibbs, who won the runner-up award, mentioned that he sought to keep his looks either strictly masculine or strictly feminine in a way that still suited this generation. Freedom Peters, who won the rookie award, created a dress she titled “Remembrance” in honor of her late mother. Moriah Whitlow sought to combine vintage and modern styles with textured fabrics and bright colors. 

Alyssa Collins’ dress, “Patchwork of Memories,” was designed in inspiration of 90s fashion, as well as boho and romantic styles. Collins’ model was Jessica Warthan, a freshman studying family and child development. Warthan noted how fun it has been learning how to walk and keep pace, all while meeting new people.

“I always kind of thought it’d be cool to model, but I didn’t think I could do it just because it’s such a secular thing,” Warthan said. “But it’s really cool to have a Christian environment I can do this in.”

That focus on the Lord was at the heart of this event, particularly through the recognition of haute couture designer, Aleona Isakova, who served as a judge at the show. Isakova shared about her upbringing in Latvia and how she eventually came to know Jesus and experience freedom. She donated a collection of 54 biblically-inspired couture gowns to the department to encourage students as they seek to honor the Lord with fashion.

“We can change culture with Jesus. We can change fashion with Jesus,” Isakova said.

Granger noted the appreciation she has for Isakova’s desire to communicate the beauty of God within an industry that does not always recognize it.

“The world wants to take beauty that God has created and distort it. And you see that on the runways all the time … and you see that everywhere,” Granger said. “So, it’s like as Christians, we are called into the fashion industry to be preservers of God’s beauty … to bring it back to its real definition.”

Malanowski is a feature reporter for the Liberty Champion

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