On March 31st, the annual CSU Fashion Show, with Ascent as this year’s title, took place and this year continued to stun the judges and crowd with creativity and innovation of design and production. Fourteen original lines were created by the senior design students of the Design and Merchandising program to display in this year’s show. They gained inspiration from a subject given to them by their head design professor and the rest was left to them. What is so special about this show is that each student has the opportunity to display their unique talents in design through this process. Students even dye, weave, and create their own fabrics for these designs in the CSU Gifford building or Visual Arts building. These students also design these looks in a semester long class dedicated to the CSU Fashion Show.
The show sold out this year, filling all 1,180 seats of the performance hall. This year’s show was unique as well because the CSU dance department dancers performed three times throughout the duration of the show. Jane Rohr, one half of the opening dance duet, played a double role as a performer and a designer in this year’s show. Incorporating dance into a fashion show truly made this show modern, dramatic, and entertaining.
Even a local celebrity Molly O’Brien attended the show who designs under the name Molly Elizabeth and was discovered on the most recent season of Project Runway Junior. I was fortunate to chat a little with the super stylish and humble designer before the show began. O’ Brien mentioned that this was her first time at the CSU Fashion Show and that she had recently toured the Design and Merchandising program and said it “reminded” her of Project Runway’s studios. O’Brien is currently back at school as a senior and told me she is deciding between attending Colorado State, Parsons School of Design, or Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (better known as FIDM) to continue her future in ready to wear or couture apparel design. Molly was wearing her signature black fedora with a burnt orange plunging body suit and a light brown suede overcoat decorated with fringe.
The real celebrities of the night were the judges who would determine who would win awards for Most Innovative, Best Construction, Most Marketable, and Outstanding Designer.
Anabella Poletti who is the founder of her own design house and a CSU alumni was one of the four judges.
The second judge was Brittany Pillard, like Poletti is also an influencer on social media and a lifestyle blogger with millions of followers on social media websites.
Colin Turek of the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund in New York City was the third judge.
Heather Okimoto was the last judge on the panel who is the co-founder and editor of Denver Style magazine.
Tanner London’s line of snow apparel included men’s and women’s snow pants and jackets as well as other garments. He used a deep navy blue and black to create cohesive color blocking effects throughout the line. London’s clean and sturdy construction was voted best of the night by the judges.
Caitlin Lund designed this modern line of men’s and women’s apparel. This modern line was composed of geometric patterns, sheer pants, neutral colors, and even a giant embellished eye. The collection gave me some major Avant Garde, ancient Egypt and Illuminati vibes in the best possible way. Lund’s collection was later granted the award of Most Innovative. Lund is a graduating senior who will be interning with Thom Brown in New York City after graduation in the spring.
Nina Mascheroni was another recipient of an award at the show, winning Most Marketable for her line that included women’s work suits and other professional wear with a twist. She includes bright color, pattern, and oversized or cropped cuts of jackets or pants. These combinations made this line both professional and fun.
Y Nhu Hong was the last winner of the night who took home the overall title of Outstanding designer. She won this award for her beautiful bridal collection including silky, sheer, white, and off-white fabrics with stunning cutouts and slits. Hong flew in from her internship at Kal Rieman in New York City for the show.
For years, the CSU Fashion Show has been making use of recycled military parachutes from Aspen Pointe, a rehabilitation clinic for veterans in Colorado Springs to make designs for this specific collection. Each design student involved in the lower level draping class submits a design.
Nicole Pink, who designed one of the parachute dresses in the show said that this process of designing truly challenged her to find how she “finds beauty in chaos” which was her inspiration for the look. Pink already designs, constructs, and sells shawls under her own designer label and is planning to study couture fashion abroad next semester.
The CSU Fashion show was put together by an entire spring semester class in which students enroll in to plan, promote, and run the production. Within the class there are several committees including VIP and Sponsorships, Garment and Modeling, Stage and Set, Promotion and Publicity, and Social Media. These students are the ones who truly help the designs students work to shine with the countless hours and sleepless nights taken to plan this event down to the very slightest detail. Mariah mcGettigan, head of the VIP and Sponsorships committee says that her committee always looks at last year’s progress and then builds upon it by inviting more VIP attendees, press, and getting more sponsorships for things like the silent auction. McGettigan says that she has made “so many friendships” throughout this process and that she knows that this firsthand experience will help her with her future career endeavors.
- Sean Papile
- Isabella Labriola