Apparel Design Celebrates 50th Annual Fashion Show

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the College of Design’s annual Apparel Design Fashion Show. Planned by the senior class, the show is a rite of passage for its participants and gives seniors the opportunity to create a fashion show from the ground up.

The planning for this year’s event, entitled This is Now, has been even more elaborate than in the past with lots of additions made to honor the anniversary. “The planning process for the show has been very involved for us seniors; we’ve made most of the decisions on how the show will be set-up. We’ve had a lot of discussions on how we can ultimately make this a bigger show for everyone,” explained Julie Anderson, designer of the line Bananas and Cream.

A piece from Emily Laurich's collection Tide.

A piece from Emily Laurich’s collection Tide.

“It is going to be very dynamic; we’ve retooled the format of the show. There are going to be featured spotlights not only on the designers, but for the Goldstein Museum of Design, alumni of the program, and apparel design freshman,” she continued.

Working alongside apparel design faculty and alumni, the students have added a number of new features to the program. Perhaps one of the most exciting additions is a retrospective video, which will debut the night of the event. Put together by the apparel design program, the video showcases photos and video from past fashion shows, displaying the changes in both fashion and the show itself over the course of the event’s long history.

For Design, Housing, and Apparel (DHA) Department Head Missy Bye, some of the biggest changes to the show can be found in the students’ collections, “The quality of the work has improved and the lines and models represent more diverse interests and our multicultural society. All seniors now have an industry mentor that has contributed to more relevant, creative line concepts.”

A piece from Quinessa Stibbins collection

A piece from Quinessa Stibbins’ collection Not About Angels.

“Blood, sweat and many, many tears went into creating these collections,” added Quinessa Stibbins, the designer of Not About Angels and head of the student publicity committee. “Each one completely encompasses who we are as designers. Our aesthetics as well as our beliefs, and our values as people are completely laid out in those lines.”

In addition to the show, the Goldstein Museum of Design has created a retrospective exhibition, Then and Now: Fashion Show @ 50. “The exhibition was put together to highlight all of the incredible things our alumni are doing in their careers since graduation,” explained Assistant Professor Linsey Griffin, curator of the exhibit. “The exhibition provides an opportunity to learn about the inner-workings of developing a collection for the runway, and demonstrates how the show provides a launching point for exceptional careers in design,” she continued.

A piece from Julia Adamson's collection Veile.

A piece from Julia Adamson’s collection Veile.

There’s no question that the past 50 years have brought a lot of changes to the fashion industry, the apparel design program, and the format of the annual fashion show. Still, the core message for attendees remains the same, “We want the audience to leave knowing that apparel design isn’t just making pretty things. Design is problem-solving. As individuals, we found problems that are important to us. From the lack of fun and colorful work attire and plus size clothing to the way clothes are gendered, to the absence of conversation around serious topics, like racial violence, in the fashion industry. We wanted to use our lines to address these problems, to offer solutions. Our solutions just happen to also be really pretty,” concluded Stibbins.

This year’s Apparel Design Fashion Show will take place on Saturday, February 10 with two showtimes at 5:00 and 7:30 PM. Buy your tickets today at

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