It was a beautiful sort of chaos.
The room was draped in a hundred different colors, filled with dozens of outfits arranged on rows of tables.
Black lace sat next to resplendent gold polyester and tie-dye skirts lie side-by-side with striking black and white bomber jackets. Across every inch of the tables, designers had laid out their collections in preparation for the final wave of critiques, creating a radiant mosaic of fabrics.
Saturday, April 22 was the day of the final design tweaks for Miami University’s Fashion and Design program. Designers brought their complete pieces in front of a panel of advisors, who then gave them notes on anything they thought needed touching up before the upcoming weekend’s fashion show.
“We aren’t telling them to change anything major,” said Megan Langhals, one of MUFD’s advisors and a panelist for the final critiques. “This is the last line of critiques before everything goes out, so we want to be sure everything looks good and will hold up on stage.”
Megan was one of three panelists at the event. The other two were Melanie Mortimore, costume designer and assistant professor of theatre at Miami, and Lisa Martin-Stuart, adjunct professor of art and theatre.
Designers brought their collections into the room one by one, worn by the models who would wear them in the actual show, and spoke a little bit about their inspirations before the panelists gave their feedback.
Collections varied greatly in style and design with outfits ranging from brightly colored swimwear to chic, monochrome crop tops with gunmetal grey flowing pants.
The inspirations for the collections varied as well. One designer based their collection on traditional Korean clothing, complete with pinpoint needlework and ornate bows. Another line illustrated the polarizing nature of humanity, and was made of a fabric patterned with black and white designs. Others kept it simple, like one designer who based her collection off of a love for the beach.
Many designers faced challenges for the first time during this process. Whether it was working with models, struggling with sewing spandex or even picking up a sewing needle for the first time, the designers overcame numerous obstacles to produce their collections.
The care and passion put into the outfits was evident. As models walked in and out of the door, the room morphed into a stage in chic New York, then far-away Korea, then suddenly a warm and sunny beach. The clothes the models wore served as gateways to places far away from midwestern Oxford.
This year’s fashion show will display the works of 23 designers in total, and nearly 60 models will walk in the show.
“This is my only extracurricular.” said Wes Ramsey, a senior student and model in the show. “It’s such a tight knit community, and a great place to meet new people and see smiling faces.”
Ramsey said that being a model was deceptively difficult. Despite what people might assume, mastering the proper walk and stoic-yet-stylish personality is a tough process.
Over 200 models tried out initially. For the first time ever, designers were offered an incentive to design for male models, being reimbursed for the cost of their outfit if they created a look for a man. According to Steele Fitzwater, president of MUFD, this has led to more male models in the show than ever before.
Following the final critiques, MUFD set up a table in Armstrong to bolster interest in the upcoming fashion show. Models and members gathered at the table underneath shining silver balloons. The amassed models strode confidently through the halls of Armstrong, advertising the table through periodic mock fashion walks.
MUFD’s fashion show will take place 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 in Millett Hall.