Students show flair for design

By Bonnie Berger

The family and consumer sciences department will showcase its annual runway event, the Baylor Fashion Show, Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. April 30 in the Bill Daniel Student Center Barfield Drawing Room.

The theme, “Rhythm of the Runway,” is designed to highlight the work of senior design majors, as well as multiple underclassmen, giving them the opportunity to showcase their collections.

Coordinated by Dr. Rochelle Brunson, professor of visual merchandising, the event relies heavily on student involvement from the initial planning stages to the final production. While design students present their pieces, merchandising students work with retailers and coordinate the event’s details, from ticket sales to programs.

“That’s where those two pieces [merchandising and design] join together,” Brunson said. “Students are able to learn from each other and gain experience in each other’s fields.”

Aside from displaying students’ work, the show includes a four-legged fashion component, doubling as a philanthropy event where the dog clothes are auctioned off for charity. Several of the designs won first and third place awards at the Dallas Career Day on April 1.

One of the largest design events in the country, Career Day brings in more than 1,200 students and educators annually. According to the Baylor’s marketing department and communications, 83.3 percent of the garments submitted by Baylor FCS appeared in runway competitions, with 29 percent winning awards and scholarships.

“The normal layperson, they hear ‘fashion merchandising’ and think, ‘Oh, so you guys sew,’” Brunson said. “It’s not that. Product design and merchandising offer our students a built-in business minor and entrepreneurship minor, so many of them have been able to open up their own business.”

In a competitive market, FCS strives to provide students with a multifaceted education, enabling them to work in a variety of environments.

“Many of the design students … they’re not all going to go out and be Ralph Lauren, but many of them will go out and work for a designer and do product design,” Brunson said. “I try to look at it as more of the real world. … There are a lot of different things they can do with this.”

Houston senior fashion design major Lizvette Damman is concurrently working toward a marketing degree from the University of Texas at Austin and appreciates the unique approach to education. Marketing is a degree that opened her eyes to a wide variety of postgraduate opportunities.

“I think for especially wanting to start my own line in the future, you learn how to sell yourself, sell your line, learn how to investigate the customers and tailor your collection to … sell to the majority,” Damman said.

“With marketing, we learn about the customers and how to convince them that they want something and make the product more widely accepted.”

For many design students, the final semester of senior year comes as the culmination of their education as they are presented with the opportunity to design, sketch and create their own line.

“All four years, we’ve been waiting for this class,” Damman said. “You really have to want this in order to do it, I guess. You’ve got to keep pushing, especially when we’re this close to the end.”

Although Damman will not be participating in this year’s event, she has extensive experience showing her collections throughout the country.

Damman’s work won a first-place award at the Dallas Career Day, and she has been actively involved in various shows throughout her education. Aspiring to eventually launch her own line, Damman will intern with Macy’s New York office, working with private brands after graduation in August.

“It’s a culmination of their four years here,” Brunson said. “It’s showing their parents and friends what they’ve worked toward. It’s a big thing, especially for the design students.”

Tickets for the departmental fashion show are on sale at the Bill Daniel Student Center ticket office. Tickets are $10 for the 2 p.m. show and $15 for the 7 p.m. show. Awards honoring distinguished seniors will follow the late show.