Story by Caroline Yablon | Copy Editor, Video by Sarah Gill | Broadcast Reporter
Students, friends, family and the Waco community saw the 12 senior fashion designers’ collections at the annual Baylor Spring Fashion Show on Saturday afternoon in the Barfield Drawing Room. What viewers couldn’t see on the runway was the blood, sweat and tears that went into each collection and the hard work from the 56 volunteers and 76 models that contributed to the show.
Austin junior Alexandra Davis, the show’s creative director and one of the senior designers, said each designer put roughly 400 hours into their collection. More than pretty garments, she said, each piece in the designers’ collection is the embodiment of a long creative process.
“We’re not making a small, extra small whatever,” Davis said. “We’re making a custom outfit which people don’t understand what goes into that.”
Davis explained the general process that designers follow when creating a garment, though each has unique methods personal to themselves. Before the clothing is made, most begin with research and design sketching, seeking inspiration, Davis said. Then designers produce patterns that lay out the pieces of each garment. At this point, designers meet with models to ensure that the pattern pieces fit perfectly. After this, designers begin the construction of what will become the final garment. Once the garment is made, designers make alterations to refine the fit on the model’s body.
Models play a larger role than simply walking down the runway, Davis said. They also had to pose for a photo shoot wearing the final looks. They spent many nights with their designers to make sure the clothes formed to their bodies perfectly.
Forney senior Samantha Caldwell, a professional writing major, walked for Dallas, senior Emma Brawner’s “Millennial Crumpets” collection. She said she put in about 10 total hours in the show.
“Being a model in the fashion show was a super unique experience because I was able to witness all of the behind-the-scenes work that all the designers put in,” Caldwell said. “Her collection was out of this world. From the inspiration to the passion, she just really went big. She made a line that showed who she truly is. It’s hard not to feel confident when you’re wearing clothes that someone put their heart and soul into. It was an amazing experience.”
Portland, Ore. senior Kimmy Park showcased her collection “Gyopo” in the show, and said at one point, one of her models, a biology major, came to the studio for finishing touches, which ended up taking two hours. It wasn’t until later in the night that Park discovered her model had a human physiology exam the following day.
“The sacrifices that they made for us were huge,” Park said.
After constructing entire collections, some including highly complex garments, Davis and Park both said the process has shown them how little goes into a T-shirt compared to other clothing. Many of the garments made for the show took upwards of 48 hours apiece.
Well known among the designers, sewing can be somewhat hazardous. Park said one of her design friends doesn’t need glasses, but bought a pair just for sewing to protect her eyes in case a needle breaks and goes airborne.
“People just think we make clothes and want to play dress up, but it’s actually blood, sweat and tears,” Davis said.
Davis shared that one night, while working on her collection, she stepped on a needle, and the needle entered her foot.
Many in the fashion industry fear that without increased collaboration with other industries, the fashion industry will face serious challenges, Davis said. Therefore, she wanted to get as many people involved in the show as possible, regardless of major.
“Giving people opportunities to do things and seeing what comes about with it is what we’re trying to do,” Davis said. “Changes need to happen pertaining to all aspects of the industry and that starts with asking for help from those with knowledge in other industries.”
Shreveport, La. junior Melanie Pace is a University Scholar concentrating in journalism, French and political science. She acted as the social media and internal marketing co-director as well as a model in the show for her second year.
“I helped with pulling together students from all over campus to compile footage, take photographs, write articles, post on social media and integrating the whole student body and incorporate not just the fashion department,” Pace said.
Overland Park, Kan., sophomore Ryan Barrett, a film and digital media major, made the behind-the-scenes and hype video that was played before the show.
“We have so much talent on campus, and I think people don’t realize. But there are great videographers,” Pace said. “Ryan Barrett and The Baylor Lariat have really stepped up to help with doing features and making sure that the stories of the designers are done justly and told well.”
Lewisville sophomore Berkeley Taylor, a fashion merchandising major, volunteered to help with the production. She worked as a team leader of logistics and garment and model dressing.
“Even though we don’t have a collection that will go out because we’re [apparel merchandising majors] more on the buying and selling side of things, we can still get involved by getting backstage work and just helping out where they need help,” Taylor said.
According to Davis, the Spring Fashion Show was a huge success, completely selling out the second show and raising $1,000 in ticket sales the day of. Park also reached out to the popular mineral water brand Topo Chico, which then became an event sponsor, providing beverages for the show.