REVEL on the runway

The designers of tomorrow showcase their senior collections

On Feb. 7, the graduating seniors of the apparel design program gathered in Rapson Hall to showcase their work as part of REVEL, the 47th Apparel Design Fashion Show. The apparel design program is a selective one; this year’s graduating class started with 40 students as freshmen, and ended with just 13.The team of designers invited The Wake to a studio tour to get a sneak peek of the collections before the show.

“We are all so different, there is nothing really in common that any of us have,” senior designer Tess Ross said. “REVEL was our way of celebrating. We want people to revel in it, to enjoy it with us, and experience it with us. This is more important than graduation, this is kind of like our commencement into being designers.”

“All of my pieces are inspired by a different country from when I studied abroad,” Anna Peshock said. “This is my piece that represents the Atlantic Ocean, it’s like the sunset on the water.” Peshock said her inspiration for her collection came from growing up as a synchronized swimmer and making all of her own suits for competition. “They are all swimwear, but they all have skirts or jackets, so it’s stuff you wouldn’t actually wear to the beach,” she said. “Whether it’s costuming or doing more synchronized swimming, even doing regular clothing—you get to express an idea or a story or something that is personal to the customer.”

Photographer | Breanna Vick
“All of my pieces are inspired by a different country from when I studied abroad,” Anna Peshock said. “This is my piece that represents the Atlantic Ocean, it’s like the sunset on the water.” Peshock said her inspiration for her collection came from growing up as a synchronized swimmer and making all of her own suits for competition. “They are all swimwear, but they all have skirts or jackets, so it’s stuff you wouldn’t actually wear to the beach,” she said. “Whether it’s costuming or doing more synchronized swimming, even doing regular clothing—you get to express an idea or a story or something that is personal to the customer.”

And different they are, ranging from go-go dancer drag queen costumes to swimwear, and from winter resort wear to bridal. One look around the room and it’s clear that each designer has their own unique style.

One common theme among all of the designers is challenging stereotypes. Lauren Kacher created gender-neutral clothes for her collection. Ross challenged the stereotype of strong, masculine clothes by creating a very powerful, feminine collection.

Not only are the designers challenging stereotypes with their clothes, but some are challenging the stereotypes of models as well. Giselle Yuer Wei used only short models. Designer Jared Jurentkuff used drag queens as some of the models for his collection. Another designer, Ashley Jensen, broke the stereotype of tall, skinny male models and found men with more muscular, athletic builds for her clothes.

The designers had to find their own models for the show, leading some to choose models from agencies, and others to pick from their friends. They also had to create all their own accessories, meaning everything down to the last detail was done by the designers themselves. REVEL was essentially their thesis papers, their final projects in the major.

Strong women inspire Tess Ross’ fashions. “I think being a woman is something to be proud of. A lot of the time in fashion in order to be powerful they have to wear masculine clothes, black and powerful things like that,” she said. “But I think pretty is powerful. If you want to wear a suit, you can wear a suit, but I think you can be just as powerful in a skirt, and it can be hot pink.”

Photographer | Breanna Vick
Strong women inspire Tess Ross’ fashions. “I think being a woman is something to be proud of. A lot of the time in fashion in order to be powerful they have to wear masculine clothes, black and powerful things like that,” she said. “But I think pretty is powerful. If you want to wear a suit, you can wear a suit, but I think you can be just as powerful in a skirt, and it can be hot pink.”

“When I tell people I’m working on my thesis, they don’t really understand what I’m saying,” Ross said. “They think I’m working on a paper and I’m like, ‘No, I’m pleating for like 10 hours.’”

The designers will continue to work on independent studies and other classes until their graduation in May before heading out into the real world. Each designer has different plans for the future. Some want to jump right into the industry, like designer Katie Mackereth who has already worked to design the 2016 Polaris Winter Line and plans to continue designing for outerwear. Other designers plan on furthering their education like Lauren Kacher, who is applying to study apparel design in London at the world renowned Central St. Martins, a school whose alumni include Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen.

Check out full coverage of the REVEL show online: http://www.wakemag.org/cities/the-revel-show/