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Our Own ‘Project Runway’

Threads at the Weisman

Kelcie McKenney

Photos by Kelcie McKenney

The stage was set for a dazzling array of fashion to be showcased on April 24. Known on and off campus as ‘Threads,’ the event was produced and managed by none other than our own WAM Collective here at the U, responsible for the oversight of many previous exhibitions at the Weisman. That night, of course, was no less special than prior events.

Threads is a fashion design competition, now in its second year, that allows participants to gain a deeper understanding of their own creative ability through following a basic guideline or inspiration. This year, designers were challenged to incorporate themes from the work of Laylah Ali and her “Greenheads” series.

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After the models walked, the designers were allowed a few minutes to be asked about their personal interpretations of Ali’s work and why they had chosen the materials used in their final pieces. The designers greeted the opportunity with budding enthusiasm, each smiling widely as they gave their explanations.

A short break allowed for a choreographic performance under the direction of John Mark, which fit in surprisingly well with the rest of the event. Utilizing the runway as the stage, the actors in this mini performance appeared to project themselves out into the audience, only to return abruptly in a somewhat theatrical style.

Not long after that part of the show, the judges returned with their verdicts. Whereupon designers Lauren Kacher, Anna Peshock, and Katie Mackereth were named the first, second and third place winners respectively. Honorable mentions were given to Xixi Xu and Lauren Smith.

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There was an incredible feeling of accomplishment among the designers, promoters, and observers at the Weisman that night.

After the festivities subsided, Weisman Program and Project Specialist Katie Covey said she felt the event had been a huge success, and that the session between judges and designers to ask and answer questions was the highlight of the evening for her. “I loved getting insight into their creative process,” she said, as well as sharing the audience’s intrigue at the motley assortment of materials used.

Because the entire exhibition was based on the inspiration of Laylah Ali’s “Greenheads,” in particular the violent themes prevalent in those works, the designers incorporated some crude materials such as tires, dodge balls, and nails into their final designs. This led to the stark originality in the work overall in addition to appealing to the audience’s curiosity, which created a night they won’t soon forget.