Student designers explore, inspire

Annual fashion show: ‘Runway to Retail’

For senior Jacob Yang, SPU’s MODE Fashion Show served as a great opportunity to bring his Chinese culture to an American audience.

“My highlight is Chinese embroidered seams,” Yang said. “My work was sown by hand, like the traditional Chinese apparel. These designs took half the year [to create].”

Yang, an international student from Kunming Shi, Yunnan, China, who is majoring in fashion merchandising, participated in the annual fashion show for his second year as a designer.

Yang was just one of the 19 students who participated in MODE’s annual Fashion Show on Saturday, May 13, in Royal Brougham Pavilion.

True to this year’s theme “Runway to Retail,” prior to the event the club allotted a period of time for students to network. MODE invited local corporations and boutiques from all over Seattle to speak with students about their designs.

Senior Stephanie Taylor, a fashion design and merchandising major and the 2017 club president, was quite encouraged by this year’s event. Though she knew it was going to take a lot of work, the experience, she said, proved worthwhile.

According to Taylor, the point was not to be crazy with designs but to create clothing that is company-ready.

“Runway to Retail” was given to us to take us to the next level and to make [our work] as marketable as possible,” Taylor said.

In one of the few college fashion programs in the Seattle area, Taylor feels that the event is an important reminder to the community that there is movement happening in the fashion world.

“I think this is a cool thing that SPU does and [that] people need to know about,” Taylor said. “I think we are the only one in the area that does a full blown show.”

Each designer was intentional with the work they put together. Separately, each student chose a local establishment to design for such as Zumiez, Luly Yang Couture and Nordstrom.

Junior Abby Diaz designed for Meadow Boutique and was inspired by the blooming flowers amidst the colorful outdoors.

Designing for Les Amis in Fremont, sophomore Nina Sulset focused on feminine features to create a blend of warm, flirtatious and sophisticated pieces that displayed quality, handcrafted, organic textile.

Simone Neal stands on stage as the spotlight is one her. She is wearing a coat that is white polyester on top and denim on the bottom half. She is wearing tan heels.

Kayley Driggers | The Falcon
Sophomore Simone Neal struts down the runway and poses.


Senior Katie Carlson, a fellow fashion merchandising major, appreciated the creativity and hard work that came from putting this show on.

“I really enjoy working as a community with everyone, to create this event that shows off our skills,” Carlson said. “It is a really special moment for us.”

As a senior, Carlson said she is glad she invested in this club from the beginning of her college career.

“Honestly, every time we put the show together, it brings back my passion and reminds me why I do this — all the hard work, all the restless nights,” Carlson said.

Similarly, junior Angel Fong, double majoring in apparel design and fashion merchandising, is thankful for what this event has taught her.

Fong knows that this experience will help her aim higher for her future career.

“I definitely want to be a creative director in my own streetwear brand,” Fong said. “This fashion show really helped me pivot, designing more and getting inspired more.”

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