Clothing patterns, scraps of fabric, garment bags and completed outfits fill the design studios of the second floor of Gearing Hall. Students sit at sewing machines and mannequins, perfecting the collections they have been working on all year.
They are preparing for the University Fashion Group’s “Spectrum” fashion show Thursday, an event that showcases the designs of 26 students in UT’s fashion design program.
While most of the designers are textile and apparel juniors and seniors, the event pulls in both fashion students and students outside the program to help run and promote the show.
Because University Fashion Group, the show’s coordinating organization, is open to all students, there are opportunities to be involved in areas including public relations, advertising and model coordinating.
“[‘Spectrum’] is pretty much University-wide because we have so many other majors coming and helping us, such as the communication school, art school, business school and all these other students involved,” textile and apparel lecturer Ockhee Bego said.
Textile and apparel seniors Haleigh Clark and Natalie Poche are both designing collections for this year’s show. Each was responsible for a sports wear look, a ball gown or wedding dress and three outfits that make up a mini collection.
Both girls’ designs were inspired by history. Clark focused on the history and style of Ivy League architecture and clothing.
“All of my colors are inspired by the colors of the pennants for, like, Dartmouth and Yale,” Clark said. “I used contemporary styling that I could imagine walking Ivy League campuses today.”
Poche, who is also the University Fashion Group’s president, chose to focus on Germany’s Bauhaus art movement, which took place from 1919-1933.
“It was a time in art when things kind of reverted back to geometric shapes and things in their most natural form, so that really resonated with me the most,” Poche said. “I kind of took that and ran with it and designed what I thought resembled that time in art.”
The two both learned to sew from their grandmothers. Clark said when she was 12 years old, her grandmother would teach her to sew during visits by creating little projects that taught the basics of sewing.
“I would watch Project Runway and take what I knew about sewing and challenge myself with little things,” Clark said. “Like, I would take an old skirt out of my closet and start sewing little trims that my grandma gave me onto that.”
In preparation for “Spectrum,” every few weeks came with a deadline for one of the outfits. After receiving critiques, designers would adjust and improve their creations.
“There are times where that’s really tiring and emotionally draining,” Clark said. “But, at the same time, you come out of it feeling a lot stronger about your artistic vision.”
Poche said the end product made all of the preceding work worth it.
“Putting it on a mannequin is way different than putting it on a human being,” Poche said. “So, when you have that for the first time its almost like, ‘Oh my goodness, this could be sold somewhere.’”