Students take chances in annual fashion show

The annual Division of Textiles and Apparel Fashion Show exhibits the work of 26 senior design students on April 25.
The annual Division of Textiles and Apparel Fashion Show exhibits the work of 26 senior design students on April 25. Marsha Miller

If you want an evening gown that can also repel rain, Ross Bennett is your man. The senior apparel design student created a collection of garments made of gore-tex and other technical fabrics for the annual Division of Textiles and Apparel Fashion Show.

The show is April 25 at 8 p.m. in the Frank Erwin Center. A pre-show exposition begins at 5:45 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.

This year's event exhibits the work of 26 senior design students, including a runway presentation of 104 original garments featuring casual wear, day wear, evening and bridal gowns. The Apparel Design Program's dynamic structure allows students to gain experience in the various areas of design. This gives students a broad understanding of their field of interest.

Bennett's unconventional work with high performance fabrics stemmed from his love of the outdoors. "I live outdoors. Whether I'm riding my bike, gardening or playing with my dog, I'm always outdoors. I wanted to create something that you could wear all the time."

"In my mind I saw a guy who was riding his bike all over the city and then had to go right into a business meeting," he said.

To accomplish this Bennett created business suits made of gore-tex. "I designed trousers that are tapered and another pair that are cuffed and snap up so they don't interfere with the bike. You can then let them down to go into the office."

Bennett is the only student who tackled menswear this year. "I had wanted to do menswear for a long time but not many people know how to teach it. It is completely different to learn. I had to teach myself basically for this."

His other items include an Audrey Hepburn "Breakfast at Tiffany's" inspired little black dress and a purple corseted evening gown with a seven-foot train, both made of gore-tex.

Bennett was chosen to showcase his work at a fashion show in Dallas along with several other university fashion students and his evening gown caught the eye of a former model who asked to borrow the gown to wear to red carpet event.

The senior is already working in the fashion industry as an assistant buyer for Whole Earth Provision Co. but he's keeping his options open for the future.

Krista Ferreira took a different approach for her collection and opted to paint on the silk fabric for her whimsical bridal gown creation.

"It is a 60s style bridal gown with a huge bow in the front by the neck that is twisted on its side. I hand painted a silk floral print with butterflies on it and then beaded in pearls and swarovski crystals," she said.

The new romantic movement of the early 80's and designers Vivienne Westwood and John Galliano inspired Jordan Grabow's work.

"My collection is full of fancy. I worked with leathers, and furs and feathers mixing them with fierce English plaids and feminine, finer fabrics such as silks and organza. Everything is in a neutral
color palette," she said.

"As one looks at all the pieces together, you may think of the wild child having tea with the Queen of England after going hunting with the gents."

The fashion show is fully underwritten by the University Co-op. The Pink Hair Salon and Gallery, Sephora Cosmetics and Webber Productions provide additional support.

For more information visit the Department of Human Ecology Web site.