Wildcats get fierce for annual fashion show

By ALYSSA FOLAND, staff reporter

No felines were harmed in the making of this article, but the catwalk is back for Central Washington Universities’ annual fashion show on June 1. Hippie vibes will fly as the student designers send their fashions down the Wanderlust-themed stage.

“It definitely has a very naturalistic, kind of bohemian, vibe to it,” Cassie Lewis, senior apparel textiles and merchandising major, said. “We’ve also incorporated tribal prints and the edgier side of it, but also what you would think when you kind of think hippy boho.”

Lewis, who has been a student designer for two years, is putting four of her original pieces in the show.

She said she is in the show design class and the production class so she gets to see not only the hard work it takes to design, but also the effort behind making the show happen.

“It’s a lot bigger deal than I think people realize,” Lewis said. “We get full stage lights. It’s a pretty legit fashion show. I don’t think people expect that out of a small agricultural school.”

Andrea Eklund, program coordinator and assistant professor for the apparel textiles and merchandising program, is the fashion show director and has been involved in the show for 6 years.

Eklund oversees everyone and basically has her finger in all the pots.  She said the show has really evolved since she’s been here: It sold out the first three years, so now they host two shows.

“Everything is professionally colored and produced,” Eklund said. “My goal is to have professional level product be produced for the show. It’s something I push the students for and they’re up for the challenge and they’ve really exceeded expectations every year, which is great.”

Eklund said the students are the ones who come up with the theme for the show each year. In fact, it’s one of their very first assignments—to come up with and explain a theme for the show.

The student who came up with this year’s theme is Traci VonJouanne, who defines it as “a very strong or irresistible impulse to travel. Strong longing for or impulse towards wandering.”

Eklund said VonJouanne provided a write up explaining why it inspired her. It said “the ever exponentially growing ideals of world travel, spontaneity, and freedom.

The poster’s individuality is meant to channel and include the whimsical bohemian flare of the 70s, Woodstock and hippie mega trends.” VonJouanne wrote the goal was to “guide the audience with the idea to sit back, relax and get ready to embark on a journey around the world.”

“It’s pretty much feeling free and having a free spirit,” Madalyn Freeman, junior business marketing major, said. “And it’s a little bit boho so it’s kind of bohemian, a little bit more earthy.”

This year there are 10 designers and 35 designs, which makes about an hour-long show. According to Eklund, the runway is different every year and this year’s is interesting because there are several different areas to stop and feature the designs.

Lewis and Brittany Wentworth, junior apparel textiles and merchandising major, both said the stage is meant to be a surprise and is much different than anything they’ve ever done before.

“It’s not your typical runway,” Wentworth said.

Freeman said she is excited to see how everything works together. The fashion show includes four committees and even more people outside of the classes.

According to Freeman, there isn’t a single outfit or detail that wasn’t designed with a purpose.

“The biggest thing is people just don’t realize how much work goes on behind the scenes on both sides, though because they have no idea how long the students designers . . .It literally takes hours to make one shirt and people don’t realize that,” Wentworth said.

Lewis said she thinks this year is especially fun because there is a lot more diversity in designs than in years past.

There are two people who design men’s wear, so the show features both men’s and women’s clothing.

“You don’t have to be a guy, you don’t have to be a girl,” Freeman said. “The fashion show is made for everybody.”

Eklund said it takes an immense amount of time and dedication but what she gets out of it outweighs the time it takes and gives her a lot of gratification. She is proud of everyone involved for the work they do.

“They’re so excited and happy that it went, ‘knock on wood,’ so smooth and you know that everything came together and they’re so excited about it,” Eklund said. “Just to see that satisfaction in them, I think, is really amazing.”