Upbeat music filled the room while the audience waited for the show to start. The announcer spoke, the room went silent and the first model came out of a side door, calling everyone’s attention. Others followed. Each design and model carried a different vibe representing a specific era of fashion history.
This is the third semester that the apparel and design department has had to adapt to covid restrictions by hosting a limited fashion show. This semester, some students came up with the idea to copy the T.V. show Project Runway.
The first nights of the contest, held on Nov. 14 and 15, the students were told the theme would be vintage vibes and then given the time to plan out what they wanted to design and sew. They then raced to Idaho Falls to pick out fabrics at Joanne’s Fabric store.
The contestants were McKelle Marshall, a junior from Rexburg, Idaho, Linda Madugu, a junior from Ghana, Allie Lunt, a freshman from Ohio and Taylor Bess Smith, a senior from Montana.
The pressure was on for the four BYU-Idaho students. In 16 hours models would strut their creations.
On day two, their morning started at 8 a.m. at the sewing lab in the Spencer W. Kimball building. Scissors cutting, fabric pinning and sewing machines clicking filled the room.
Genet Orme, a professor from the apparel entrepreneurship department, brought them lunch from Cafe Rio to eat quickly then return to their design.
“This is our version of dropping back and punting and making it work,” Orme said. “We want to keep our kids excited about something at the end of the semester. And this is something for our kids to look forward to that are better at things and that’s what we’ve done.”
Linda Madugu brought the 80’s housewife to life with an outfit of long pink pants and a white blouse with a black necktie and belt.
McKelle Marshall took her design idea from the 1910s, fashioning a dress after her great-grandmother’s wedding dress. The dress was floor length and a solid forest green color.
Taylor Bess Smith from Montana created an 80’s themed dress and jacket she said was fashioned after a jacket her Mom wore back in High school. The jacket was a brown and white print complementing the black ankle-length skirt.
“I have never ever completed something all in one day,” Smith said. “It was crazy to see all the hours of work come in right away.”
Once the models walked the floor and stood in front of the judges for a closer look, the judges stepped into a private room to decide who the winner would be. After a 15-minute deliberation, the four judges on the panel came to a conclusion on the winning design. Each of the four judges was assigned to a designer and gave feedback on what they liked and where the designs could improve.
Allie Lunt won the contest and received a $20 gift card to Joanne’s in Idaho Falls. Lunt designed a blouse and skirt that were fashioned after the 80’s era also adding a 50’s feel with a teal blue skirt that flowed like the poodle skirts from that time.
“I think we all want it,” that judges said about Lunt’s white top.
The crowd cheered and surrounded the contestants at the end of the show to congratulate them.
For those who couldn’t attend, the event was recorded on Instagram on the BYU-I Apparel design society page.