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UFV Fashion walks the runway once more

The annual UFV Absolute Style fashion show had its final moment on the runway Wednesday, April 29.

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By Jennifer Trithardt-Tufts (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 6, 2015

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The annual UFV Absolute Style fashion show had its final moment on the runway Wednesday, April 29. The show, which gives fashion diploma first years, graduating students, and alumni the chance to showcase their lines of clothing, has been discontinued alongside the diploma program.

The show took place in the Envision Athletics Centre, which was converted into a lavish high-fashion auditorium. Black fabric hung from the ceiling and hundreds of chairs faced the brightly lit runway. Nine tables lined the left side of the room, each displaying a look-book of the designer’s work throughout their diploma, promotional material, fabric swatches, and packaging.

UFV provost, VP academic Eric Davis began the special occasion with a few words about the “enormous undertaking” of the show, which attracts some 900 people to the campus every year.

Models in bustiers were first on the catwalk, paired with high-low skirts and headpieces. Earth tones were followed by more vibrant and tulle-infused creations.

The next category demonstrated the versatility of coats, including capes, multi-textured tie-ups, and transparent rain gear.

Categories for first-year dresses, swimsuits, and jackets followed, showcasing the skills of young fashion design students. Most impressive was the personality apparent in each piece.  Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk” started playing and the fun amped up as male and female models strutted down the isle in plain white and black graphic tees, accessorized with bright green UFV sunglasses.

Up next was the alumni collection 80 / 90 Apparel, a line for women born in the ‘80s and ‘90s to wear to the workplace, which is being launched in the new year. It’s funky and fresh while still being workplace-appropriate because, as the line is marketed, “Why fit in when you can stand out?”

An “art to wear” category included three subcategories focused on material and fabric. The surface design subcategory showcased brightly coloured fabric and funky patterns, while the weaving subcategory displayed more textured muted tones but had a red finale piece that stood out from the rest. Finally, the machine knitting subcategory presented very linear designs that included stark black and white with splashes of colourful lines.

Then came the main attraction: the graduate fashion lines.

This second half of the show was kicked off with Juliet Loewen’s line “J&L.” As stated in the event program, her clothes are perfect for the “young contemporary professional.” Next came Alyson MacLaren’s line, “New Genes Maternity.” As Taylor Swift’s “Style” played, the moms-to-be strutted their stuff in simple yet incredibly chic and versatile maternity wear. Joline Cadieux’s line, “The Social Platypus,” was next, featuring shimmering metallic fabrics and structured lines. The pants were especially striking with a black diamond on the inside of the knee that added an interesting, eye-catching element.

Cydney Burton’s “New Black” line featured sleek, ponytailed models in bold minimalist and sophisticated clothing that allows for an easy transition from work to play. Wren Barber’s collection, “Keeli Designs,” added a whimsically unique vibe to the show. The line is apparently designed for figure-skating fairies: first pink, then blue, then green.

Rebecca Zubel’s line “Trash Lingerie” added a sultry vibe to the show, as models with tousled hair showcased electric purple bras and bustiers with matching panties.

“Vere Audax” by Vanessa Lefaivre gave the audience a dose of haute couture with a line of stunning eveningwear. The colours of the garments gradually faded from bright to muted. The different silhouettes displayed an array of skills, and the line finishing with a spectacular structured black dress.

As the Runaways’ song “Cherry Bomb” appropriately blasted, models wearing Janna “Jam” Kingma’s “Smelly Jam” collection strutted down the runway in red-, black-, and white-themed outfits. The line had a vintage feel, with a curve-defining style that mixed soft and tough elements to accommodate the modern fashionista perfectly.

April Kliewer’s bridal line, “Marilyn Rose,” was the final graduate line of the show. A little flower girl waltzed down the runway in a champagne-coloured dress, followed by a model wearing a beautiful mermaid-style appliquéd wedding dress. The bride and flower girl held hands for a final turn down the catwalk.

This may be the last opportunity fashion students get to host the show. As stated on the UFV website, the program is no longer accepting applicants; however, current diploma students will not be affected. Fashion design courses are still available to students who wish to take them as elective classes, and those currently enrolled will be able to finish the diploma.

Graduating student Janna Kingma said that while the program ending is “sad,” the proposed changes would benefit incoming students.

According to Cindy Stewart, associate professor of the School of Business, the university is currently working on a proposal to replace the fashion design diploma with a business degree in fashion management. This program would be a blend of fashion design and business classes. Stewart added that this would be beneficial to students because the world of fashion involves a variety of business activities; a designer must be able to present their vision to the public — not only the clothes, but through marketing techniques and knowledge of the sales world.

“[The new program] would give students the best skills to succeed,” said Stewart, adding that students would be “better equipped” for today’s real fashion world. However, this program is in the very early stages of development and must weather many levels of review on its path to approval.

The UFV fashion design department includes a hands-on component that gives students an opportunity to learn practical skills that will help them attain employment in the field after graduation. For the time being there will be no replacement for the program; however, if the proposed enhancements are received, the new program will be up and running in a few years. In the meantime, the community at large will await the day when our hardworking fashion design students can showcase their skills on the catwalk once again.

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