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Drexel Fashion Designs Rock the Runway at Annual Senior Fashion Show, June 6

June 03, 2015

Swatches and designs from Drexel senior Ying Zhang's collection.
Swatches and designs from Drexel senior Ying Zhang's collection

With influences ranging from Miley Cyrus to modern ballerinas to the glitter of Swarovski crystal and snow to a painting of a sunset, the collections of 29 graduating fashion design students will hit the runway at the Drexel University’s Annual Senior Fashion Show on Saturday, June 6, presented by the Fashion Design and Design & Merchandising programs in the Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design.

This year’s show will take place at the Urban Outfitters Corporate Headquarters Naval Yard (5000 South Broad St.), Building 543. The first show will be held at 4 p.m., with a ticket price of $30. The second show will be held at 8 p.m. and will be followed by a wine and cheese reception, with a ticket price of $60.

Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here. For more information, call 215-895-2390 or visit

The annual fashion show is a student-produced show by the Design & Merchandising’s “Fashion Show Production” class. There are student leaders for all aspects in the show, including casting models, organizing garments, marketing and public relations, box office administration and event management.

There are collections for men, women and children and categories such as sportswear, active wear, evening wear, bridal, lingerie, and outerwear. 

Unlike other student shows, Drexel’s fashion show is not limited to a single theme; students are encouraged to develop their collections around their unique sources of inspiration. The fashion design students began researching for their collections the in fall and have spent the past seven months creating pieces that bring their visions to life. Each student illustrates and creates the final patterns and garments, often using couture techniques.

“This year we are showcasing an extraordinary and diverse range of specialties,” said Lisa Hayes, director of the fashion design program. “These include collections with digital printing, hand-screened prints, hand painting techniques, machine and hand quilting, beading, embroidery, hand and machine knitting, hand and machine felting, laser cut patterning, 3-D printing techniques and even molded rubber design work."

Designs from Drexel student John Patrick Kemp's collection.

John Patrick Kemp says he looked to certain notable personalities like “the glam rock of David Bowie to the up front quirkiness of Miley Cyrus and the over-the-top antics of Ursula” to design his collection of prints, which are combined with his own knits and specialty leathers. The result is fun, sexy, quirky clothes with just a touch of whimsy,” he said.

Taylor Dunn found inspiration in a brush stroke painting of a sailboat at sunset for her collection, which she says “combines concepts used in activewear with the technical construction techniques borrowed from surf and scuba wear.” The line, which features textured, colored neoprenes and brightly colored zippers, is complemented by custom-designed and hand-crafted footwear.

Ashley Paulino looked to the opposite season and found inspiration in wintry images like “glistening sparkle of fresh snow, illuminated ice-laden tree branches and crystallized snowflakes falling from the sky” for her eveningwear collection. The line of architectonic silhouettes features winter white couture corsets with hand-stitched interior structures and Swarovski glass and crystal elements covering the surfaces.

Margaret Heil’s seven-look collection designed for girls ages 5-8 is all about embracing the youthful exuberance of being a child, she says. The clothes are bright, colorful and inspired by the whimsical paintings of Claire Desjardins. “My goal for this collection was to create clothes that a little girl actually wants to wear, something that will catch her eye and make her smile,” she said. Almost every fabric used was hand manipulated or created by Heil through various techniques like woodblock printing, laser-cutting, quilting, machine and hand knitting, appliqué, embroidery and different dying processes.

A colorful piece designed by Drexel student Margaret Heil.

The senior collection of Emily Jackson embodies the modern, urban ballerina and ballet. “I incorporated delicate, sheer silks, knit ponte and soft lambskin with my hand-painted textile designs,” she said. “Couture techniques and finishes result in a mix of pieces that are sleek yet sensual, and ultimately feminine.”

Ying Zhang’s women’s sportswear collection for spring and summer was originally inspired by the geometric shapes of toys, but she later used research on color pallets and knit and woven textiles to inspire the designs.  “I was very interested in the idea of how to introduce a fine gauge yarn into the collection that still could be played around with shapes. Then the machine knitted mohair that was felted onto different silk fabrics became the main technique of the collection. After that, the idea of co-operating the share fabrics with the solid ones to play around with light and transparency was engaged with the concept of the collection,” she said.

Designs from Drexel senior Ying Zhang's collection.

The curation of music for the fashion show will be handled by 14 students in Drexel’s music industry program, as part of the Mad Dragon Music Publishing practicum course, under the direction of Assistant Professor Michelle Manghise. Music industry students will handle music supervision for the runway segment of the show selecting, editing and sequencing music, which will reflect the artistic vision of the designers, engage the audience and set the overall tone for the event. This is the third year running that Mad Dragon Music Publishing students have handled Music Supervision for the fashion show.

About the Fashion Design and Design & Merchandising Programs:
The undergraduate and graduate Fashion Design programs in Drexel’s Westphal College are recognized in the top 10 fashion programs in the United States and in the top 20 programs in the world by Fashionista Magazine. The rigorous curriculum includes a unique six-month co-op experience that complements coursework in conceptual design, presentation skills, CAD and manufacturing procedures. Students conclude their senior year with the presentation of their collections in the Drexel Fashion Show, which is produced by students in the Design & Merchandising program.


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