Designers present their final pieces as textiles and apparel design students at UT


Batli Joselevitz

Textiles and apparel senior Sam Kidd styles her model Chloe Jayne in Kidd’s original bridal dress at KEYE TV studio before an interview Tuesday afternoon.

Karin Samelson

With help from the University Fashion Group, 23 senior textiles and apparel students have been working day and night for months to prepare for their annual fashion show Contour, in which they will exhibit their designs in front of thousands on Thursday at the Frank Erwin Center.

The senior designers’ collections will attempt to embody the word “contour,” with a focus on the way the students manipulate shapes in fashion. There will be more than 120 designs on the runway, including bridal gowns, evening gowns, men’s wear and digital printing as well as many more innovative collections.

“We start planning and figuring out sponsors the week before Thanksgiving,” said Katrina Raz, textiles and apparel senior and head of show production at the University Fashion Group. “We really start getting things together in the spring semester and release all the promotion on one day so we get people’s attention.”

The University Fashion Group has different committees that do the manual labor for the show such as fitting backstage, acquiring sponsors, setup for the show and preparing gift bags while making sure everything is in order. Some students in group are also designers in the show, playing two parts in the production.

Each student prepares three outfits for their collection and can choose between an evening gown and bridal gown for their fourth piece. Some students have a fifth piece, which is a knit garment. They’ve been working on their collection, including accessories, for the entire semester, sometimes working 10 hours a day and throughout the weekends.

“I slept [in the studio] for three days once,” said designer Albert Zhou.

Zhou is working on tailored pieces inspired by espionage and secret agents. Everything in his collection is black with hints of gray and white.

“The collection should show the skills we’ve learned. From the idea, colors, fabrics: something should thread each look to another,” said Stefant Phonthephasone, the group’s president and a design senior. Janie Kang is the only student in the show to experiment with digital printing on her garments. Light is the inspiration for her collection, and she has created designs for men and women.

Kang painted on a canvas and then chose a portion of her artwork that she wanted to be printed. She then scanned the section of artwork onto her computer and, after choosing the color and type of fabric, sent the materials to a printing factory in North Carolina. The result is a sleeveless mini dress with a symmetrical blue and yellow pattern.

Kang had to have the dress rush-delivered, which she had to pay for with her own funds. The University Co-op provides a scholarship of $300 to each of the students, but the rest of the budget comes from their own savings. Some designers pay upwards of $600 out of pocket for their fabrics and supplies.

Harrison Koiwai’s collection is inspired by his childhood and experiences growing up as a biracial person; his mother is an Italian and Scott-Irish-American and his father is a Japanese-American. One piece from his collection is a kimono that he painted himself, with his plaid childhood blanket sewed underneath.

“I didn’t think about the collection too much until I had to, so I didn’t get tired of it,” Koiwai said.

The seniors were graded during a final panel last Thursday, but the show is going to be the grand finale of their careers as textiles and apparel students at UT.

“It’s a really good feeling,” Phonthephasone said. “It’s kind of like our graduation because families come, it’s the end of the year and we’re embarking on a new journey.”

Published on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 as: Designers showcase their final pieces at UT