Student Fashion Designers Create Collaborative First Friday Show

Author: Sora Wolff

On the evening of Friday November 3rd, the students of the Textile Merchandising and Fashion Design got the opportunity to show off all their hard work with the First Friday event, Refined Design. Refined Design was a collaborative runway show organized by the apparel design students of the TMFD Department of the College of Education and Human Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The event was organized by the students in Experimental Apparel Design under the supervision of Dr. Sandra Starkey. In Experimental Apparel Design class, students explore innovative approaches to apparel design that push the boundaries beyond ready-to-wear and shift into wearable art.

Eight undergraduate students were in charge of putting on the show, with assistance from graduate students as well. The students developed the theme and found the venue themselves. The students had an extremely low budget, zero dollars to be exact. So putting on the show would mean starting from absolutely nothing, which did  marvelously. The Gold’s Building, which is located in downtown Lincoln on O street, generously donated their commons space to host the runway show, with chairs aligned on both sides of the runway. Several different vendors had tables set up and dollar hor d’oeuvers provided by Relish. Designers found volunteer models to show off their hand-crafted garments.. Volunteer photographers were there to capture the event. Seriously, the students put together a phenomenal show from nothing. The room was full of guests for both the 6:30 pm and 7:30pm runway shows.

“Wait, you can major in fashion at UNL?”
“Since you’re a fashion major, are your classes like super easy?”

As a fashion major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, these are all questions I’ve personally been asked. Every major in college is going to face stereotypes and potentially some negative assumptions, and the fashion department is no exception. Honestly, when I first came to the University, I had no clue there was a fashion department. Once I switched my major however, I entered into the beautifully creative and exceptionally talented world that exists in the Home Economics Building on East Campus.

The TMFD department is full of extremely hard-working, dedicated and driven students. While the department is small, it is mighty. Every student has accumulated their own portfolios from art work they’ve done in class. Some students even have designed their own beautiful apparel garments both in and outside of the classroom. And I’ll be the first to tell you, I have yet to come across a TMFD department that’s been a walk in the park. Every class requires an immense amount of discipline and dedicated in order to do well. The projects assigned are very time-consuming and intensive. Students put in long hours and a lot of hard work all year long.

Beyond students in the Experimental Apparel Design class, other TMFD students were also able to display their garments at Refined Design. Other garments that were modeled in the show included sustainable designs, upcycled pieces and garments specifically designed based on target market research done by the designer.

Besides the runway show, TMFD students were able to display class projects that they have been working on tirelessly throughout the semester. A wall in The Gold’s Building common area held the artwork of many different students. The Black Market also put on a styling show, where their employees styled trendy outfits with garments from their store to strut down the runway

Overall, the TMFD First Friday event was a phenomenal success. I can’t write enough wonderful things about it. To be able to see the hard work of fashion students come to life both on and off the runway, there’s nothing quite like it. If you ever get a chance, swing on by the Fashion Department on the second floor of the Home Economics building on East Campus. The hallway of the department is full of displays showing off student’s impressive projects. Come check it out, you won’t regret it.

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