From the Runway

Senior designers apply finishing touches before fashion show

Lucy Naland | Presentation Director

The trip up to the seventh-floor design studio in Syracuse University’s Nancy Cantor Warehouse is met with silent chaos. The only noises heard are the sewing machines, occasional humming of a favorite tune and murmured Bruno Mars playing in the background. Long tables align across a room below towering windows. Concentrated faces sit on stools with their creation at eye level analyzing every detail of their stitches. The countdown is on.

Come Thursday, the Senior Collection Fashion Show will take place in Goldstein Auditorium. Months of preparing is put into one night to show friends and family what 20 student designers have summoned in the past four years of their studies.

Marissa Mariscal designed her own collection for the show. As the show’s coordinator, she’s the woman in charge.

“It makes me feel comfortable knowing what’s happening behind the scenes and that everything is going to happen the way it should and as planned,” Mariscal said. “I like multitasking so it’s just the way it worked out.”

Her duties as coordinator involve working with professors to seek out volunteers for hair and makeup, as well as finding students to help out backstage during the event. But everyone contributed to what they wanted the layout of the show to look like — everything from the design of the runway to the models walking on it.

As for Mariscal’s own collection, she decided to combine her cultural heritage with fashion. With her love of details and embodiment, she created six looks inspired by a traditional Mexican dance called Folklorico. Dancers wear large gowns that take on incredible movement with every step and sway. She wanted to be able to create a collection that captured the feeling of the dance as well as make it modern and wearable in everyday life.

“I wanted to show this movement but in a specific elegant style that can be seen as professional, but also something for daywear and nightwear,” Mariscal said.

Sophistication and movement go hand in hand for her collection. One look is a light pink, two-piece with a top and flared bell-bottom pants. Another bold red piece was made with hefty material and flashes hand-sewn string details at shin length of the gown.

The studio is full of different designs from various cultures, themes and time periods. One collection by Khari Walser, a senior fashion design major, is working with a look that he created from his love of 18th-century history. The collection’s inspiration stems from the 2006 film “Marie Antoinette” but with a modern twist. By taking different materials commonly used in the 18th century, as well as modern day fabrics and colors, he created a six-piece collection that challenges cultural norms.

“I have corsets made of different materials like plastic boning to make it modern compared to what they used back in that era,” Walser said. “The jewelry takes a modern twist. I chose modern shoes but I also stayed true to the era with all the models wearing up-dos with feathers to bring the look together.”

What started out as a tribute to the era and the 2006 period film quickly turned into a collection of modern day styles. Every senior had to create 25 looks and then narrow it down to six for the final show. The process of creating and eliminating sketches pushed the status quo of men’s fashion — an area Walser said can use a pin here and there.

Walser explained that in the Victorian Era, men wore bright colors, fur, makeup and corsets. But in the late 1800s, they had to wear dark colors to be “serious and strong.”

“Back then you were pressured to look and act a certain way and I think menswear suffered from then on and became a little boring,” Walser said. “But I want to change that.”

Looking back, there’s a lot of work to be proud of. But now, the only thing left to do is watch their designs finally grace the runway.

Said Mariscal: “Even now, looking at my collection, there is always something better that can be done. But that is probably the same for everyone when they are in the process of making something great.”

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