Students lit up the runway with stunning and diverse collections at the University’s Annual Fashion Show on April 26.
With inspirations ranging from the beauty of mermaids to 1960s Miami glamour to wildlife in Kenya’s Nairobi National Park, 127 student fashion designers showed more than 300 head-to-toe looks at the Moulin at Sherman Mills in Philadelphia. The show, produced by the student Fashion Industries Association and its president, fashion merchandising and management junior Lauren Vastano, featured unique collaborations between fashion design, textile design and industrial design students.
“When our students leave here, they are skilled—and they are industry ready,” said Sheila Connelly, director of the fashion design program at Jefferson (Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University), adding her students inspire her every day “with their open hearts, boundless curiosity and compassion for one another and for the world around them.”
Chancellor Stephen Spinelli Jr. proudly noted that employers and graduate schools hire and enroll Jefferson students at a 96 percent rate and the University’s learning approach, expertise and student success have led the Business of Fashion and Fashionista to rank Jefferson among the top fashion programs globally.
“Tonight, you will see the ambition and the potential for making a better world through our human-centered, design-thinking focus,” Spinelli told the sold-out crowd. “That process requires acute thinking and skills—and a deep sense of empathy.”
Fashion celebrity Carson Kressley H’13, honorary chair and University trustee, called it a privilege to interact with Jefferson’s talented, dedicated and passionate students.
“You’re in for such a treat, and I must say, Jefferson has never looked so good,” he said to the more than 1,100 cheering students, family members, fashion industry leaders, media, area fashionistas and University faculty, staff and trustees.
On the runway, the audience saw a wide variety of women’s, men’s and children’s looks created by sophomores, juniors, seniors and graduate students. From NBC10, Bill Henley served as emcee and Katy Zachry provided commentary for each design.
Alexandra Pizzigoni received the FIA Award for Best Senior Collection with “Memory Space.” (See full award list below.) Luxe fabrics and unconventional materials informed this collection inspired by interior spaces and inanimate objects. Supported by the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience, which helps to defray the cost of fabric and other materials, this collection was a collaboration with textile design students Sivan Ilan and Regan Marriner.
The FIA Award for Best in Show went to senior Dalton Wade Reidenbach for a coat in his “Bawdy Opulence” collection, where the carefree and risqué fashions of the 1920s came to life with sequins, ostrich feathers and brocade. He received support from the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund as well.
The juxtaposition of white and vivid hues alludes to the creative internal battle of the mind in senior Alana McHugh’s “Convolution” collection, which earned the Nexus Learning Award for a collaborative design initiative and received funding from the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund. She worked with textile design students A. Zarinah Nuri, Emily Olsen and Ji Young Park.
The whimsical and romantic “Over the River and Through the Woods,” a collaboration of fashion designers Danielle Frere and Lex Sado and textile designers Nina Nickerson, Jessica Butler and Nina de Vasall, explored what life might have been like behind the pages of a French fairytale. They won the Stuart Weitzman Award for Excellence in an Eveningwear or Bridal Collection.
At the Fashion Show, renowned shoe designer and entrepreneur Stuart Weitzman received the Jefferson 2018 Spirit of Design Award, which is presented to an individual who has had a significant influence on design and design education. Due to a family emergency, Weitzman couldn’t attend the event in person; however, alumnus Philip Kodroff ’82, former chief financial officer for Weitzman’s company, accepted the honor on the designer’s behalf.
Weitzman’s iconic shoe designs, including the Nudist sandal and 5050 boot, have been worn on the red carpet by such celebrities as Beyoncé, Angelina Jolie and Taylor Swift, as well as by the merely fashionable in 75 countries around the world.
Kodroff said Weitzman’s success was due to his “secret sauce,” including manufacturing practicality, comfort, quality materials, affordability and keeping the line fresh and new every season.
Another honoree was Kate Kibler ’97, vice president of North America direct-to-consumer business at Timberland, who received the Alumni Award for Leadership in the Fashion Industry. The University established this distinction to acknowledge alumni industry leaders actively engaged in the Jefferson community.
“As you enter your career, I encourage you to be bold,” Kibler urged the students. “Take risks. Evolve and change with the industry. Really embrace what’s out there. This is one of the most fun, fulfilling, exciting—and exhausting—careers you can ever have.”
Student winners at the 2018 Annual Fashion Show included:
CARSON KRESSLEY AWARD
Most Ready for Retail
Kelsey Fickes, Collection One
COATES BROTHERS CLOTHING AWARD
Excellence in Workmanship and Quality/Senior Collection
Tiffanni Hinds, Collection Two
COLLECTION XIIX AWARD
Collaborative Textile Design for Womenswear
Lexie Kline, Collection One
DESIGN EXCELLENCE AWARD
for Innovative Shapes and Silhouettes in a Senior Collection
Alexandra Pizzigoni, Collection Two
DESTINATION MATERNITY AWARD
Design Excellence in a Sportswear Collection
Alyssa Manna, Collection Two
FASHION DESIGN FACULTY AWARD
Excellence in Design
Best of Show
Dalton Wade Reidenbach
Best Senior Collection
Alexandra Pizzigoni, Collection Two
Best Senior Collection, Honorable Mention:
Keren Espina, Collection Two
JOAN CALABRESE AWARD
Design Excellence in Childrenswear
LI & FUNG AWARD
for Design Excellence by a Junior
MIKE TERNOSKY OBEY AWARD
for Most Creative Collection
Yee Fang Ho, Collection Two
NEXUS LEARNING AWARD
A Collaborative Design Initiative
Alana McHugh, Collection Two
NICHOLAS LOUIS PALUMBO AWARD
Design Excellence in Menswear
Carly Brisach, Collection Two
SCHOOL OF DESIGN AND ENGINEERING AWARD
Outstanding Senior Design Student
Patricia Corine Franklin
STUART WEITZMAN AWARD
for Excellence in an Eveningwear or Bridal Collection
Lex Sado and Danielle Frere, Collection Two
THE EVELYN AND PAUL KNUDSEN RED DRESS AWARD
for Excellence by a Junior
THE WOOLMARK COMPANY AWARD
for Textile Innovation
Lex Sado, Collection Two
Nina de Vassal
UNITED FABRICS AWARD
Original Jacquard Textile Design
Emily Olsen for Alana McHugh’s Collection One
Jefferson received the following sponsorships for the Fashion Show:
Fox Rothschild LLP
Donna Nicoletti Ferrier ’80 and Joseph J. Ferrier Family
Li & Fung
STUDENT TICKET SPONSORS
Matt Dane Baker
Handsel and Karen Minyard
Penny Wise Thrift Shop
Jennifer Rhodes ’96
Celia Frank and Anne Hand
Coates Brothers Clothing
Fashion Design Faculty
Fashion Industries Association
Li & Fung Limited
Mark A. Sunderland
School of Design and Engineering
The Woolmark Company