Photos by Daniel Sarché
Every year, CC’s Wearable Art Club teams up with Campus Activities to put on the CC Fashion Show, an annual event that is consistently a favorite among students. This year, the show took place in the Cornerstone Main Space, showcasing student designers and the models wearing their collections.
Senior Art History major Jesse Swedlund “was inspired by the 1980’s drag ball culture in New York as well as turn of the century Viennese art” to create his collection entitled “Opulence.” Swedlund, who first became involved with the fashion show during his sophomore year, “often would create his own clothes out of unconventional materials in high school, but never had any formal design training.” His clothes, which tend to function as pieces of wearable art rather than actual marketable clothing, incorporate materials such as spray foam, cardboard, and wire. “I will likely pursue a career in the arts after graduation,” said Swedlund, “but I think I will always be creating fashion on the side.”
While Campus Activities and CCSGA sponsor the fashion show, senior economics major Jekolia Matuszewicz has planned and directed the event for the past three years. An avid knitter from childhood, she designed costumes for class plays in high school and also worked in the costume design department here at CC. As a graduating senior, Matuszewicz has already been offered a position with Nordstrom working in the fashion industry. Of the show, Matuszewicz said “It’s a tremendous amount of work to put together but when the music starts playing and I see the looks on the audience’s faces, it’s all worth it. What the designers create is truly incredible!”
Like Matuszewicz, junior sociology/history major Clara Houghteling also entered the fashion world through costume design. “My mother is an excellent seamstress, and we have a designated ‘sewing room’ at home, which gave me the materials and freedom to explore textile design from a very early age” said Houghteling. Working as the Props and Costumes Master for Theatre Workshop, she frequently costumes student productions and serves as a dresser or stitcher for department shows. “While I am going to study sociology in graduate school, costuming and design are my rainy day contingency plans: if I ever feel dissatisfied with my career, becoming a costumer will be my version of ‘running away with the circus’” said Houghteling. “Regardless of what I decide to do in my life, I will always have my sewing machine, and I can’t imagine that I would give up designing as a hobby.”
In addition to original collections by these and other designers, the Swap Space (CC’s on-campus thrift store) opened the show with two outfits curated from their current inventory. First-year Wayan Buschman is the manager of the Swap Space, which runs under the Office of Sustainability. “Growing up in New York City, I was constantly surrounded by fashionable people and images, but it was only in high school that I began to develop my own personal style” said Buschman. “Much of my wardrobe comprises hand-me-downs from my mom and grandmother. My mom even sews clothes of her own design, and, as a retired dancer, she’s trying to shift her career toward fashion at some point.”
Buschman’s experience in the fashion show differed from the other participants because she was constructing outfits from clothes in the Swap Space rather than making them herself. “While I didn’t have to deal with the technical difficulties of making clothing, I faced other challenges,” said Buschman. “For example, if I found a perfect outfit for the show, but the clothes didn’t fit the model, I couldn’t adjust the pieces; I had to start from scratch with a different outfit until I found one that looked great both on the hanger and on the model.”
While the fashion show has now become a staple event for CC students, it’s unclear what it will look like once Matuszewicz graduates. “I hope that someone sees how much it brings to campus life and decides to make sure that it remains a part of the CC traditions,” she said. “It would be my dream to come back to visit CC someday and see the fashion show as still a part of the culture of this campus.”