Used wedding dresses get new life in hands of KSU design students

By Maura Wery

There was a passion for fashion Friday evening at K-State’s own edition of Project Runway. The UPC sponsored event, modeled after the hit Lifetime Network show that is in its 11th season, featured original outfits created by K-State apparel and design students.

But it wouldn’t be Project Runway-esque if the designers didn’t have to “make it work.” At Friday’s competition, the design students were presented with the challenge of making vintage wedding dresses into modern garments. They had to use 50 percent of the original fabric, lace and beadwork from the dress and only $15 extra from JoAnne’s fabric store to complete the look. To top it all off, their work would be judged by a panel of judges including Madeline Heck, the manager of Kieu’s; Hot Sticky and Sweet member TyWoo; and Project Runway alum Austin Scarlett.

The contestants took varied approaches. Rylee Bacon said she had tried to emphasize a strong, modern, romantic feel in her design. Collin Campion cited Madonna as his inspiration for a short, white, well-tailored dress with a tool jacket. Sam Caresio’s black cocktail dress was inspired by a feminine but edgy feel. Amara Giersch incorporated her dress’ intense beatwork with a feminine and flowy gown.

Arianna Levin’s interpretation of a feminine, summertime dress involved something short, red and flirty with a lace front made from the back of a wedding dress. Lauren Nutt’s idea of a classic chic feminine beauty was achieved with her white gown with nude, tool sleeves. Hannah Sigvaldson said her designs are usually for “strong, independent women,” but went against that aesthetic with her hand-painted, fitted dress with a white cape. Cheryl Yacenda strove to keep the elegance of the wedding dress but without the same look.

All the designers works were praised by all three judges with minimal critical notes made. The audience was also captivated, clapping and cheering for their favorites as they walked down the runway. But as with the TV show, there could only be one winner. It turned out to be Sigvaldson with her hand-painted gown. This isn’t the 21 year old senior’s first time at K-State’s Project Runaway; she has been a contestant each year since she came to K-State and also won during her sophomore year.

“I think this is more stressful than the actual show,” Sigvaldson said. “We are doing these projects on top of school.”

Sigvaldson said her winning design was a first in one sense. “This is the first time I’ve made something girly,” she said. “When I got the dress, I started throwing out sketches and actually picked out a design I created in lab.”

Sigvaldson’s gave her a cash prize along with bragging rights for the year. Second place went to Levin with her red cocktail dress; Madonna-inspired Campion took third.

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