The Wolfpack will be well represented during this week’s Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week®, one of the premier fashion weeks in North America since its founding in 2007. Five of sixteen designers competing as semifinalists in CFW’s Emerging Designer Competition have NC State College of Textiles roots. Three are alumni and two are current students. A fourth alumna will have designs featured in CFW’s Success Showcase.
“Once again, we are so excited to see our NC State College of Textiles’ talent showcasing innovation and creativity, integrating aesthetic and technical and functional expertise with global market knowledge,” said Dr. Nancy L. Cassill, professor and interim department head, Textile and Apparel Technology and Management at the College of Textiles. “Our strong industry connections, combined with our talented faculty and state-of-art infrastructure consistently help prepare our College of Textiles’ students and alumni for important venues, such as Charleston Fashion Week.”
Lisa Hoang and Lauren Stilwell are current students in the Fashion and Textile Design program in the College of Textiles, the same program from which Jamie Morrison graduated in 2015. Jessica Fulks graduated from the Textile Apparel Management program (2009) and Jon Millner from the Fashion and Textile Management program (2014). Each of these designers has put their hearts into creating collections that tell their unique story. Lisa Hoang’s collection “Nguyen Dynasty” pays homage to her mother who taught her to sew when she was younger. “The collection is about bringing together the styles of the west and east. This can be seen in the silhouettes and material choice of each garment, ”said Hoang.
Jessica Fulks menswear collection features prints and structured silhouettes inspired by the 1982 film “Tron.” “Its minimalistic aesthetic allows the detailing and electrifying prints to stand out. My textile and design background allows me to combine my love for textile innovation, classic tailoring, denim, and athletic wear detailing to create garments that allow a man to be comfortable in any setting while still being stylish,” said Fulks. “My College of Textiles education aided me with the knowledge to design my own textile designs as well as figure out the chemistry behind my denim washing.”
Along with their fellow Emerging Designers, the NC State designers will show their collections on the CFW runway March 15-19 to an average of 1,000 attendees per night, including industry experts such as Fern Mallis.
“NC State has always been a great breeding ground for Charleston Fashion Week talent, although there was definitely an uptick in participation this year,” said Jacqueline Lawrence, production director for Charleston Fashion Week. “We’ve had numerous Emerging Designers from there, and some of them are now faculty. Those faculty members do a great job encouraging students to take part. They inspire great, young talents and that helps make the competition really exciting.”
Another College of Textiles graduate, Jazsalyn McNeil, will have designs featured in Charleston Fashion Week’s 2016 Success Showcase, which will highlight success stories that began under their tents. This mixed-media, high-tech installation will serve as a hall of fame for models and designers that have graced the CFW runway and have gone on to achieve success in the industry. McNeil, a recent College of Textiles graduate who is currently working with Dr. Jesse Jur and his Nano-EXtended Textiles (NEXT) Research Group, was a CFW runway model in 2011 and 2012, and was selected as an Emerging Designer for CFW 2013. This is her second year being featured in CFW’s Hall of Fame. Her designs are inspired by bio-luminescence.
“Their mystery is as intriguing as the new phase we are entering with electronic textiles. The designs will incorporate lights which respond to ECG sensors. The human life/heart rate represent the ‘bio’ aspect and the integrated lights represent the ‘luminescent’ aspect’. The designs featured at Charleston Fashion Week will be an experimental approach to design. The goal is to generate a platform of discussion on human interaction with technology and nature,” she said.
One of designs College of Textiles alum Jazsalyn McNeil is currently working on.
CFW’s Emerging Designer Competition started as a local competition for Charleston-based aspiring designers but has grown into a pathway to national success in the fashion industry.
“Our event is a place designers get discovered, gain national exposure in the media, and hob-knob with some of the biggest tastemakers in fashion. We have seen EDs go from the CFW runway to being featured on CNN, Marie Claire, ELLE, WWD, and other major media outlets,” said Lawrence.
The 2016 Grand Prize winner will be awarded a prize package valued at over $40,000, including $10,000 cash, an internship during New York Fashion Week Fall 2016, a private lunch with Mallis, and a private showing at the retail store In Support Of in NYC and more.