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Student Success

NC State University’s Fashion and Textile Design Seniors Launch Capstone Collections

A line of five models walks down the runway. A clapping audience is visible in the background on the left side of the photo. Play Video

By Sarah Stone

Most students take their finals in a lecture hall or lab. For seniors majoring in fashion and textile design (FTD) at the Wilson College of Textiles, final exams happen on the runway and in a showroom. 

26 such seniors launched their design careers with the FTD Emerging Designers Showcase in April. The annual event showcases capstone collections with a runway show and textile exhibition. It also serves as a celebration for FTD students, who have just completed what many say is the most challenging – and most rewarding – course of their academic careers. 

“You have less guidance because the purpose is for you to try to figure it out on your own. I feel way more confident going into job interviews now,” fashion design (FD) student Daryn Wilkerson says, reflecting on the semester. “It also has made me more confident in my abilities as a designer to know that I can problem solve by myself.”

The entire course is completely devoted to developing these capstone collections. Each student in the FD concentration must create either six or eight looks, depending on whether or not they’re enrolled in the accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program. Textile design (TD) students create between 10 and 12 new designs that can be incorporated into larger pieces or stand alone as fabric samples.

Incorporating diverse skills into their collections

The 2023 showcase provided a masterclass in how the disciplines of apparel design and textile design work together and enhance each other. The bulk of each student’s upper level courses focus on their chosen concentration, but all FTD students earn a foundational education in both fashion design and textile design. Many of this year’s designers were inspired to pull from both of those skill sets in developing their collections. 

In addition to their interior design collections, six textile designers sent apparel looks down the runway constructed completely out of their own textiles. The challenge came from more than the time required to develop additional pieces; every apparel look had to fit in seamlessly with the designer’s interior collections. Each student achieved this cohesion a little differently: matching surface patterns, woven structures, color palettes, yarns, or a combination. 

“Showcasing apparel designs is an opportunity for me to get the point of my collection across more and have better communication with the audience than I would with just interior designs in a showroom,” textile design senior Andrea Hunnicut says. “I have pretty crazy patterns going on in my collection, so I really focused on basic silhouettes and I think that’s really made my collection cohesive just through the matching patterns that are in my runway looks and my exhibition.”

Fashion design students also reached back to their textiles skillset to add a more distinct voice to their collections. Lindsey Seidenstein developed graphic designs and print motifs for many of the looks in her collection “Modern Royalty,” and Veronica Humphrey incorporated by-hand beading and embroidery into her detail-oriented “Memories” collection. 

Watch the 2023 Emerging Designers Runway Show