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The Flor-Ala

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Students highlighted in UNA Designer Showcase

Whitney Veazey
Models display students’ works.

The fourth designer show hosted by UNA was filled with College of Arts, Sciences and Engineering talent, promoting an elegant and expressive atmosphere and highlighting graduating seniors on Apr. 19.

The fifteen students in Professor Laura McKee’s Fashion Show Production were entitled to the responsibility of bringing the event together. 

The show’s target was to display the in-class hard work of Fashion and Merchandising, Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Events Management, Cinematic Arts and Theatre, and Northwest Shoal Community College Salon and Spa students in an all-inclusive environment.

Lucy Strickland, one of the event’s organizers, explained, “Each student had at least two of the five teams that oversaw various aspects of the show. For instance, our teams were Marketing, Models, Atmosphere, Looks, and Auction. Time management was crucial with this class as every step in the process depended on one another to pull this show off.”

The event provided greatly prepared food served by well-prepared waiters. John Tolbert, a hospitality and events management student and an impeccable server, claimed the Designer Showcase was a great hands-on experience for his future career.

Professor Louis Yuille of culinary arts said he was proud and excited for his promising students, but sad since the event would be the last one he would work with some of them.

The show was separated into six segments, separated by brief ten-minute intermissions. The first one showcased students from beginning and advanced sewing classes. 

The spotlight was taken by models in fur, ballonet skirts, leather, transparent materials, flowers, and a seemingly regency-era-inspired dress worthy of a Jane Austen novel.

The second and third segments were closer to the street style. Models walked in cropped tops with womanhood-related prints and patched pants. Volume was the center of many pieces.

The fourth segment featured students’ work from the Sustainability in Fashion course. The target was to repurpose a blazer into a new and useful creation.

The original piece was turned into two-pieces of jackets and skirts, corsets and vests. The creations ranged from tighter to more fluid looks.

The fifth segment was designated for three graduating fashion and merchandising seniors and the work they have created throughout their UNA journey.

Emely Norman showcased a bold elegance with light pastel colors in short and revealing fabrics and cuts. 

Her collection was filled with creations one could use for both an afternoon brunch and a club. Silk, rhinestones and flowers filled Norman’s art with texture and feel.

Alex Dunlap was inspired by the boldness of the 1960s counterculture. From Cullman, the designer claimed he created clothes that would be seen in protests and activists.

Vests and jackets in autumn colors were applauded with joy but Dunlap surprised the audience by cutting the music and having three models walk side by side with t-shirts that read anti-war chants. In the back, the writing claimed remembrance for Aaron Bushwell, Nex Benedict and humanity.

The designer claimed, “I wanted this to be the most ‘me’ thing I have ever done in the department, and I hope future employers who see this want me for me.”

Savannah Echols dedicated her collection to the “Blooming of a Woman,” to elegance, timelessness and growth. Her goal was to cause emotion through storytelling.

Echols said, “It was to represent me graduating high school during COVID-19 and the hardships that I went through during college that made me who I am today.”

The designer’s creations were worthy of a Sofia Coppola film, filled with girlhood and silk. Corsets, skirts and dresses were walked in beautiful emeralds, creams and pepper browns.

The sixth segment followed three other graduating seniors.

Jesselin Unger portrayed the beauty of colors, which she claimed was special for being out of her comfort zone. 

“I wanted to showcase all the beautiful colors of the rainbow and utilize different materials and silhouettes to promote my growth in the fashion department,” she said”

Unger presented each model with a different and vibrant color with dresses and rompers, some accompanied by cloaks. The senior made sure the designs fluttered through the audience.

She added, “Never forget your inner child.”

Meli Sanderson presented a marvelous prom collection. The designer has been sewing since her childhood and mentioned to have always been drawn to formal wear.

Tulle, sparkles and tons of fun turned the model’s walk into the heartfelt moment high school juniors and seniors prepare months for. Sanderson showcased a variety of formal styles and colors.

Lillian Robertson inspired her graduating collection on her mother who was diagnosed with cancer in 2023, and who sat cancer-free to watch her daughter’s creations on Apr. 19, 2024.

Robertson’s collection was identified through its creative, camp-worthy headpieces. The creations included pink plush and rhinestones and were eclectic in fabrics.

CASE Dean Dr. Zayac claimed, “It is always a great opportunity to center our students’ work and demonstrate their talent. We are lucky to have such a prolific artistic community in the Shoals with Alabama Chanin and Billy Reid.”

The fashion show was the closure the six graduating seniors needed.

Strickling adds, “I am very thankful we had this opportunity as it exposed to us a side of the fashion industry that we might not encounter in our future fields.”

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About the Contributors
Manuela Ludolf
Manuela Ludolf, Staff Writer
Whitney Veazey
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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