Student-led fashion show premiering in Florence

by Life Editor Tyler Hargett

When picturing a fashion show, one might imagine a big, bright runway in Paris or New York. However, fashion is everywhere and will soon be hitting the stage in Florence.

The Shoals Designer Showcase will take place at Singin’ River Live Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $30 for general admission and $15 for students, but they must show their Mane Card.

The show will feature the works of both UNA merchandising students and local designers Billy Reid, Alabama Chanin and the late Marigail Mathis.

Merchandising Instructor Laura McKee said there will be three intermissions between segments of the show, during which UNA culinary students will serve hors d’oeuvres.

There will also be a silent auction before the show consisting of donated items.

Merchandising students from the Connie D. McKinney Department of Human Sciences, Hospitality and Design will lead the event. All proceeds from the show will go toward the department.

“We really wanted to create a community event where we could let the community know a little bit about our department, but also to create a fun event for locals to be immersed in the Shoals industry,” McKee said.

Junior Jarrod Kennemore said despite Florence being well-known for its musical history, it is possible for the city to honor both.

“Fashion and music somehow tie together,” he said. “When you see different celebrities that do music and wear fashion, they make other people want to dress like them.”

McKee said she created an elective class, Fashion Show Production, where merchandising students worked to help put the show together.

The students who are submitting their work have previously taken her Advanced Clothing class and almost all of them are submitting designs they made for the class.

Junior Whitney Parker said she supports the show being student-led and believes the chance for students to present their work to a large crowd does not happen to everyone.

“(The show) is (a) good experience for the students and allows us to receive class credit for something that will help us in our careers,” she said.

Parker is on the show’s marketing and stage committee and created a website for the event.

A model call took place Sept. 14, which McKee advertised through social media.

“We had people come from Huntsville, Tennessee and Mississippi,” she said. “There were probably 60 to 70 people in (our department’s) little space waiting to get seen.”

McKee said some of the models were also UNA students.

Kennemore said the show will be good for the Florence community because there are many in the area that love fashion, as well as some who probably have never seen a fashion show.

McKee said she hopes to make the show an annual event.

“I think a lot of people don’t even realize the potential that we have here (for fashion),” she said. “We’ve got two famous designers right here in this area. I have a lot of students that come here that are interested in fashion, and are unaware of the already established fashion community.”

To purchase tickets, visit