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Annual Student-Led Fashion Show Celebrates the Evolution of Clothing and Student Growth | Lifestyles

Annual Student-Led Fashion Show Celebrates the Evolution of Clothing and Student Growth |  Lifestyles


Last month, the Crystal Bridges Museum of Art became a glamorous runway of beauty and creativity as senior students showcased a stunning collection of clothing representing the evolution of their personal style.

Enclothe is UA’s student-run fashion show produced annually by seniors in the Apparel Merchandising and Product Development program. This year, the parade took place on April 26 and featured 81 garments.

Student leaders split the show into two identical events at 5:15 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Prior to each show, ticket holders could attend an exclusive pre-show event, which included cocktails, appetizers and a pop-up shop. The models were at the store, wearing brand new creations by Dillards and Venita Aspen, an influencer and designer showcasing her latest collection.

The theme for this year’s show was Evolve. Senior creative directors Simeon Smith and Haylea Naylor explained that the evolution of clothing over time partly inspired the theme.

We noticed a lot of clothing ranging from natural materials to super futuristic and innovative styles and silhouettes, Smith said. We have seen a full cycle of evolution from beginning to end of clothing and of the way of life itself.

Naylor said the theme also represents the growth of students in the program.

We also show how many of our students have had to overcome certain circumstances and have evolved into the person they are today, Naylor said. That’s why we chose Evolve. It was all about growing and becoming who we are today.

2023 was the second year that Crystal Bridges hosted the show, and the museum has become a striking kaleidoscope of decor, shop and clothing of all colors and styles.

The team was excited to return to this location, said assistant manager Carleigh Foreman.

The Crystal Bridges environment is a perfect fit for our exhibit because I think it showcases the artistry and meaning behind the designer’s clothes, Foreman said.

After the fashion show, an academic and achievement-based awards ceremony took place.

Enclothe started in 2015 when a senior AMPD major wanted her honors thesis to be a clothing collection. In response, her advanced clothing teacher decided to turn her thesis into a fashion show for all the seniors in the programs.

The show has grown steadily over the years and is a way for students to prove their work ethic and career readiness, Naylor said.

Naylor said she’s always loved fashion, but wasn’t sure she could do her job with it. She was initially a business student but immediately changed after attending NWA Fashion Week as a freshman, she said.

Being in space with all these creative minds and really awesome clothes, I was like, Oh my god, this is the kind of environment I need to be in, Naylor said.

Smith’s interest also began at a young age.

I started collecting shoes in 6th grade and it grew from there, Smith said. It evolved into fashion and full outfits and styling. Going down the rabbit hole of fashion and learning so much more about it, I’ve developed a very strong passion for what I want to do. I really want to have an impact on the denim industry and the ethics behind it.

For Naylor and Smith, as well as the rest of the show’s creative team, fashion has been a passion since childhood. Participating in the UofA showed them that it could be more than a hobby.

We’re mostly trying to keep showing that our major isn’t just messing around, Naylor said. There’s a stigma around fashion majors that we just create mood boards and be on Pinterest all day, so we’re trying to show that there’s a lot more behind that.




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