It’s been said that the third time is the charm and this year we have to agree: the third annual Fashion on the Shore [FOTS], a runway event showcasing the top student designers from the Lake Michigan area, was absolutely charming. This year, it featured student designers from five area schools: Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Dominican University, Illinois Institute of Art, and Kendall College of Art and Design. The number of designers participating has tripled since the first FOTS—including a record high number of participants from Michigan—and the number of models has doubled.
Presented by Shore Magazine, along with the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council, the event moved to May 9, the Friday evening of Mother’s Day weekend, the better to draw on the arts-minded Shore readership who crowed the galleries on the weekends and who love to shop with their daughters and girlfriends. We continued the tradition of staging the event at the beautiful Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph, Michigan. Guests enjoyed food and wine from Classic Catering and chocolates by Kilwan’s; Indian Summer boutiques in Chesterton and New Buffalo and Decorating Den in St. Joseph, Michigan, were sponsors for this year’s festive event. Reva Salon provided the hair and makeup styling and Tammy Gleason of Evangeline Events created the centerpieces. And broadcast personality Robin Van Dyke once again expertly kept the crowd entertained and informed as well as the models moving down the runway.
Our panel of judges brought unique skill sets to the difficult task of picking winners in the categories of creativity, wearability and craftsmanship. Vicky Cook of VC Metalworks is a jewelry designer; Elise Mauro is the owner of Indian Summer Boutiques; Shatar is a landscape designer and painter of modern art; Anna Russo Sieber is the founder of ARS Gallery; and Ali Hansen is the executive director of the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph.
But the evening belonged to the 18 designers who presented a breathtaking range of clothes, from mini-dresses to gowns, shearling coats to cocktail outfits. Materials used included shantung, leather and painted upholstery canvas. And the designers’ inspirations were drawn from a variety of places, including abstract art, sailing and pastry.
We are confident that you will be hearing and seeing more from each of these talented designers in the future. But we want you to learn a little about each of them now. Remember, you learned about them here first.
Erin Johnson, Western Michigan. Our first prize winner [see article].
Kaitlin Slack, Central Michigan University. Inspired by the glasswork of Louis Comfort Tiffany, Kaitlin took second place with her use of hand-beading and hand-dying techniques on her evening dresses, skirts, bustiers and palazzo pants. She created a stunning collection of wearable luxury.
Sarah Ducheny, Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago. Sarah captured the third prize for Belle Fete: Time to Curtsy and Twirl, her collection of fancy party skirts. Her use of midnight blue, orange and navy was striking in her peplums, trumpet hemlines and fit-and-flare styles.
Sarah Lyons, Western Michigan University. Sarah was the first place winner in FOTS 2013. This year, she presented a modern interpretation of vintage Hollywood in five dresses, with an emphasis on detailing and glamour.
Ellie Perry, Kendall College. Ellie showed four looks that embraced bold pattern and color, including separates and a mini-dress for a fun-inspired collection.
Lynn Seman, Western Michigan University. Lynn targeted a fun, active market with four separate looks and both a mini- and maxi-dress.
Her designs are for work or special events.
Melissa deKoster, Central Michigan University. Drawing from Toulouse-Lautrec’s Moulin Rouge paintings, Melissa used lace and zippers to create a dress, a jacket and pants, and a shorts outfit inspired by a dancer’s bloomers.
Michelle Karaskiewicz, Dominican University. Disney princesses were a starting point for Michelle, who presented a glamorous black-and-white collection of cocktail dresses and gowns.
Joanna Bronicki, Kendall College. Joanna created Valentino-inspired looks from recycled materials, a corset of unbleached coffee filters, an edgy black gown from trash bags, and a cocktail dress made from the pages of Vogue.
Jade Stansbury, Central Michigan University. Combining edgy with girly, Jade presented evening looks with bejeweled tops, zippers and leather skirts.
Kristine Lin Opaleski, Central Michigan University. Inspired by shape of sails, Kristine’s collection featured elaborate pleating and draping in a variety of materials, including chiffon, linen and painted canvas.
Annie Brower, Central Michigan University. Combining her love of the artist Basquiat and feminist punk band Riot Grrrl, Annie made her own prints for a casual collection of dresses, trousers and tops.
Coral Bowron, Western Michigan University. Coral brought her keen interest in historical costuming to her clothes, using leather, tweed and shantung silk, including a black petal dress with open waist detail.
Jason Gagnon, Central Michigan University. Jason was our second place winner in FOTS 2013. This year, he presented a collection with an interesting mix of textures, including hand-painted silks, satin and knits. His inspiration was abstract artist Zao Wou-Ki.
Zachary Stoner, Central Michigan University. Zachary did two menswear outfits and one woman’s; all used faux black leather and lattice detailing. The dress highlighted felted black lace.
Emily Prchlik, Kendall College. Emily showed five gowns with great attention to detailing, shimmer and texture. Her works included crystals, velvet, and lace overlay.
Eden Souser, Western Michigan University. Eden aspires to make women comfortable in their clothes. She showed both business looks and a strapless dress, all with flower embellishments.
Accel Monroe Paramour, Kendall College. Accel combined chiffon, matte satin for a collection of slip dresses, tops, and a jumpsuit. She also made shearling shorts and a coat.
In the end, it was a winning evening for everyone who got to see and enjoy these creative talents. It was a time to dream a little, mentally shop a little, and just take in the vibrant fashion scene on the shore.