April 24, 2018

Fashion design majors to show their creations Thursday

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The clock is ticking.

For August Morgan Bishop, Joshua Gavel, Emily Hennenfent and Olivia Martinez, a process that seemed far off when they were freshmen in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program is now just days away.

“We are all down to the wire. It has been years off until now and all of a sudden it’s April,” said Gavel, a senior from Philo, who was working on his creations. “I’m going to get everything done and I think everyone else will and I’m excited.”

Showcase will feature work of all program students

The program’s 2018 Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show starts at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Student Center ballrooms. Laura Kidd, an associate professor in the School of Architecture and program director, has supervised the designers and show since 1997.

A student showcase of exhibits begins at 6 p.m. in the J.W. Corker Lounge, featuring a variety of coursework and student projects from several classes.

The runway fashion shows feature the work of undergraduate students before the senior showcase. About 200 students from across campus are involved, in addition to John A. Logan cosmetology students, who help complete the models’ runway looks.

Largest senior design class in several years

The 12 design students who comprise this year’s senior showcase make up Kidd’s largest class in several years. As she surveys the activity around her, Kidd examines fittings and checks the progress on each student’s line of eight to 10 designs.

“They’ve worked really hard and we are heading toward the inside stretch,” Kidd said, noting these students entered the program at about the same time and have taken most of their classes together.

“I always find it interesting that they all seem to come up with a different idea for their senior line,” she said. “It’s fun to see when it’s all done.”

Design inspiration comes from varied sources

For Martinez, who is from Round Lake, the inspiration for her “L’esprit D’adventure” line came from her study abroad program to Marseilles, Grenoble, Paris in France and Geneva, Switzerland while obtaining her minor in marketing last summer. The street-style architecture and art inspired her ready-to-wear line.

Hennenfent’s affinity for historical fashion resulted in her “Caged” line, which features internal structures that support and create the fashions. Hennenfent, from Wataga, worked with steel and wood to build the structures and her line features corsets and paniers.

Bishop, who is from Mundelein, focuses the “Analog” line on digital technology of the past, present and future. Bishop’s gender-neutral clothing concept is for people interested in an androgynous style of clothing that doesn’t identify solely for men or women. Historically, Bishop notes, women’s fashion often takes inspiration from men’s fashion.

Gavel, who is from Philo, credits his “Back to the Edge” line to singer-songwriter James Arthur, and said his inspiration for the line came from larger cities, such as New York City. He wanted to do something “very urban, forward and risqué.”

‘Do the thing you always think about’

Hennenfent and other students each recall their interests in clothing and designs beginning at an early age. She remembers sewing “pretty much my whole life” and working on projects with her grandmother every summer.

“My mom knew my path before I did and helped me realize it,” said Martinez, who will graduate in May 2019. “I was always being active, doing things with my hands and being creative. It fed into that more and more as I got older and I realized the clothing industry can do so much … that fashion is definitely what I was meant to do.”

Only public university in state to offer bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design & Merchandising

“I’m doing everything across the board to make myself more competitive,” she said.

Hennenfent will attend graduate school in costume design at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas this fall with a goal of working in historical costuming, possibly restoration.

Students support one another in ‘friendly competition’

Martinez said she liked the ‘vibe’ she got from SIU’s program when visiting before deciding on a college.

“We are all here to support each other and we all really appreciate what each other is capable of,” she said. “We see that in the senior line. Everybody brings their own skills and flavor in what they like to design.”

More information on the 12 featured senior design students is available at the School of Architecture website.

The designers, with their collections, listed by hometown are:


  • Annawan: Eva Dynes, “Contemporary Prairie”
  • Chatham: Kyndell Cole, “Resurrection”
  • Chicago: Kandis J. Sullivan, “Kandy”
  • Decatur: Julianne Rae Bridges, “Halo”
  • Matteson: Sydney Baker, “Shades”
  • Mundelein: August Morgan Bishop, “Analog”
  • Philo: Joshua Gavel, “Back from the Edge”
  • Round Lake: Olivia G. Martinez, “L’esprit D’adventure” (Spirit of Adventure)
  • Wataga: Emily Hennenfent, “Caged”


  • Evansville: Anna Delene Rutledge, “The Final Frontier”


  • Louis: Alana Cade, “Arcadia.”
  • Yazmin Rosado-Polanco, “Boriqua.”

Runway Fashion Shows

Starting at 7 p.m., April 26

“Dressed for Effect” – a presentation of spring dresses created by first-year fashion design students.

  • Jade Cochran.
  • Paige Gower.
  • Tracy Gholson.
  • Sina Maiberger.
  • Rana Schenke.

“Bridal Re-Imagined” – featuring non-traditional bridal and attendant fashions by advanced fashion design students.

  • Sydney Baker.
  • Julianne Bridges.
  • Alana Cade.
  • Kyndell Cole.
  • Yazmin Rosado-Polanco.
  • Kandis Sullivan

“Time After Time” – mini-line collections inspired by historical fashion from junior design students.

  • Rawan Almghamsi.
  • Terrian Brownlow.
  • Brooklyn Lehn.
  • India McCluney.
  • Jingyu Niu.


Emily Hennenfent

Recreating an era – Emily Hennenfent, a senior in SIU Carbondale’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program from Wataga, shows off one of her “Caged” fashion line creations for the upcoming senior showcase on April 26. Hennenfent will graduate in May and is interested in pursuing a career in historical costuming, possibly restoration. (Photo by Russell Bailey)

Olivia Martinez

Putting together last-minute touches – Olivia Martinez, a senior in SIU Carbondale’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program from Round Lake, works on some of her “L’esprit D’adventure” (Spirit of Adventure) line for the program’s senior showcase on April 26. Martinez got inspiration for her creations while studying in France and Switzerland last summer to obtain her minor in marketing. (Photo by Russell Bailey)