A student is seen working on a sewing project

SIU Carbondale Fashion Studies students Lennon Adams (above) and Jada Russell (middle) work on their creations ahead of the Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show set for Thursday, April 25. The show will also feature 12 award-winning garments designed by faculty member Judy Huyck (below), who is retiring this year. (Photos by Russell Bailey) 

April 22, 2024

Hitting the mark: SIU’s Fashion Studies program prepares for April 25 show

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale fashion design majors Lennon Adams and Jada Russell are working feverishly at their tables, knowing that the clock is ticking. The Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show is set for Thursday, April 25, at the SIU Student Center. 

“I’m really looking forward to it,” said Adams. “I have a great model, and I think the dress itself is going to look great on her. I look forward to seeing everybody come out to see our pieces.”  

For Adams, Russell and others in the program’s production II class, this will be their first garment fit to a live model and their first fashion show. 

Russell, who is from Collinsville, said she was excited, but also nervous, about getting her dress completed. 

“I’m thinking I have so much to do. I know if I put my time into it, it will get done. I’m an overthinker,” she said with a laugh while working on a pink dress and blouse with a 1970s motif. 

The runway fashion show begins at 7 p.m. in Ballroom D. The student showcase, with featured works from students in fashion design, fashion merchandising, fashion styling specializations and the interior design program, is from 6 to 7 p.m. in the John W. Corker Lounge and Ballroom C. The program is free and open to the public. 

Adams, who is from Kappa, Illinois, about 14 miles north of Bloomington, is one of three men in the program. While working on a princess seam for a dress with velvet material, he said he got his inspiration to enter the industry from the late designer Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White streetwear brand. 

“His work, specifically as a designer, blew my mind,” Adams said. “I guess that’s my biggest inspiration. I kind of just stumbled on enjoying looking at nice clothing, probably like freshman year of high school.” 

Adams noted his ultimate goal is starting his own brand, and he has a distinct interest in sneakers and footwear. 

jada-russell-fdm-24-sm.jpgFor Russell, who also has an interest in art, designing clothes is something she has always wanted to do. While she was good at hand sewing, it was a “step-by-step” process with the sewing machine that she is now adept with. 

Russell said her interest in fashion is to “make people feel good, regardless of what size you are.” She wants to design her own pieces, relying on recyclable fabrics for sustainability.  

“Plus-size people still don’t have a lot of options for fashion, so I hope to be able to give more options for people who have trouble finding clothes in their size,” she said. 

Laura Kidd, an associate professor in the School of Architecture and program director, said she is excited for the students to be able to present their designs. 

“It’s always enjoyable to watch the students as they progress through the year and see their finished works,” she said. 

Special tribute 

judyhuyck-fdm24-sm-sq.jpgThe evening will be capped with a special tribute highlighting the work of Judy Huyck, a senior lecturer in the fashion studies program who is retiring from SIU Carbondale after 12 years. In her honor, 12 award-winning garments Huyck designed and created for various Threads magazine competitions will conclude the runway show. The models are students and a School of Architecture staff member. 

Huyck said she’s excited to see the works on the stage from a different perspective; oftentimes, she modeled the garments herself at conventions and fashion shows and never really got good photos of them. 

“It will certainly be nice to see them again,” said Huyck, who learned to sew when she was 12 years old. 

“I started designing for Barbie with my Barbie dolls like everybody else,” Huyck said. 

A master pattern maker, Huyck will be able to spend more time with a company she owns, Pattern Works International, an apparel pattern production service that creates camera ready patterns. Huyck said she is going to miss her students and offered some poignant advice. 

“Keep your individuality and creativity and don’t give up. Fashion is a tough business,” she said. 

The lineup for the Fashion Studies’ Student Showcase and Runway Fashion Show is below, with students, hometowns, and project names, where listed: 

Student Showcase Corker Lounge and Ballroom C 

Collaboration project 

Fashion merchandising students 

  • Hannah Karl, Springfield, Illinois. 
  • Pearl Williams, Chicago. 
  • Paige Dycus, Carbondale.  

Fashion design students 

  • Jia Brown, Chicago. 
  • Noah Eaton, O’Fallon, Illinois.  

Interior design students 

Team 1 

  • Maryjane Spangler, Peoria, Illinois. 
  • Abigail Wheatley, Herrin. 
  • Kassia Kwasniewski, Marion. 

Team 2 

  • Jocelyn Guerrero, Elgin, Illinois. 
  • Kaylie Carlen, St. Elmo, Illinois. 
  • Nicole Fugina, Weldon Spring, Missouri. 

Team 3 

  • Sophia Davis, Wheaton, Illinois. 
  • Bella Meincke, Round Lake, Illinois. 

Fashion styling work 

  • Kylah Smith, Memphis, Tennessee. 

Runway Fashion Show — Ballroom D 

The runway fashion show begins with four first-year students who will each present a design titled, Dressed for Effect. Those students, with hometowns, are:  

  • Lennon Adams, Kappa, Illinois. 
  • Chloe Antoine, Jerseyville, Illinois. 
  • Jada Russell, Collinsville, Illinois. 
  • Shantell Tompkins, Mounds, Illinois.  

Three advanced students will present fashion designs as part of mini-line collections with designs that highlight decades from the 1920s to 1940s. Those students, with hometowns and line, are: 

  • Jia Brown, Chicago, Opulence. 
  • Noah Eaton, O’Fallon, Illinois, Requiem. 
  • Kylah Smith, Memphis, Tennessee, Doux.  

Four students are presenting fashion designs as part of collections inspired by the April 8 total solar eclipse. Those students, with hometowns and line, are: 

  • Aniya Vaughns, Chicago Heights, Illinois, Beyond the Stars. 
  • Nicole Robinson, Carbondale, Sheer Darkness. 
  • Lisa Vasilopoulos, South Elgin, Illinois, Florescence. 
  • Aaron Elliot, Herrin, The Ceremony.