Alyssa Novak and Kana Miyakawa look towards one another as they ponder the next adjustment on the mannequin in the Annex 1 building at SF State on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress) (David Jones)
Alyssa Novak and Kana Miyakawa look towards one another as they ponder the next adjustment on the mannequin in the Annex 1 building at SF State on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress)

David Jones

SF State’s Design and Merchandising department will host their 28th annual fashion show

Thursday’s fashion show has an eco-friendly theme that will feature sustainable designs on the runway.

May 11, 2023

This Thursday SF State will host its 28th annual spring fashion show, Runway 2023: Kinetic. Design and merchandising students collaborated to put together a show that showcases sustainability.

“Slow,” shouts Professor Stephanie Currie to a model on the runway from across the room. Tuesday was the first day students got to rehearse for the event at the venue, Annex I.

Dress rehearsal was crucial toward polishing the show’s final details. Local high school  students stood in as the show’s practice audience. 

Models seated in matching outfits as they pose for a portrait in the Annex 1 building at SF State on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress) (David Jones)

Although it took a long time to find a name for the show, “Kinetic” was chosen because of its relation advancing toward the future. Show coordinators wanted to transmit a message of “forward thinking, forward moving,” as the tagline says.

Karina Alvarado, a merchandiser in charge of the website and model, explained the process behind the decision.

“We wanted something that’s not too focused on fashion even though it’s a fashion show,” Alvarado said. “The seniors are moving forward in their careers and it’s also moving forward as we progress in the fashion industry towards sustainability.”

The message of the designs is that disposal of garments is not necessary, one can upcycle to recreate and extend its life.

President of the Fashion Network Association Samantha Griswold says the show’s name is related to the energy they want to portray. She also mentions the difficulties of organizing the event in just one semester.

“Last week, we were afraid that we didn’t have any lighting or pipe and drape, so we were kind of frustrated about that, but it all ended up working out,” Griswold said.

This year will be the first year the fashion show has taken place since the pandemic. Last year, a small version of the show was hosted in the Malcolm X Plaza where only 50 people could attend.

“Because this is the first fashion show that we’ve done since COVID, it’s been kind of hard getting everything back to the way it was,” junior designer Luca Panzarella said. “This time, they’re trying to do it the way that we used to and trying to get everybody back into it has been difficult.

The show consists of three parts. First, some pieces are exhibited at the entrance. The theme is related to zero waste which means no fabric is wasted. There are no scrubs, and all garments are repurposed.

Stephanie Currie, professor and coordinator of the event, explained the purpose of the designs made in the runaway.

“The whole idea of these [garments] is the idea of doing something unique that isn’t common in the industry,” Currie said.

In this first part prior to the show, the audience can vote which piece they consider most effective regarding the concept of zero waste. The winner with the best design will be rewarded  scholarship money.

Junior designers are in charge of the second part of the show. They have given a second life to the garments they received from Goodwill’s donations. Students have envisioned and created new pieces apart from them.

During the second act, a mood board of pieces before and after will be shown. 

Junior designers and models Paris Choy and Alyssa Burtis have created each other’s looks. Both felt lucky with the original clothes they received to work with. While Choy’s inspiration was a kimono and Victorian style, Burtis opted for a 2000’s look.

A student twists on a head piece to put together the mannequin body to prepare it for clothing in the Annex 1 building at SF State on Tuesday, May 9, 2023. (David Jones / Golden Gate Xpress) (David Jones)

“The original garment gave me a range of a lot of inspiration to work off of, so it’s just like things building on top of each other and adding more things to make it more beautiful,” Choy said.

The third and final part is the seniors’ collections. Each collection has three pieces in it.

One of the senior designers, Karina Saekow, explained how stressful the experience was but feels proud of her creation. Her collection, “Verizon City” is inspired by natural, fairy and feminine concepts.

“It was hard to search for fabrics, I went to a lot of different sources to find the color palettes that I liked,” Saekow said. “I think I had good luck with finding the specific patterns on my fabrics and everything to make it really cohesive.”

Merchandising is also an important part of the event. The students oversee the promotion as well as the decorations and lineup for the event. The show has been promoted in various ways from banners to their website to different social media platforms.

One of the hardest challenges they have faced during the process was the collaboration between merchandising and design students.

“I think the designers are very focused on their design – that’s what they’re really good at, and we as merchandisers are trying to put on the best show for them so that the guys highlight everything they’ve been working towards,” Alvarado said.

The show’s clothing donations and show funds came from sponsors such as Goodwill, the San Francisco Environment Department and the California Product Stewardship Program.

The fashion show has not received much support from the university. Alvarado said it is a recurrent issue of past fashion shows and enhances how the students are the ones making it happen.

“Another thing is that you don’t have a lot of support from the university,” Alvarado said. “This was all literally just our merchandising class of like 30-40 students trying to put on an entire show, not just for the school, but like people in the city, people from the industry and not having support from groups outside of just our class and our department is very difficult.”

Fundraising for the project started last fall and continued during spring. Students participated by selling pieces for  Valentine’s Day.

Usually attendees are mostly family and friends, but they will be joined by the sponsors. There is also a hope that people from the fashion industry show up.

“The students had been promoting it to thrift stores and upcycling stores, the retail [stores], their coworkers, the places they work, and trying to [invite] anybody interested in fashion, and anybody interested in sustainable fashion,” Currie said.

By Tuesday, around 250 to 300 tickets were sold. They expect to have around 100 more guests at the door. The venue holds a capacity of 600 people which has been filled in previous events, according to Currie.

The Runaway 2023: Kinetic will take place Thursday, May 11 at 7 p.m. at the Annex I. Doors open at 6 p.m. The tickets prices vary and can be purchased on their website.

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About the Contributors
Photo of Andrea Gallego Rodriguez
Andrea Gallego Rodriguez, Staff Reporter
Andrea Gallego (she/her) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. She is an exchange student from Spain. She is from Madrid, Spain, but she currently lives in San Francisco. She is majoring in both journalism and cinema. She previously wrote for a Spanish student magazine called Revista (In)cognita. She has always been interested in everything related to the arts and literature. For the last few years, she has also been immersed in international political issues thanks to the Models of United Nations she has participated in.
Photo of David Jones
David Jones, Staff Photographer
David Jones (he/they) is a photographer for Golden Gate Xpress. He is majoring in photojournalism and minoring in sociology. He was born in Oakland, California and raised in Hayward, California. His passions are concerts/editorial photography, poetry and searching for new ways of creative expression. During his free time, he enjoys reading, writing poetry, self-reflection and listening to music.

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