Student’s designs take the runway in ‘Emerge’


The Spazio Ragazza look is part of the Re-Use Collection which pushes the boundaries of school spirit to a new level. (Taylor Reyes / Xpress)

Models glided down the runway as onlookers sipped champagne, eyes drawn to the work being showcased by SF State’s apparel design and merchandising students in the elegant setting of the Galleria at San Francisco’s Design Center April 28.

“Runway 2016: Emerge” was presented and planned by several ADM students as a part of professor Connie Ulasewicz’s Visual Merchandising and Promotion class. The seniors in the course were responsible for planning the show, which featured designs and garments made by fellow ADM students.

“To prepare, we had to come up with the show’s theme, make the poster, promote, organize the models and garments in order, have a tech and dress rehearsal, and set up the actual show,” said Riley Johnson, a senior who helped plan the show.

The show, according to Johnson, offered insight into what her career path may look like.

“The entire experience was very insightful, and I’m grateful to have been a part of it,” Johnson said. “It was a taste of what I may potentially do in the real world, so that was useful.”

The show featured garments by 21 student designers, all modeled by SF State students. Ulasewicz, who has advised the show for 12 years, said the diversity of models is something she’s most proud of.

Lily Sauer & Kelsy Long collaborated on this Upcycled Design piece at the 2016 Emerge Fashion Show at the San Francisco Design Center. (Taylor Reyes / Xpress)
Lily Sauer & Kelsy Long collaborated on this Upcycled Design piece at the 2016 Emerge Fashion Show at the San Francisco Design Center. (Taylor Reyes / Xpress)

“Our student models are all sizes, shapes and ethnicities and reflect the population of our student body at San Francisco State,” Ulasewicz said.

Presley Gomez, a third-year ADM student, has modeled in the show since her first year at SF State.

“The coolest part about the show is seeing what everyone can design – I think it’s so unbelievable,” Gomez said. “These 20-something-year-old people can make all these amazing things.”

Gomez, who will be a senior next year, is excited and prepared to help run the show next Spring.

“I think it’s really helpful to understand the teamwork, and utilizing everybody’s skills to do the show,” Gomez said. “That’s what you need in order to make this work.”

According to Johnson, the theme, “Emerge,” was decided on as a class after trying to find one word to represent the show and the work put into it.

“We liked emerge because it gives the idea of newly emerging designers and merchandisers into the field,” Johnson said.

Ulasewicz noted the experience of merchandising a runway show and showcasing their talents and knowledge in a real-world setting will translate well onto their resumes and potential careers.

“(My favorite part is) the joy reflected on the faces of the students as they come off the runway, as they complete their tasks, as they reflect on their hard work and positive results,” Ulasewicz said.