TMD students showcase designs at ‘Spring Splash’ fashion show

To showcase TMD students’ work over their time as students, the department held a fashion show which was a splash for all. PHOTO CREDIT: James Singer | Photo Editor Emeritus

“The Divine Feminine” by Mac Miller was channeled through a pink dress strutting down the runway in the Rainville Ballroom.

“Walking down the runway, I was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna pretend like I’m doing it my whole life, and I’m just gonna go for it,’” junior Phoebe Mack, who wore the dress, said.

The University of Rhode Island’s department of textiles, fashion merchandising, and design (TMD) held its annual “Spring Splash” fashion show on Sunday, April 24. The theme for this year’s event was Waves of Change. At the start of the ceremony, five undergraduate students and one graduate student were awarded scholarships. 

Ten TMD students showcased dresses and other garments they designed and made to family, friends, professors and industry professionals at the event. The garments ranged from dresses that could be seen at a major red-carpet event to sustainably designed pants and tops.

“[The department] is truly interdisciplinary, business, sociology, science and history, all woven together with the common threads of textiles,” Martin Bide, professor emeritus of TMD, said. “Students think critically in those disparate academic areas and they bring that versatility and flexibility to their careers in the wide world of textiles and fashion.”

The first design on the runway was entitled Bird’s Eye View by Jack Channell, a senior TMD major. Channell said that he designed the dress for a grand event, like a red carpet. The skirt of the dress had over 600 ostrich feathers that were placed by hand, according to him.

Maddie Romano, another senior TMD major, modeled Channell’s dress on the runway. 

“We actually met freshman year and throughout the years have become closer,” she said.  “He reached out to me, he was like, ‘Do you want a model?’ You know I’ve done a similar show in the past so I kind of had experience and it all came together. It fit perfect when we first tried it on to our surprise because he doesn’t know my measurements.”

Kaysha Sanon designed and modeled a red dress with a black corset. According to the program, the dress started from a project in TMD 355: Draping for Apparel. She said that while the prompt was simple, her passion for experimentation took the dress to another level.

Following Sanon, Portia Boucher, a senior TMD, global business and Italian triple major, showcased a “modern yet classical” red satin dress. Similar to Sanon, this dress was inspired by a project from her draping class. The dress was modeled by Nina Pao.

Some designers featured more than one garment in their collection, including junior TMD major Sadie Fosdick. She and Theresa Rand, a junior nursing major, modeled two deep red formal dresses. Fosdick wore a pink satin overskirt that she dropped at the end of the runway to reveal the skirt of the dress.

A collection entitled Uniform for the Next Feminist Revolution featured another garment from the red dress project. Grace Hull, a junior TMD major with a minor in Spanish, said that she wanted her first garment to challenge her own skills, as well as the “sociocultural boundaries” of society. The dress was modeled by Riley Amaral. Hull said that she was inspired by designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Olivier Theyskens.
The next collection, El Cuento de Hadas, was also inspired by designer Ana Santos, a senior TMD major with a minor in art, who was born in Mexico and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island.

“For Ana’s childhood, escaping from reality meant taking scrap fabrics and playing dress-up all day long — not existing in this world but in an imaginary one,” the program said.

This collection featured two outfits, modeled by Delya Lorquet and Steadfast, featuring pieces many people already have in their closets alongside fabric manipulation and natural dying techniques.

Carissa Hawkes, a senior TMD major with a minor in sustainability, incorporated her focus on sustainable design into her garments. She showcased two collections, Conscientious Style Part 1 and Conscientious Style Part 2, modeled by Alexis Hawkes, Halley Dams, Ellen Naughton, Maura Brennan and Jacqueline Morley.

“[My focus was] definitely sustainability,” Hawkes said. “My first collection, which was three designs, were based off of upcycling, even though they were made from scratch. Then this year, I made these two designs where I reused older material that otherwise would have been thrown away. I also incorporated plastic in it because I want to inspire people to reuse older things or just things like plastic because textile pollution is one of the largest polluters in the world.”

She said that her favorite piece in both collections was a plastic core set that had pressed flowers inside of it because it is something that she has never seen done before.

Another designer in the show and a junior TMD major, Caitlin Spor, incorporated floral aspects. The dress that Spor made was inspired by several pieces in the Met Gala. The dress was made of gold satin that was embroidered with floral patterns and was modeled by Cara Boland.

The dress inspired by “The Divine Feminine” was designed by Gabriella Rama, a senior TMD major with a minor in art. 

“The album is all about, like, just the divinity inside of a woman,” she said. “So I wanted to kind of make something from pieces and make it into something cool and something strong and beautiful.”

The idea to create a line inspired by this album came from a project in Rama’s TMD 327: Apparel Design course in 2019. Miller, her favorite artist, passed away in 2018. She decided to rework one of these designs for this project

Rama designed the bodice textile using a zero-waste technique. This textile was made to be “reminiscent of the beauty and power of the female form.” The skirt of the dress was made from hand-dyed satin.

The last designer was Lillian Marie, a junior TMD major. She was inspired by 1930s evening gowns and designed three dresses — a red dress, a pink dress and a sparkling silver dress. These dresses were modeled by Emily Marie, Morgan Lavoy and Casey Badel.

In conclusion, Rhody slayed.