CSU’s Elemental – Graduating Students Showcase Diverse Designs

The local Colorado fashion scene has witnessed exponential grow in the past few years, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. On Friday, April 1, Colorado State University hosted its annual fashion show which showcased the works of students in their Design and Merchandising program.

The show was split into four sections with four different themes per show. Each collection was diverse and highlighted the forward thinking of the CSU design program. “I chose to attend CSU for apparel and design not only because CSU is a credible university with an outstanding design program, but also because it is located in this beautiful state that I wouldn’t want to depart from,” said senior Biridiana Torres.

303 Magazine went to Colorado State University to view the local talent and see where the Colorado fashion scene was headed next.

Laurean Lotspeich’s collection “Petrichor.” All photos courtesy of CSU

Elemental – CSU Graduating Fashion Show

The show took place at Fort Collins Lincoln Center of the Arts and showed the designs of 22 graduating seniors. The influence ranged from vintage looks to more minimalist designs with something for everyone. The stage was split into two, allowing for both sides of the audience to view the action as models walked in a circle. Forty-eight models featured 106 garments in a show stopping runway collection.

Matthew Martinez' collection "Surface Tension"
Matthew Martinez’ collection “Surface Tension”

The night opened with a very colorful children’s collection by Chelsea Beamer. A fashion market we often forget, the collection featured dresses that are appropriate for the upcoming spring season with sun dresses in bight colors. Beamer called her collection “Tweedlebee,” a playful name that really expressed what we saw on the runway.

Another outstanding collection came from Matthew Martinez, who is currently interning with Public School in New York City. His collection was named, “Surface Tension,” and played off the color blue in multiple ways. Martinez’ show featured one of few men’s looks. A model sported a denim like jacket with raw, white flower prints that gave softness to the overall look. Matching colored denim was featured with this look to give a suit like appearance.

Designer Emily Petiya, was one out of two designers that created a plus sized line. So we were more than excited to witness a collection for curvy girls inspired by punk rock looks. Petiya named her line, “Riots, Not Diets,” which sheds a positive light on loving all body types. Red flannel and leather bonded the collection with darker hues. Lauren White‘s collection also caught our eye and proved to the most whimsical line of the night. Extremely colorful with an emphasis on mixing fibers, White’s pieces are not for the shy at heart. These garments meant business with full skirts embroidered with abstract shapes alongside contrasting colors.

Audriana Howard's collection "Ever After Bridal"
Audriana Howard’s collection “Ever After Bridal”

Another specific market collection came from Audrey Howard, who choose to specialize in bridalwear with her line “Ever After Bridal.” We spoke with Howard that gave us insight into her line:

“The collection of transformable bridesmaid and bridal gowns that are perfect for wearing during the wedding and far into the future. Each dress easily converts from a formal gown to a simpler cocktail/reception look. This collection was inspired by all of the bridesmaids who have been forced to pay for ugly, single-use dresses and brides who don’t see the point in buying a dress that they will never wear again. These looks were also inspired by flowers, jewels, and the beauty of the weddings at which they would be worn.” – Audrey Howard

Then came Couture worthy garments by designers Nicole Grebb, Rachel Hartman and Khristian Gilham. Grebb studied fashion design in Paris, and as a result her collection featured hand sewn garments. The pieces looked even better on stage under bright lights that made them glow. Grebb titled her collection “Femme,” which fit well, seeing that very flattering silhouettes brought out the best in a women’s body. A red dress played with flirtation, exposing skin while still keeping something reserved and mysterious. Another piece worked sheer garments into the mix but kept things very Parisian with metallic gold shorts.

Rachel Hartman’s collection won “Outstanding Designer” through CSU’s Design and Merchandising department, and we can see why. Gilham’s collection however, proved to the most wearable while still combining elements of high fashion. A black gown with a plunging neckline really took center stage for its elegance. Her collection, “K.YNEZ,” won “Most Marketable” due to its minimalist and chic look.

Khristian Gilham’s collection “K.YNEZ”

The overall show proved to be successful, displaying diverse ideas you won’t even see at New York Fashion Week. The collections seemed to play independently of mainstream trends with each designers voice coming to the surface. There was something for everyone, from plus sized to kids to the fashion forward.

“We have a world class design program here at CSU, it’s the best you will find between either of the coasts,” Said Sarah Peeler, chair of promotions and publicity. “These people will be the next generation of designers, we are so lucky to learn and be surrounded by them.”

We certainly agree, and can’t wait to see the Colorado fashion scene evolve with these major talents living among us.

Rachel Hartman’s Gown being awarded Outstanding Designer


Designers on Stage During the Award Ceremony
Designers on Stage During the Award Ceremony

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