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Columbia Missourian

Stephens College fashion show brings back memories for alumnae

By Jasmin James
April 21, 2012 | 8:05 p.m. CDT
From left, Colondra Smith, Chelsay Russell and Kara Henry walk the runway at Stephens College Evolve fashion show Saturday. The three were modeling looks from the Terminal Velocity: Career Sportswear and Dresses section.

COLUMBIA — The juniors and seniors featured in this year's annual fashion show at Stephens College have been preparing since they were freshmen.

This year's show, titled Evolve, showcased the portfolios of several Stephens design students. Residents, friends, family and alumnae of Stephens College gathered in Windsor Auditorium on Saturday afternoon to watch the student-run show, which is celebrating its 68th anniversary this year and is a part of a weekend of activities commemorating Stephens Alumnae Weekend.

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Every year, industry celebrities judge and select the garments that will later be showcased at the fashion show. This year's judges included Peter Carman, the president of the Paris American Academy, London College of Fashion Design Director Basia Szkutnicka and season nine "Project Runway" finalist Laura Kathleen Planck. Several of the other judges were Stephens alumnae.

Kirsteen Buchanan, professor of the fashion design and product development classes and coordinator for Evolve, describes how the process is stressful but extremely rewarding.

"This is a juried show," she said. "Students could work all year on a garment only to have it kicked out of the show. So it’s stressful, but we’re mimicking the sales process of the real world."

Not only do these women go on to work in the industry with some of the country’s biggest brands, a few of them, like Qrystal Frasier, who has juried in the past, compete on shows like "Project Runway" and get worldwide recognition from fashion icons such as Michael Kors and Tim Gunn.

For the alumnae of Stephens, this weekend brings back memories of design days and runway walks. Jamie Link, alumnae, admissions counselor, recruiter for the fashion department and model for several designers, says the show is the “wow effect” for the weekend.

“As an alumnae and admissions counselor, this is an amazing composition of everything they’ve worked for all year long," she said. "It’s like putting everything you’ve learned over the last four years together.”

Other events celebrating Stephens Alumnae this weekend include a class reunion, reception and dinner for the class of 1962 and a comedy show.