40th Family Weekend Fashion Show explores past, future legacies

Marina Wilson
Marina Wilson stitches decoration onto a cloak that’s part of her design collection, “Psychopomp,” part of the 40th annual WSU Fashion Show (Shelly Hanks/WSU Photo Services).

Legacy, the 40th annual WSU Fashion Show, imagines the past, present, and future through student-made apparel collections, 7 p.m. Friday, March 31, at Beasley Coliseum.

Held during WSU’s spring Family Weekend, the show is an all-student creation. Nineteen aspiring designers in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) present their visions on the runway, while a team of volunteers keep things running smoothly on both sides of the curtain. The event shines a literal spotlight on what AMDT students can accomplish.

“The 40th anniversary is a milestone and a turning point,” said Yini Chen, assistant professor and the show’s faculty advisor.

“AMDT is one of the largest fashion programs in the Pacific Northwest, and trains so many talented people for the world’s apparel and textile industry,” she said. “It’s time to celebrate the contributions of from everyone involved with our department over the last four decades. With so many new technologies and innovations, it’s also time to update and evolve.”

“This is the start of our legacy in the industry,” said designer Marina Wilson of Corvalis, Ore.

Racing to complete her collection, “Psychopomp,” named for a Greek mythological conductor of souls toward rebirth, before deadline, Wilson stitched moonflowers onto a black cloak sparkling with pearls and hand-made chain mail.

Legacy poster

Designing for the show demanded time management and strong willpower through long hours and late nights. The experience helped Wilson focus plans for an advanced degree after graduation this spring, inspiring her to follow in the footsteps of an influential French designer, Madame Grés.

Senior Sarah Kim’s collection, “Transparence,” explores flowy, sheer fabrics of pastel colors.

“The meaning behind my collection is that there’s more to someone than what meets the eye,” she said.

As a freshman, Kim was on a path to become a nurse, but corrected course during a time of global change.

“I’ve known since elementary school that I’ve wanted to work in fashion,” she said. “Once COVID hit, I realized I needed to pursue what I’ve always dreamed of.”

After graduation, Kim will move to New York to start her career as an assistant designer with American Eagle.

“My time as a designer here has set me up for what I have coming in the future” she said. “I grew tremendously as an individual by learning to solve any issues that I ran into. You do a lot of self-growth.”

Sarah Kim Fashion
Exploring pastel colors and flowy, sheer fabrics, Sarah Kim is one of 19 senior designers to show collections at the 40th annual WSU Fashion Show, Friday evening, March 31, at Pullman’s Beasley Coliseum. Designed using technology, Kim’s apparel creations are designed to help women feel confident and be their best selves.

Legacy’s success depends on students’ passion, organization, and communications skills, Chen said.

“They need to take so many little steps to be able to present the show,” she said. “We help students find what they are passionate about. That way, no matter what difficulties they may experience, they have the confidence to find solutions and enjoy the process.”

For AMDT students, “the show is a rite of passage,” said Shelby Smith, a junior pre-show committee member.

Preparation begins in August, when an AMDT class starts planning, promotion, and recruitment.

“Almost everyone will experience the production class at least once, directly or indirectly,” Smith said.

The show relies on the work of 80 models and up to 100 other volunteers who assist on both sides of the curtain. While many are AMDT students, volunteers come from across many WSU programs to be part of the production.

“I want the audience to see how many students are passionate about this and want to be involved,” Smith said. “We want to leave a good legacy for the 40 years of students that came before us, and an even better one for those that come after us.”

Besides Wilson and Kim, seniors showing collections include Angelique Attalah, Alexa Jimenez, Darien Rivera, Hunter Schueller, Jessica Liles, Juliann Yusko, Kaija Blumer, Layne Padelford, Saira Allan, Mengnan Shi, Shaylynn Reed, Shelby Miller, Sophia McMaster, Sophie Woodman, Stephanie Castro, Tony Nguyen, and Zoey Thompson.

Tickets to Legacy are $25 pre-show, $35 at the door, $60 for VIP, and are available at https://linktr.ee/wsuamdtfashionshow as well as at the WSU CUB.