Senior design students prepare for spring fashion show

Three AMDT students discuss their collections, passion for fashion



Senior AMDT major Amiah Brooks works on one of her designs.

FRANKIE BEER, Evergreen news editor

Senior design students have waited their entire college career for the opportunity to participate in WSU’s annual fashion show: their last chance to reveal who they are as an artist before graduation. 

This semester, 14 seniors in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles are preparing to display their collections in WSU’s 39th fashion show on April 1. This year’s theme is vitality, which represents students’ transition back to normal life after the pandemic. 

“Vitality is like rebirth for us, like having our fresh start,” said Stone Duran, senior apparel design major. “Butterflies are like little critters that go into a pupal state and eventually blossom into butterflies. That’s how we are right now; we’re just blossoming into butterflies.”

Duran said he knew nothing about sewing or apparel before applying to WSU and considered exploring music or culinary school instead. He became a design student because it felt instinctual and allowed him to express his individuality. 

Over the past few months, Duran began creating his collection “Chrysanthemum,” translating the designs from his sketchbook into reality. Duran will fit his pieces to his models and make corrections before he will present his six final looks to the judges this spring. 

His collection will feature evening wear with silhouettes reminiscent of the 1950s. Duran said his style is inspired by couture brands, like Dior, that develop elegant and classic pieces. Although he does not like bold patterns or vibrant fabrics, Duran decided to challenge himself by incorporating floral patterns into his collection, he said. 

Though Duran said it is difficult to be one of about 20 male students in the AMDT program, he said apparel design allows his voice to be heard. 

“[Fashion] is a way to express oneself when one does not have a voice. Beforehand, I was a very introverted person and never talked,” Duran said. “Clothes help me with confidence. I talk to people more; I talk during classes, all that stuff.”

Senior AMDT major Keyondra White said her collection is based entirely on the concept of confidence, specifically female empowerment. 

“All You: Unlocked” features five complete looks made of leather material. White’s models will walk down the runway to “Megan’s Piano” by Megan Thee Stallion, bringing a “boss” energy to the fashion show, she said.

“It’s about embracing who you are, embracing your personality, embracing everything about yourself and showing it in a confident, bold way,” White said. “I want them to walk like they own million-dollar companies — like they own the world. I want my collection to have an attitude to it.”

White found inspiration from the brand Manière De Voir, which specializes in “edgy” leather clothing, she said.

She said she finds the motivation to work hard on her collection from her family. Their high hopes for her future make her want to do her best, she said. 

Her mother used to watch America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway when White was in second grade, sparking her interest in fashion. She received her first sewing machine that year and started making miniature outfits for her dolls and drawing in her sketchbook. 

As she got older, adults said she should pursue a career for money rather than passion, but White said she knew she would regret it if she did not follow her passion for apparel and design. 

“Fashion to me is just wearing what makes you feel good and wearing things that stand out from other people,” White said. “It could be the craziest thing in the world – if you feel good in it, that’s all that matters.”

Senior AMDT major Amiah Brooks said her collection will bring a “wow factor” to the fashion show. “No Limits” conveys her message of individuality with a Western theme and fitted pieces covered in rhinestones.

She said the collection’s “baddie cowgirl vibe” is inspired by the Met Gala and the desert-like places where she might live after graduation. Her favorite design from the collection is a pink jumpsuit covered in rhinestones in an ombre pattern from bottom to top. 

Brooks’ models will enter the runway to the sound of a blaring siren, queuing the song “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls. She grew up hearing the song on “Just Dance” and said it is a manifestation of her future, she said.

When Brooks answered a questionnaire in fifth grade asking what she wanted to be when she grew up, she simply wrote “famous.” Throughout college, Brooks has explored avenues like social media, modeling and working with established brands like Steve Madden and Nike, she said.

Her mom was a constant source of styling inspiration during her childhood, Brooks said. 

“She always put me in the cutest clothes,” Brooks said. “She’s definitely one of the main people I look up to. Her opinion is probably the only one that really matters when it comes to styling.” 

White said that working alongside other designers like Brooks while creating her collection is inspiring. 

“It motivates you, seeing how hard everyone else is working,” White said. “Some of these people are here day and night, and it’s inspiring that we’re all working hard for the same end goal at the end of the day.”