Self-expression in fashion design

Samantha Handwerger’s AMDT fashion show collection, “Block Party,” focuses on the New York skyline and streetwear.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

As a New York native situated in a small town on the opposite side of the country, Samantha Handwerger, a senior studying apparel, merchandising, design and textiles (AMDT) at WSU, displays her admiration of the Big Apple in her fashion collection.

Handwerger’s spring and summer 2017 fashion line, “Block Party,” reflects the big city with loud colors, subway maps and – of course – New York City’s skyline in street attire and sportswear. The city’s large diversity of people, along with their contrast of style, is one of the reasons Handwerger decided to create this fashion line, she said.

“Block Party” is directed toward young women, ages 18 to 28, who are beginning a wild, free and adventurous life in a big city. These pieces, filled with intricate details, are intended to be mixed and matched with plain things already existing in women’s’ wardrobes, Handwerger said.

Although she is displaying a collection of clothes, she hopes to be a food stylist or even a lifestyle blogger in the future – all that matters is that her job allows her to be artistic and interactive, Handwerger said.

With the 34th Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show, an annual showcase sponsored by the AMDT department, Handwerger is excited to display her understanding of the show’s theme: Elevate.

With the theme open to interpretation, Handwerger decided to symbolize both the physical and intangible aspects of her journey through studying design in the “Block Party” collection. As a graduating senior, she has done a lot of soul searching and this fashion line displays just that, she said.

The fashion show features junior and senior AMDT students who produce the event and the collections featured in it, receiving opportunities for professional and personal development.

Amy Hughes, instructor for the event production class taken by these upperclassmen, says the fashion show highlights the merchandising and design skills that students have developed over time in WSU’s AMDT department.

Junior and senior merchandising students are responsible for finding models for their showcases, working with the designers who are developing their own fashion line, designing the event’s brand and marketing the event itself.

As for the design students, they start collecting images during the fall semester to create a concept board in order to assist them in finding moods or patterns relative to the fashion show’s theme, Hughes said.

Faculty then evaluate garments created by the students to determine whether it is “runway worthy.” This entails construction, appropriateness and other details.

The 34th Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show is starting to progress toward different markets, such as men’s wear and plus-size apparel, Hughes said. However, the AMDT students’ individuality remains the same in the annual fashion event.

If a designer’s passion is to provide people with glitzy items, or they simply can’t live without clothes, Handwerger says that having a creative job allows artists to be imaginative and social while doing something they absolutely love.