As the spring semester comes to an end, models decked out in student-designed garments, will strut down the virtual catwalk while thousands tune in on Monday, May 10, to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s 55th annual Senior Fashion Show.
The “Road to Runway: The Fashion Show” is a virtually produced show that gives students in the Fashion Show Production Class in the fashion design and merchandising program the opportunity to showcase their talents and creations by producing a fashion show that features creations from fashion design students in seven segments.
The program is offered through UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources highlighting a culmination of a year and a half of hard work and dedication through collections by current students to include three senior student designers as well as recent graduates.
This year due to the pandemic, the fashion show production class, co-taught virtually by fashion show industry veteran Lynne O’Neill from her home in New York, and fashion show producer/journalist Amanda Stevens in Honolulu, has reinvented this annual live in-person event to a virtual one. The students were tasked to produce a two-part docuseries, for broadcast television, featuring the annual fashion show as well as behind-the-scenes footage and interviews highlighting three senior fashion design students. The runway footage for The Fashion Show was captured on the students’ smartphones.
“Our student producers wear multiple hats as writers, editors, photographers, videographers, models, and social media specialists,” said co-instructor O’Neill. “Amanda Stevens and I mentor and coach the class through virtual production meetings rather than a traditional class setting.”
About the designers
Aaron Jay A. Guillermo’s collection, “After School Special” is inspired by the women in his life. He wants those who wear his clothes to feel comfortable and confident, no matter who they are.
“Being told that the show would be presented virtually almost crushed my spirit, so naturally, I felt almost reluctant to even participate since I knew my expectations would not have been met and I would not get to present my work the way I would have liked,” said Guillermo. “Luckily, I was in the care of Amanda and Lynne, two very important people in this industry as they made me feel at ease. Also, on the bright side, I get to showcase my designs to wider audiences and have my collection readily available to people who would not have been able to come in person to see it during its premiere.”
Helen Park was influenced by the 2020 stay-at-home order and the desire to be outdoors. Her collection “Under the Sun” is an ode to her appreciation of literally being under the sun.
“I think the most challenging thing about doing a virtual fashion show this year was having to work from home. Working from home along with senioritis, it was hard to focus and stay on track,” said Park. “The most rewarding part of this entire process is being able to give my clothes away to my friends who modeled them beautifully for the show. I also think being able to look back at the interviews, photos, and show itself will be very rewarding and something I will cherish for a long time.”
Jade Young’s collection, “Dazzling Affairs,” is inspired by a fantasy aesthetic and her favorite color, pink.
“The most challenging thing about doing a virtual fashion show this year was just getting all of the content and footage for it. It really pushed up the deadlines for getting my looks finished, so I had to work a lot at one point,” said Young. “It was also very difficult to film myself sewing and doing work because I’m usually by myself and can’t hold a camera while simultaneously sewing. So those were rare shots if I remembered to capture them.”
She added, “The most rewarding part was looking at all of my finished designs together. It’s very surreal to see my drawings materialized especially since, for most of my life, it’s always been drawings I’ve been looking at. I never really get to bring them to life, but I finally got the chance to with my senior collection. And it’s so amazing to see how it came out since I never really know exactly how everything will look since I always get my fabric right before I start sewing it. I just love the creative process and seeing the end result of my efforts. It’s very satisfying. Overall, I feel so accomplished and proud when reviewing all of my outfits because I love every single one of them.”
The history of fashion at UH stretches back more than 100 years and is intermingled with the history of fashion in the state. The first classes in textiles were offered in 1917, just 10 years after the college’s founding.
How to watch
“Road to Runway: The Fashion Show” can be viewed on May 10 at 6 p.m. on ʻŌlelo 53 and at 8:30 p.m. on KFVE 6. The premiere will also be livestreamed on HawaiiNewsNow.com/roadtorunway and olelo.org/53.
There will be rebroadcasts on May 12 at 10 p.m. on ʻŌlelo 53, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. on KFVE 6 and 4 p.m. on ʻŌlelo 53, and on May 18 at 11:30 a.m. ʻŌlelo 53.
“Road to Runway: Meet the Senior Fashion Design Students” including interviews with the program’s three seniors will rebroadcast on May 3 at 6:30 p.m., May 4 at 1 p.m. and May 5 at 10 p.m. on ʻŌlelo 53.
Without a live event, the Fashion Show Production Class is unable to fundraise through ticket sales. Donations can be made to support this virtual fashion show and future productions designed and produced by UH Mānoa students. Checks should be made payable to UH Foundation addressed to:
- Family and Consumer Sciences
2515 Campus Road, Miller 110
Honolulu, HI 96822
This show is an example of UH Mānoa’s goals of Enhancing Student Success (PDF) and Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), two of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.