Students prepare to Rock the Runway

Steven Nalley

Travis Mackey believes in exceptions to the common fashion rule, “Less is more.”

Mackey, a senior majoring in apparel design, has created several ball gowns at least as long as they are tall for Rock the Runway, a student fashion show coming to the Ferguson Center Ballroom Thursday at 8 p.m.

“My finale gown is insanely long,” Mackey said. “It’s a little more avant garde, because I believe a fashion show should be just that – a show. It should exaggerate the trends that will come into stores.”

Mackey’s fashion line, entitled “Through the Looking Glass,” will be the show’s finale. A red gown and a white gown from Mackey’s line both feature large folds of fabric like the petals of a rose, and Wesley Rorex, a senior majoring in fashion retailing, said the dresses were analogous to specific Lewis Carroll characters.

“That is the Red Queen from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the White Queen,” Rorex said. “Pure evil and innocence, if you will.”

Rorex is the president of Fashion Inc, a student organization comprised of fashion students, collaborated with Creative Campus and University Programs for the show. He said Fashion Inc. had just come back from a 10-year slump when interest swelled and its numbers rose to above 50 students.

“It’s really exciting to have an organization like that on campus because there aren’t a lot of clubs that focus on the business part of fashion.”

Rorex said he was impressed with what the student designers were able to create for the show, especially given that they were all created in their spare time.

“You expect certain things out of the students, and then it’s pretty amazing what they turn out on top of everything else,” Rorex said.

Bryan Grimes, a senior majoring in finance, is one of four managers for Rock the Runway, and he said even though he is not a fashion major, he wants to apply his degree to the business side of the industry. He said the show is a great opportunity to break into the fashion business for the students, many of whom have already interned with professional firms such as Burberry, Alexander McQueen, and Donna Karan.

“It’s really a kind of way for them to build their profile,” Grimes said.

Grimes said it was common for fashion designers at all levels to build their lines of clothing based on specific themes. “It is also common for them to dabble in both abstract and practical approaches, although most of the lines he had seen fell into the latter category.

“It’s really like an exhibit,” Grimes said. “It’s more art than it is clothing.”

Mackey said he had originally planned to major in visual arts before switching over to apparel design, after attending a senior design show at the University of Cincinnati. He also said the familiar story of Wonderland freed him to work in the abstract.

“I got to be a little more creative with that because it’s got characters,” Mackey said. “It’s got a little bit more of a background that everyone can relate to.”

Mackey said all the student designers have worked very hard to prepare for Rock the Runway, and he expected great things from them in the future.

“We work hard and stay up late to showcase what we’ve learned, how far we’ve come and what you will see in the future, because I have confidence that every one of these designers will get a great job.”