Students in the Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute get to put a personal touch on their class projects.
Led by instructor Janet Buhler, the fashion design program allows students to express their creativity through their own fashion collection. Students have the ability to take a hands-on approach and develop all the skills necessary to start a fashion career.
“They’re trying to learn the fashion industry from concept all the way to product,” Buhler says. “They learn exactly what [the process] is like, from conceiving the design to sourcing the fabric, making the patterns and actually producing it.”
Madeline Huntsman sits at her workstation with a child’s ballet dress in front of her. On the desk is heap of tulle she intends to place inside the skirt. Now in her last year at SLCC, Huntsman is working on a spring collection with Parisian inspiration.
“A few of the designs have a kind of look, almost like a tea party European dress,” she says.
Huntsman says several of her sisters who take ballet will model the larger dresses. While SLCC faculty offer to find professional models for the students, Huntsman plans to recruit a few more ballet models on her own.
“And if I want them to wear the shoes or different pointe shoes then they know how to work with them while they model,” she says.
Zach Hess comes to class with his own circus-sized trunk of materials. He jokes about people who have asked him why he doesn’t get his work done on the train.
Hess is a fourth-year student who recently quit his job to continue school full time. He is creating a collection called Star Light Embers, which is inspired by a domed alcove found at The Cathedral of the Madeleine in Salt Lake City.
“The inside of [the alcove] is a mixture of gothic and Native American,” he says. “So the architecture is gothic but the colors and patterns are very Native American. And they have a lot of colors that you would think don’t go together but they do — I thought that was very interesting.”
Hess intends to make functional clothes that are also modest enough for people like his mother to wear.
“They all have functional pockets with the exception of the showpiece which is the evening gown,” he says.
A salmon-colored dress with a ruffled skirt sits modeled on a mannequin. Designed by Lisa Glick, the dress is part of her Baronial-themed collection.
Glick, who plans to graduate this spring with a dual degree in fashion merchandising and fashion design, wants to begin an alliance fashion show in Utah to raise awareness of bullying. She hopes to pick up where the now-defunct ZCMI department stores left off.
“ZCMI used to put these shows on for years and they were very popular, and it involved the whole state,” she says. “It was a big thing. I used to help with that with my mother because she was the art director for ZCMI.”
The fashion design students will see their efforts on display at an upcoming fashion show. The fashion production class organizes the event each semester.
“What they do is they plan the show for us,” Buhler says. “They find the music; they find the venue; they do all the lighting. So they work with us. All we’re doing is designing, and they’re just producing the show.”
The Spring 2017 fashion show will take place April 29 at South City Campus.