Zoie Ledzianowski

Ursuline student Zoie Ledzianowski switched from nursing to study fashion in her second year. She is seen here working with her designs in the college’s fashion department, which is chaired by Dr. Constance Korosec.

The latest fashions are hitting the runway April 28 as Ursuline College students show off their designs at the 41st annual fashion show. Fashion design and fashion merchandising students participate in the show, the culmination of their spring courses.

Senior John Porter, 24, of University Heights will have four outfits in the show from various decades from the 1920s to the 1960s. He is completing his senior collection class, and has been working on his pieces since January. Mr. Porter said that he plans to include a green flapper dress with white trim, a green gown, a pink dress and a top with matching bell bottom pants.

As a fashion design major, Mr. Porter said that his classes allow him to do what he loves.

“I always loved fashion and I always wore bright colors,” he said. “I fell in love with everything I was doing and everything just came naturally. This is what I always wanted to do.”

Mr. Porter explained that when students create a collection for the fashion show, there should be similar colors and a sense of continuity between the outfits. He is using shades of pink and green for his outfits.

The creative process is time-consuming to prepare for the fashion show. Mr. Porter said that he thinks of an idea for a piece of clothing and creates his design. Then he uses an item called a sloper, a generic pattern, for the front and back of a shirt, then creates a flat pattern.

Fashion design and merchandising professor Jennifer Knaus explained that there are two main design methods, flat pattern and draping. For a flat pattern, students use a basic block pattern and mathematical calculations to determine the correct sizing. When using the draping method, students create a 3-D design and drape the fabric on a dress form.

After Mr. Porter made the flat pattern, he explained that he had to make various custom changes for the model who will wear the dress in the show. Ursuline fashion students must find people to model their creations, often friends and classmates.

Najae Miller, 23, of Cleveland has been designing a diverse collection for the show including a onesie with a wrap skirt, a T-shirt made of scuba knit, a formal dress with a deep V-neck and a tiered skirt, a halter top jumpsuit, a skater dress and a pair of tailored pants for men with a matching vest.

The process of designing and making clothes is not new for Ms. Miller, a senior fashion design student. She said that she has been doing this since she was 10 years old, and learned from her Thai grandmother.

“I am drawn to it because of how different it is. What’s ‘in’ keeps changing,” she said. “I express myself through my clothes and it’s a stress reliever. I want to buy my own stuff every time!”

Ms. Miller described her sense of style as “fierce and playful.”

Unlike some other students, Ms. Miller said that she finds people to model her clothes before she comes up with the designs. She explained that a male model would likely wear pants and a vest, and if a female model is tall, she would wear a dress.

The students can use fabric from the fashion department at Ursuline or buy their own from local stores. Ms. Miller said that all of her designs will use kente cloth and African prints.

Natalie English, 42, of Cleveland will show off a wedding-inspired collection in the fashion show. After completing an internship at Expressions Bridal and Formal in Mentor, Ms. English decided to combine her bridal experience and love of lace to make her outfits for this year’s show. She plans to create six pieces, including a sporty shirt with a maxi skirt, a summer dress with a mermaid skirt, a lace dress and others. Ms. English said that she wanted to design clothes even as a child.

“I never wanted to do anything else,” she said. “I used to sit in front of the TV and watch fashion shows.”

Ms. English said that she came to Ursuline with basic sewing skills, and the courses taught her how to use a sewing machine, how to do a cross-stitch and how to drape fabric on a dress form.

In addition to the flat pattern and draping courses, Mrs. Knaus said that the students also take classes in textile fabrics, computer-aided design and a senior fashion studio class. She said that the textile fabrics course teaches students the fundamentals of textiles, while the CAD class uses Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop to develop and edit a fashion line. The senior fashion studio course serves as an advanced draping course.

The Ursuline College fashion show, “Runway 2019,” takes place on April 28 at 1 p.m. at the Sister Diana Stano Athletic Center, 2550 Lander Road in Pepper Pike. Tickets will be sold at the door and will cost $15 for adults, $5 for students and free for children 10 and under.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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