Synergy showcases the future of fashion
Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 00:05
It is 45 minutes until the Synergy fashion show begins and the seniors are getting ready for the debut of their collections. Senior Travis Watkins is hanging up his menswear and senior Carolyn Kilgore waits anxiously for the show to begin.
Almost everything is ready to go, but each senior has a few last minute things to check on and there is even cause to panic — a shoe crisis.
"It's so annoying because I got them on one foot," says senior Jessica Lapidos' model as she tries to shove her right foot into a pair of six-inch metallic heels.
Lapidos watches calmly, makes a shoe swap and the crisis is averted.
From the hundreds of seats surrounding the runway, the designers of Synergy Evisolution make fashion look easy, but behind the scenes on the outskirts of the Trabant Multipurpose room, there's an entirely different kind of show taking place.
Over 100 garments hang from racks lining the hallway-turned-dressing room, made of rich fabrics, reutilized clothing and recycled metals.
The designers walk around checking last minute details in their self-made outfits, and models practice their walks while keeping their hair and jewel-lined fake eyelashes intact.
The show itself is made up of three parts: open submission, blank canvas and senior collections. The theme was chosen by the apparel design department and was based on sustainability and social responsibility.
Open submission and blank canvas were the first events, and as the models get ready, the room is quiet and tense. One by one, models begin to line up along the black curtain separating the stage from the dressing room, dressed in neon, silks and recycled metals.
Freshman Kate Ackerman fixes her garment on her model and then looks away — this is her first show and she wants everything to be perfect.
"I'm a little nervous," Ackerman says. "There's just so much going on."
Her dress is made of blinds, insulation and other recycled materials. Ackerman started designing her dress during winter break, which proves to pay off when she won first place in open submission on her first show.
Senior Tom Barranca takes the stage as the MC and everything behind the curtain goes silent.
Model Amy Miller, 16, fans her face, checks her nails and steps side to side. Like most girls modeling tonight from the Barbizon agency, Miller is in high school, but this is her second year signed to the agency and she is feeling pretty relaxed despite her fidgeting.
"I'm not really nervous," Miller says. "I'm excited."
A burst of applause and Barranca returns, the models fix their eyes on the stage and the music starts — it's show time.
One by one the models gracefully step on and off the stage, but as they return to the dressing room they pick up the pace, jogging in their six-inch heels.
Three girls scramble to undress a model as two girls pull the next dress over her head. Faster than a NASCAR pit stop, the girls are back on the runway, looking relaxed, calm and confident.
As the show goes on, these changes seem to come quicker and quicker. The recycled outfits prove to be difficult to put on and to get off.
One model complains of a jabbing in her side as she pulls up her skirt made of recycled tin.
"Work through the pain," another model says to her.
A designer puts a bracelet on her model seconds before she hits the runway and junior Josie Sussman ties a bracelet around her model's arm as she starts walking up the steps.
Model coordinator Laura Ballweg is in the center of the chaos, pushing models onto the stage and grabbing them by the back of their garments when they begin to walk too soon.
Ballweg checks her order list, chases down models who are taking too long and gives orders — this may seem overwhelming to some, but she loves it.
"I really like the adrenaline," Ballweg says as the first half of the show wound down. "It's a good rush and then it's over."
The first half ends, and a sense of calm comes over the dressing room.
Barranca takes a break to go over last minute changes with Synergy President Beatrice Mistretta, who is also showing her collection tonight.
Barranca has been here since 4 p.m. to get ready for his role and to support his many friends in the class.
For the seniors, this is the moment they have been waiting for since their first apparel class freshman year.
"I'm freaking out," senior Meghan Thorne says as she helps her models get ready.
Bari Grossman echoes those feelings.
"This is the biggest thing that has happened in my life so far," Grossman says.
The lights flicker, and the break is over. The models line up for Mistretta's debut, her four models take the stage, and walk. Then Mistretta walks the runway herself. Each senior follows in this pattern.
As they prep their models, the designers have their own worries about the show.
"I'm so scared I'm going to fall," Kilgore says as she steps onto the runway in her self-made print dress.
As the music for Watkins' show begins to play, his nerves fall by the wayside. He dances to his music backstage and watches his collection with a huge sense of pride.
"The best part was seeing my first look walk down the runway," Watkins says. "I've never felt anything like that before."
As Lapidos walks off stage she throws her hands up in happiness and relief. All of the hard work has been worth it for this moment.
One by one, each of the 15 seniors finish their show, after the last person hits the runway the class engages in a group hug, smiling and complimenting each other on what they have accomplished.
Arms around each other, they watch the television screen set up in the back room, which plays a slideshow of their year working on collections.