Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) students Victoria Schade, Eva Kwao-Mensah and MacKenzie Phillips are ready to showcase their designs at the school’s fashion show Friday at Cherry Hill Mall.
RCBC’s fashion design program has long partnered with the mall to bring more than 90 original student-design collections to the public’s attention at the show.
“I’m excited to bring it back; it was a great program that we did all those years ago,” Lisa Wolstromer, senior marketing director for the mall, previously told The Sun.
“I’m excited to make this maybe an annual program, and I think it’s great that we’re going to highlight up-and-coming designers.”
Lisa Steinberg, program coordinator of the Rowan fashion department, has seen how hard students have worked to take their sketches from paper to reality, and she’s helped them with every step. Steinberg has seen how students in the program rely on each other during the creative process.
“By the time the spring comes, the ones that have stuck it out and they’re together and they’re doing this, it’s a real community,” she explained. “They see that.”
Although it’s hectic behind the scenes on the day of the show, Steinberg noted how everyone feels like they’re on cloud nine as their clothes are modeled down the runway.
“They (the models) come out and they put life into the clothing,” Steinberg noted. “They always say it’s how the clothing is worn … It brings people confidence and personality, and there’s nothing like that runway for that reason.”
Schade’s four-piece collection, Eco-brutalism, came from the idea of decay and things breaking down.
“I’m definitely a little stressed, because there’s a lot of work to be done, but once I’m ready, I think I’m going to be relieved that I’m done and proud of the work that I’ve accomplished,” she remarked.
“I love things that aren’t practical, that you wouldn’t really wear in everyday life, because you don’t get a chance to wear this kind of stuff every day.”
Phillips’ four-piece collection, Sacrilegious, is inspired by her appreciation for the Renaissance era and gothic Catholicism. She sees a balance between what makes the show exciting and intense.
“Drawing something is a lot easier than sewing it up and creating it, so I think the expectation and the pressure is a lot,” Phillips said. “But I think I also work best under pressure.”
“I learned that through these experiences, that my best work comes out when I’m put under a lot of pressure.”
Kwao-Mensah is originally from Ghana and has always used African prints for her designs, but the fashion show marks the first time she created something non-traditional. She’ll graduate this month, and her four-piece collection, Explosion, represents everything she’s created at Rowan.
“I’m looking forward to a great show and for people who come to be inspired to join the RCBC fashion department, and also for my family and friends to be happy with my collection,” Kwao-Mensah said.
“I’ve come a long way …” she added. “Looking at my collection and looking at what I’ve done so far, I’m proud of myself.”