The KSU Annual Fashion Show: A Recap

The Kent State University School of Fashion Design & Merchandising and the associated Kent State Museum are truly two gems of Northeast Ohio! I recently had the opportunity to attend the marquee event of their annual fashion week activities, the Gala Fashion Show & Hall of Fame Induction!

KSU Annual Fashion Show

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It’s hard to believe that it has been over 40 years since Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman launched the formidable School of Fashion Design & Merchandising at Kent State. In those 40 years, they’ve achieved notable recognition as the:

  • #1 fashion design & merchandising school in the Midwest,
  • #5 fashion graduate program in the United States, and
  • a top 25 fashion school in the entire world!

FUN FACT: On attending Kent State after high school, my plan was to study fashion merchandising at this very school. Sadly, the required chemistry classes at that time proved to be my nemesis and I switched to business administration instead. I’ve learned since that chemistry classes are no longer required – just my luck!

Gala VIP Reception

The night started with a lovely cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception where some of our favorite treats included the special Runway cocktail, the crab cakes, spanakopita, and these tasty little whipped potato bites. We had the chance to mingle with Dame Zandra Rhodes, who was being inducted into the Hall of Fame that night, and her friend Anna Sui, another highly regarded designer. Jan Strimple, a former model turned entrepreneur, was also in attendance. Before we knew it, it was time to get seated for the show!

KSU Annual Fashion Show
KSU Annual Fashion Show

2024 Annual Fashion Show Highlights

The show began with a few comments from the university president and then ran for a bit over an hour. The diversity of designs, the designers’ creativity, and the student models’ professionalism were impressive. A few trends we noticed include:

  • loosely woven knits and extended arm lengths
  • exposed midriffs and peekaboo styles
  • utilitarian chic, featuring pockets, drawstrings, quilted fabrics, etc.

When the show ended, they took a few minutes to award various scholarships and to recognize British designer Zandra Rhodes in their Hall of Fame. Known as the Princess of Punk, Ms. Rhodes designed for notable figures such as Freddie Mercury and Diana, Princess of Wales.

After the show, we wandered back into the reception room to check out the dessert table! We also stopped at a raffle table where we spoke to one of the digital knit lab students. Digital knitting results in minimal waste and is a popular area of specialization.

Two knitting lab students auctioned the opportunity to have a custom knit dress designed for the winner. It was great to see how all of the students in the fashion program got involved with this substantial event!

KSU Annual Fashion Show

How to Give

Help ensure the longevity and success of this wonderful fashion school and museum. Below are a few ideas regarding how you can contribute!

  1. Contribute to a regular scholarship. Your 1-time donation of nearly any amount will be awarded to a student according to the criteria you specify.
  2. If you own a business or have found considerable success in your career, think about donating an endowed scholarship. This type of scholarship benefits the school and its students for many years as the principal is invested and awards are made from the interest earned on that principal. I was surprised to learn that this option starts at $25,000. Less than I would have thought to have a scholarship named after yourself (or someone you wish to honor) in perpetuity!
  3. Consider purchasing a museum membership or making a contribution directly to the museum.

To discuss the scholarship opportunities above, contact the director of philanthropy!

Until next time…keep cultivating a simple, stylish, and satisfying life!

The Kent State University School of Fashion Design & Merchanding and the associated Kent State Museum are truly two gems of Northeast Ohio! 💎Come check out the 2024 KSU annual fashion show & gala!

Author: Betsy Ramsey

Betsy Ramsey is the author of Natty Gal. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, she now lives there with her husband and Bichon-Frise, Dolce. A mindful fashion & capsule wardrobe enthusiast, she travels extensively, visiting 56 countries to date. Betsy is committed to helping others live their most fulfilling life!

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