NC State’s annual Art2Wear event premieres Friday, June 11, at 7 p.m. as an online film production instead of its usual in-person runway, due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Art2Wear is a fashion show put on every year by students in the College of Design. The show provides a real-life experience for students by allowing them to work on the production and design aspects of a fashion show. Students produce works of art in the form of runway fashion.

Usually, the Art2Wear fashion show is presented as a live runway show in Talley Student Union, but this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the show will be an online film in collaboration with NC State RED-i, a communications and marketing collaboration group. 

In presenting the show as a film, viewers will get a uniquely personal understanding of the story behind each collection. Art2Wear also offers a virtual reality experience alongside the show, allowing the audience to get a closer look at this year’s collections.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions and safety concerns, the designers had to work remotely for most of the process. 

Liz Braaksma, a third-year studying environmental design in architecture, and Sarah Quinn, a third-year in the design studies program, are partnered designers for the show. 

Quinn worked from home for the first half of preparing for the show, then in the design studio for the second half. She explained that working remotely was nice, but came at a cost.

“I think the pandemic comes with a bit more convenience,” Quinn said. “But you kind of lose learning how to do things and collaborating with other students.” 

Tess Colavecchio, an alumna of the design studies program, is one of Art2Wear’s student directors for this year’s show. She said the show challenged her by making her work with a lot of students, staff and faculty balancing school and work during the pandemic. 

 “Working with a lot of students, [there’s] just a lot going on, but it also took me a while to figure out how to run meetings with the faculty and the staff,” Colavecchio said. “It took me a couple of tries to get it, but I got it eventually. Everybody had a job, and everybody knew what to expect. That became a lot easier and a lot more scheduled. It’s a real-world skill that I am very grateful I learned at the time that I did.” 

One of Art2Wear’s benefits is allowing students to gain real-world experience. Morgan Cardwell, a now-graduated senior in art and design, said working with Art2Wear connects her to her career aspirations in the future. 

Cardwell said being a designer for the show is an accurate representation of working in fashion because the designers get to work with photographers, videographers, models and other designers. 

With the show being a film production this year, the designers were able to add more depth to their stories and collections. Braaksma explained how the online format of the show is more representative of the designers’ work. 

“I think if it were in person, it's still really cool and everyone can appreciate it, but they might not fully understand the in-depth research done for it.” Braaksma said. 

Quinn said there are also other benefits of the production being in film format. 

“A [traditional] show’s a one-time thing and it goes away, whereas now, we have the garments, but we also have this other element that we could put in portfolios, resumes or just have to look back on,” Quinn said.

Colavecchio said the whole process of planning this year’s Art2Wear show has been a bright spot for her during the pandemic.

“It has been a driving experience, one of the best experiences of my entire college undergrad career,” Colavecchio said. “It’s so fantastic. Everybody working together and creating what people will see, this fantastic thing, this archival piece, Art2Wear 2021. It was a piece of light to say the least.”

More information on this year’s Art2Wear program can be found on the College of Design’s webpage as well as the Art2Wear website, including how to get tickets for the show’s premiere.