Fourth year design studies student Sara Bailey's models wearing her entire collection walks down the walk way during the Art2Wear rehearsal on Friday, April 26, 2019 at Talley Student Union. Bailey's collection is called "Pop!" which is made out of upcycled 100% cotton knits.

Art2Wear is a student-run event focused on challenging designers to express their perspective of a given theme through wearable art. This year’s theme will be revealed to the public in January, and through that theme, designers will create a fashion show at the end of the school year which showcases all different perspectives of the theme.  

According to Najeel Range, a fourth-year studying art and design and this year’s director of Art2Wear, the theme is not a restriction on the designers, but a path open to interpretation. 

“Each designer has different perspectives, and they take that theme and run with it,” Range said. “You’d be surprised at how many ways one theme can go for everyone. Everyone is an individual and has different concepts of what they want to do, and then that’s all wrapped up in a fashion show.”

According to Jacob Hodges, a third-year studying fashion and textile management and the assistant director of Art2Wear, the theme should not set expectations for the audience because you don’t know how each designer will interpret it. 

“It will be interesting to see what perspective each designer brings to the theme,” Hodges said. “This will be a great open topic for each designer to explore their creativity with, and it’s exciting to see the outcome.” 

Nicole Shooman, a second-year studying textile design, decided to participate in Art2Wear and has begun preparing. According to Shooman, both her peers and teachers were very supportive of participation in Art2Wear. 

“I have a friend in my major who did it last year, and she showed me a video that she created, about all the designers, their inspiration and work and it was the coolest video I had ever seen,” Shooman said. “I was so impressed by what she created. She inspired me and was the first one to push me. My drawing teacher talked about it in class, since he has been going to the show every year.”

According to Range, potential designers must present their designs before a jury on Dec. 4 where they select who will participate in the fashion show. Usually, the jury selects about 10 designers. 

“To present to the jury, the designers need to have two completed garments,” Range said. “This is sort of the academic side of Art2Wear where designers need to know how to finish their seams and steam their items, whatever it might be, as well as having a mood board of their concept statements and their sketches.” 

According to Range, part of jury day is making sure that designers not only have two completed garments but also a plan in place for the rest of their designs. For the final show, designers must have a collection of five to seven completed garments. 

“[Jury day] is to set the designers up for this upcoming year,” Range said. “We want to make sure our designers are committed and aren’t just rolling with the flow because it will catch up with them.”

According to Shooman, an important part of Art2Wear is making sure the designers have a proper grasp of the theme and they use it to make a statement with their work. 

“They want the theme to be a socially elevated concept, it needs to have a deeper social meaning,” Shooman said. “When I was first told the theme, it was hard not to think on a superficial level because my pieces should make a social statement. Doing research on your topic without even thinking about fashion or art is important.”

According to Range, students can get involved in Art2Wear in other positions as well, including photography, fundraising, exhibition, graphic designers, videographers and committee positions.