Students love "Ze phashun? Yah."

Yesterday, to a nearly full crowd, all the lights were focused on the accomplishments of this year’s almost twenty fashion show designers, which were, once again, nothing short of astonishing. “Every year, I’ll hear people afterwards say, ‘I would buy that outfit,’” said Shelli Hassebrock, art teacher and fashion show sponsor. The dozens of hours that each designer spent, from planning on paper to cutting and sewing, culminated in the yearly runway strut of pride–the Ames High fashion show. “My role is just to have the meetings and facilitate. I don’t do a lot of instructing on how to do things. I do suggestions, but really, it’s very student run, very student run,” Hassebrock added. All kinds of students participated as models or designers, from freshmen to seniors, inexperienced to veteran, but they had two things in common: an eye for design and love for fashion. Hassebrock attributes part of the students’ motivation to culture. “We see a lot of fashion, we see trends, we watch TV with shows that have people who look glamorous.” The rest, she says, is a sense of personal accomplishment. “They don’t get any monetary gratification. I think it’s just a sense of self and showing what you can do.” The designing process, which began before winter break for some, started with looking for inspiration. Concepts learned from previous art classes, as well as knowledge of the basic principles of design–rhythm, pattern, texture–were invaluable. Professional designs were always a good starting point. “I looked at fashion magazines, runway shows, and then I thought about what I like and just based it off that,” said senior Ally Eregbu, first-time designer and fashion show coordinator. Next comes gathering the materials, which weren’t expensive by any means, with a few pieces from Goodwill, some material from Jo-Ann’s, and contributions from models. In addition to the more traditional designs, at least one outfit had to be composed of nontraditional material. Eregbu incorporated newspapers, garbage bags, duct tape, and soup can labels into her designs. The designer-model relationship is tight. Often, designers created and sized an outfit specifically with a model in mind, and few models wore the designs of more than one designer. Under the oversight of Eregbu, much of the show, including the presentation order, makeup, and lighting, came together at the rehearsal the night before the show. Each year, the two-hour event is the product of hundreds of hours, but rarely does anyone quit. “Usually designers will try it one year, like it, and do it the next year. Rarely do we have a designer just say, ‘Well, I did it once, and I didn’t like it, so I’m not going to do it again,’” Hassebrock said. “You don’t have much pressure at all. It’s not like anyone’s expecting you to come out with a Ralph Lauren design or something like that. I would encourage anyone to come out and try it, see how they like it,” Eregbu added.