Preview: Senior apparel and textile design students showcase their final collections at Bama Theatre

Jeffrey Kelly, Managing Editor

This Sunday, Nov. 20, at 5 p.m., 11 apparel design students will bring the Bama Theatre’s stage to life with their senior collections during the annual Fashion for Life runway show.  

For $5, family, friends and fashion lovers alike will be able to view the culmination of the students’ hard work from not only the past semester, but throughout their time in college.     

“The entire night is just very joyful and celebratory. [The students] are all excited that this is going to take place because everything they’ve learned each year and every one of [their] classes culminates into this one experience for them,” said Brian Taylor, the clothing, textiles and interior design senior instructor who teaches CTD 450, the advanced apparel design capstone course during which students create their final collection and portfolios.  

The Fashion for Life runway show is constantly evolving. Since starting the show 13 years ago, Taylor and the Student Fashion Association have strived to ensure it stays fresh and exciting for attendees.  

Most of what keeps the show up to date are the unique group of students whose work is showcased each year, but some of the attendees’ intrigue comes from “small tweaks” Taylor and the Student Fashion Association make every year. Taylor didn’t reveal what those tweaks would look like for this year’s show.  

He said there would be a “good opening number,” but everything else would be a surprise, so those interested in discovering more would just have to attend the show and see for themselves.   

While this year’s event is still under wraps, Taylor said the past and future inspire it, since this cohort will be the last group to go through Doster Hall before they move into their new building, Drummond Lyon Hall.   

Taylor has been with the students for most of their journey in Doster Hall, even starting at the beginning of their time as students, since he serves as a Bama Bound advisor for incoming College of Human Environmental Sciences students.  

He said watching their clothes showcased on the runway will be a proud moment for him because he’s gotten to know each of them one-on-one. He’s seen them grow as designers, discover their goals and dreams, become more professional and figure out what they want to do next.   

“It’s pretty incredible,” he said.   

Along with celebrating the students’ hard work and growth, this runway show is a way to showcase the University’s clothing, textile and interior design program to the community and give back.   

“Each year, we want to have the event as an opportunity to raise money for a community foundation, and so it gives the students a chance to see how their work and their designs can also give back to the community,” Taylor said.   

He said usually the event raises around $1,500 to $2,000 each year.  

This year all proceeds from the event will go to the United Way of West Alabama, which according to its website, is an organization that works to “strengthen education, income stability and health in our community by developing resources and partnerships.” Additionally, all the money they collect at the door through admissions will be matched by the Estee Lauder Companies.   

Matthew Barber, a 2006 UA alum and the field executive of Estee Lauder Companies Portfolio, said he’s proud to partner with Taylor and Babs Davis, a clothing, textiles and interior design instructor.  

“Fashion for life tied in beautifully for Estee Lauder Companies to be able to help make a mark of philanthropic efforts that align with what Mr. Taylor has created in the years past of his annual show,” Barber said. “We are excited to be able to match the efforts from the door for the evening to benefit United Way of West Alabama. I hope this is the beginning of a rewarding partnership that will help enrich the engagement students receive from companies on campus.” 

Regardless of what draws you to the runway show — the fashion, entertainment or the philanthropy — Taylor said it’s going to be a celebration.   

“It’s a fun event; they’ll have a great time, [and] they’ll see a lot of great clothing, a lot of great fashion designs,” he said. “And it’s a great way to see how a program celebrates students and also how a program provides a culminating capstone experience for a group of students to close out their academic career with us and give them that confidence boost as they enter the industry.”