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Rock The Runway 2017: The Roaring 20’s

The Kent State Student Center Programming presented its 13th annual Rock The Runway fashion show and design competition on Saturday, March 4 in the ballroom. This year’s theme was The Roaring 20’s.


Kent State fashion design students showcased their own collections based on events in the 1920s such as the suffrage movement and the Harlem Renaissance. Designers also drew inspiration from prominent figures during the 20s including, singer Josephine Baker, designer Coco Chanel and gangster Al Capone.When researching fashion from the decade The film The Great Gatsby was a source for many of the designers.


Michael Gallagher II, a sophomore communication studies student hosted the event.

In order for the audience to get to know him better Gallagher gave random facts about himself before introducing the show. One of them was about his excessive coffee consumption and how it has increased days before the show. This caused him to be extra energetic as he pumped up the crowd.


“Tonight, I feel like Tyra Banks,” Gallagher declared.


The KSU Jazz Society Quartet performed as student models brought sass, glamour and fierceness to the runway.

The featured collections were ADA; by Chinonso Aladi; AN ODE To BLACK ARTISTRY by Halimah Muhammad; AU 24KT by Kechantra Ward; BANK’S OPEN by Phoebe Takeda; GLITZ&GLAM by Timia William; GLITZ AT THE RITZ by Rue Monroe; JOSEPHINE by Harold Horsley; LADY IN RED by Elle Rochelle Mason; LAVISH OPULENCE by Bin Zhou; LIVING LINDY by Kassidy Brillhart and Ann Marie Elaban; MODERN FLAPPER by Natalie Schulz and Kailey Virgin; POST PROHIBITION BY KATIE CRUM; PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ by Becca Roth; RELENT-LESS by Ruvimbo Nyembia; ROUND MIDNIGHT by Jessea Little; THE AGE OF CHIC by Miranda Skitzki; THE BEEZ NEEZ by Lauren Huddleston-Partlow; THE LOST GENERATION by Morgan Manual; THE WAY YOU LOOK TONIGHT by Stephanie Birkmeier; WE’RE PRETTY GIRLS, FLOYD by Emily Rhinehardt and Rachel Weidner and (WO)MENSWEAR by Katie Stoller.



Host Gallagher thought all of the designs were authentic for the time period.  “I felt like I was in The Great Gatsby but without all the drama,” he said.


After the models rocked the runway a short film of each designer talking about their design inspirations was shown on the projector along with their beginning sketches.


Designers Emily Rinehardt and Rachel Weidner decided to focus on the 1920s mafia style to take a new twist and vere away from the classic flapper idea people have for fashion in the 1920s.

“Our collection, WE’RE PRETTY GIRLS, FLOYD  based off of the famous criminal Pretty Boy Floyd, kind of has a little bit of a masculine feel to it,” Weidner said. “It’s the obvious feminine [women] going against what girls should have worn during that time.”


Weiner said the collection still had feminine aspects with sequins and feathers but there was still a twist on it that would hopefully make the collection really cool.

After the video audience members were reminded to cast a vote for their favorite collection by texting RTR and their collection’s number.


The three finalists were WE’RE PRETTY GIRLS by Emily Rhinehardt and Rachel Weidner, LIVING LINDY by Kassidy Brillhart and Ann Marie Elaban and BANK’S OPEN by Phoebe Takeda.


There was a brief intermission while the audience’s votes were being tallied and before the panel of judges including Sara Hume, associate professor and curator of Kent State University’s museum, Effie Tsengas, director of communications and marketing for Kent State University’s College of the Arts and Dawn Bilinovich, general manager and event coordinator of Wolf Creek Tavern came to their decision.


The audience choice winner was WE’RE PRETTY GIRLS, FLOYD. Rhinehardt and Weidner were awarded a $500 gift card to Mood Fabrics in New York City.



The 2017 winner of Rock the Runway was LIVING LINDY by Kassidy Brillhart and Ann Marie Elaban.


Their concept came from the Texas Tommy. It was a dance in the 1910s that inspired the Lindy Hop. Brillhart and Elaban said they adapted menswear to be more feminine.


Their collection featured a reversible sequin cape paired with high waisted trousers.


Brillhart and Elaban were both awarded scholarships to pay for half of their fall tuition and $500 gift cards to Mood Fabrics in New York City. 

Audience members were impressed by the students’ designs.

“I’m used to watching Project Runway, so it’s nice seeing very advanced designs at a fashion school,” JoAnna Duke, a junior fashion merchandising major said.

Jillian Holness is a senior magazine journalism major. She enjoys buying too many lipsticks, thinking about brunch and daydreaming about staring in one of Rihanna's music videos.
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