The Daily Gamecock

USC Fashion Show sets the stage

Student designer and models display talent on runway



Student models strutted down the runway — set up in the middle of the chic, warehouse-esque 701 Whaley St. building — in fashions designed by featured student designer and second-year fashion merchandising student Laura McCall and eight local boutiques.

Marquis Bias, a fourth-year fashion merchandising student and president of Fashion Board, opened the event, dressed to the nines in black, full-sequin VanJean pants, as the audience sat back and enjoyed cran-rasberry spritzers and shamelessly swayed to the winning beats of DJ Perry A.

Stilettos pitter-pattered across the roof and down the stairs as three Fashion
Board students were awarded with $500 scholarships to continue their fashion education at USC. Fashion Board, which is supported by the School of
Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management, has grown in the past four years to include 200 student members.

The actual runway event kicked off with McCall's collection, featuring eight unique but fitting pieces, all crafted from upholstery fabric and draperies, that marked the young talent as a strong contender in the world of fashion.

All of the models, one being McCall's roommate, second-year marketing student Katherine Johnston, wore low ponytails and light makeup, each styling one "wow" piece and acting as the perfect canvas for the stand-alone looks.

McCall described her collection's style as "Bohemian" and "comfortable," focusing on high-waisted shorts and backless dresses. She stressed the stories behind her fashions, wearing shorts her grandmother made from a pair of drapes she found in her attic.

Growing up in Bristol, a small town in southwest Virginia, McCall had an "epiphany" during her junior year of high school, and although fashion outlets were hard to come by, upholstery and fabric stores were easy to find, sparking the inspiration behind her style. Although this was only her second real fashion showcase, McCall is transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the fall, hoping to further her career in the industry.

The audience, filled with bloggers, modeling agencies, boutique owners and buyers, took a short break after McCall's featured collection with an impromptu modeling competition, before models fashioned the eight boutiques' latest and hottest looks — representing every imaginable style in the book.
Local boutiques also showcased their collections.

Just the Thing set a strong color palette from the start, showing looks in teal, bright orange, pea green and navy. The refreshing but bold colors stood alone in the featured dresses, tops and skirts.

Bohemian cooled down the colors, sticking to more neutral, tans, browns and creams. Brittney Nigro, a second-year advertising student and member of
Fashion Board said the show was a little more intimate and special than in years past and picked the Bohemian collection as one of her favorites for the night, noting the wearability of each of the modeled pieces.

M Boutique introduced the ruffles and more delicate, chiffon pieces, with DeLibel following suit with summery dresses and wide-brimmed sun hats fit for Carolina Cup.

VanJean played up the accessories, with oversized bags, sunglasses and belted dresses, showing a particularly fabulous floor-length, pink-sequined dress that mirrored Bias' pants.

Britton's brought the boys to the runway, playing up the prep in all of the models with polos, bow ties and blazers. Michael Lafay Holt, a fifth-year visual communications student and model for the clothing line, sported a fitted blazer, linen pants and a button-down.

"My look was very casual, and Britton's is known to be very formal. I liked it because it was kind of a departure from the usual," said Tomás Glenn, a fourth-year fashion merchandising student who also walked for the boutique.
Coplon's stood out with its handbags, and LaRoque played off Britton's prep, with girls modeling light pinks and greens, seersucker, shoulder-tied bows and long strands of pearls.

As all of the boutiques' models took the runway for their final walk, it was clear how many different styles were represented in the show and how much work went into making it all happen.

Bias, who fought tears as he gave his closing speech to the crowd, reflected on the growth of the show and how it has become one of Columbia's most anticipated annual fashion events.

"The first year I was sending letters out, crossing my fingers that people would participate, and now people are asking me if they can have a spot," Bias said.
Fashion Board's show, bringing this week's fashion celebrations to a close, was most certainly a success. It brought the biggest names in Columbia's industry together with USC students to fawn over all of this season's best talents and fashions


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