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Students Focus on Sustainability in Runway Show Fashions

Students Focus on Sustainability in Runway Show Fashions

Posted: April 7, 2016

Taking inspiration from the natural world, Buffalo State’s fashion and textile technology (FTT) students have created a range of designs to display at Runway on Saturday, April 16, at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. in the Campbell Student Union Social Hall.

The theme, “Eco-lution: Ecology plus Evolution,” is a nod toward the sustainability movement and a desire to be more thoughtful with our clothing purchases, said Erin Habes, ’03, lecturer in the FTT Department and Runway coordinator.

FTT chair and associate professor Lynn Boorady is a champion of sustainability in the fashion industry. Last year she and a student visited three universities around the world to study best practices for creating environmentally sensitive clothing that last longer.

“We’re building off of Dr. Boorady’s mission and trying to integrate it into the conversation,” Habes said.

As in previous years, students had to explain how the theme inspired their design. And their responses illustrate the creativity that goes into Runway.

“One student took scraps of cloth from last year’s design,” Habes said. “Another designed a collection around bees because her family has a bee farm. There were lots of organic fabrics and natural dyes used this year, too.”

Founded in 2008, Runway is an annual spring show that provides a professional venue for students enrolled in apparel design, textile design, and fashion show production to showcase their talents. Student designers are required to submit their creations to a jury composed of industry experts one month prior to the event. Only the best are invited to participate. The jury also selects first-place, second-place, and student-collection winners.

The campuswide show also relies on the talents of approximately seven Buffalo State students in communication design, media production, music, and hospitality and tourism to put the show together.

This year’s Runway also includes a collaboration with the Burchfield Penney Art Center. Wallpaper patterns created by Charles E. Burchfield will be threaded into student-created, limited-edition clothing. After studying design as a student, Burchfield worked as a commercial wallpaper designer at M.H. Birge & Sons Wallpaper Company in Buffalo before devoting his life to painting.

“The students were very excited about the opportunity and so inspired when they got to see the wallpaper designs,” said Ali Eager, FTT lecturer. “Each student has a different approach; some were so taken by the beauty of the print that it became a focal point of the garment, while others incorporated the pattern into a modern and wearable garment.”

Following Runway, the clothing line will be exhibited at the Burchfield Penney. 

“The students understand what a tremendous opportunity it is to be featured in one of the country’s most influential art galleries and it gives them a different sense of pride for the works that they will be creating,” Boorady said.

Omolara Iroko, a senior communication major working on the publicity side of Runway, noted that they are tying in other events this spring, such as holding T-shirt drive for Goodwill, to get the campus thinking about the theme.

To get the community excited about Runway, students organized a mini Runway show, in which models with show off a few student designs, on Saturday, April 9, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. in Walden Galleria outside of the Lululemon and Apple stores. It is free and open to the public.

Tickets for the 3:00 p.m. Runway show on April 16 are $10 for students and $15 for the general public. Tickets to the 8:00 p.m. show are $25 for general admission and $100 for VIP tickets that include reserved seating, access to a private VIP lounge, a cocktail and hors d’oeuvre reception, and a swag bag.

All proceeds go toward the college’s FTT Scholarship Fund. For more information, call (716) 878-3478 or visit

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