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Professor puts on runway show for all sizes

Jeff Barnett / Lantern photographer

Nancy Ann Rudd, a professor in the Fashion and Retail Studies Department at Ohio State, directs students in the classroom and down the runway in OSU’s annual fashion show.

Not only did Rudd develop the idea for the annual student-run spring fashion show, she coordinates it every year and is chair for the University Body Image and Health Task Force. She also teaches undergraduate and graduate classes of different subjects every quarter, such as aesthetics and cultural diversity.

At the undergraduate level, Rudd earned a double major in merchandising and fashion design. She went on to get her master’s in fashion design and ultimately achieved her PhD in educational foundations and research.

“My research for the past 22 years has been in respect to body image,” Rudd said. “So basically, how people experience living in their bodies, their satisfaction, dissatisfaction and what behaviors they practice.”

One of her favorite classes to teach at OSU is Fashion and Retail Studies 372. Rudd and a colleague actually developed and proposed the class as a general education course. The course focuses on dress, appearance and cultural diversity. This covers topics from self-esteem to how different cultures display their identities through dress.

Brandon Freeman, a third-year in fashion and retail studies, was in her 372 class Spring Quarter.

“She is very passionate about the subject that she teaches and she is able to express that in the classroom,” Freeman said. “She wants students to succeed and is always willing to help.”

Rudd said she really loves teaching at OSU, no matter the subject. Her expertise has led her to teach an assortment of classes.

“I teach fashion design classes, classes about aesthetics and self-presentation, and I enjoy them all,” Rudd said.

Rudd’s efforts outside the classroom extend across almost two decades. This year will mark the 18th annual fashion show. This year’s show will be at 7 p.m. on May 14 in the Ohio Union, and all students are invited to come watch, Rudd said.

“Teaching the design classes, I thought there should be a public venue to show off the students’ talent,” Rudd said. “So I thought that if I am the only one to see all of their incredible talent, that’s just not fair.”

Normally the show is either a runway show or a standing exhibit, she said. The show is normally divided into acts and presents a theme. Rudd said this year’s theme will be “culture shock,” and will feature acts including Paris, Tokyo, Johannesburg and New York City.

The show is in the planning stages now, Rudd said. She said it includes both designers and production crew to put on the show.

The University Body Image and Health Task Force that Rudd chairs is having its annual Body Image Bazaar on Feb. 21 at the RPAC.

“It’s an event that is open to the public and basically is to help students, faculty and staff understand more about body image,” Rudd said. “We will be dealing with things like body image concerns, what is healthy and what is not.”

This year the bazaar will be an all day event including an exhibit and fashion show for all sizes. There will be a healthy snack demonstration and a panel of five speakers, who have all struggled with eating or other disorders and now have found a healthy solution to the problem, Rudd said.

Rudd said she is always busy this time of the year, with the two events approaching. She said she hopes for a great turnout for this year’s events.


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