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Non-traditional garments to take on runway at KSA Fashion Schau

Courtesy of Stephanie Conlan

While coffee filters and garbage bags might seem like ordinary household objects, students are transforming these types of items into elaborate fashion designs to help benefit a local charity.

The KSA Fashion Schau is organized by SERVitecture and is set for Friday at 7 p.m. in Knowlton Hall. SERVitecture is a student organization for Knowlton School of Architecture students that incorporates designing and building projects into community service. 

“We try to not just do building, but stuff like the fashion show which is more like design,” said Stephanie Conlan, vice president of SERVitecture and a fourth-year in architecture. 

Twice a year, SERVitecture takes service trips to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. Over spring break, students in SERVitecture traveled to New York and New Jersey to help rebuild houses Hurricane Sandy destroyed. The second trip will take place during the summer. 

“What we really wanted to do was have an event where we did something in Columbus during the school year, between those service trips,” said Christopher Mannella, the event coordinator of SERVitecture and a third-year in architecture.

The show benefits Dress for Success Columbus, a nonprofit organization that provides professional attire to disadvantaged women. 

Conlan said that last year’s show raised more than $700 for the organization. 

“We decided it went really nice with the idea of a fashion show,” Mannella said. “We’re making these sort of economical dresses and garments out of things that you wouldn’t normally think a dress would be made out of and we thought it would fit nice with our mission.” 

Conlan said to enter the fashion show, students entered a conceptual sketch of their designs and paid a $5 deposit to secure their spots. This year, 15 students are signed up to have designs in the fashion show. 

Students can be from any major, but must create their designs out of unconventional materials and are given a suggested budget of $20, Mannella said. 

Five faculty members in the Knowlton School of Architecture judge the show. The pieces are judged on their economical nature, creative use of materials, elegance and overall look. Prizes are awarded to first, second and third place. Instead of receiving trophies, winning designers are awarded with T-squares, a tool commonly used by architecture students.

Last year, Cheyenne Vandevoorde, currently a third-year in architecture, took home the gold T-square for her first place design, which was primarily made out of silver duct tape and pages of old books. 

“It was really great. To get your ideas and efforts commended like that, it’s a really great feeling,” Vandevoorde said. “It was just a good feeling to know that people that kind of mattered felt like I did a good job.”

Vandevoorde is entering a new design in this year’s show, where she plans to use paper again.

“Since paper was so successful for me last year, I’m planning on using paper again,” Vandevoorde said. “But rather than doing something really wacky, I want to do something like a more tamed design and make it more practical.”

Vandevoorde said she is happy that SERVitecture is broadening its horizons beyond service projects to help benefit Dress for Success. 

“I think it’s nice that they focus an event that’s not necessarily like architecture or construction,” Vandevoorde said. “Any money that OSU can raise for a local charity, I think that reflects really well on students.”

Tickets are $5 and are available for purchase at Knowlton Hall. 

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