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Threads Fashion Show:
A 25 Year Legacy

By Devin Ricks

One of Central Michigan University's major events, the Threads Fashion Show, features up-and-coming student designers who are curious about exploring the fashion industry. For the past twenty-five years, Threads has become an annual event that everyone looks forward to. The first Threads Fashion Show took place in 1998. This fashion show is distinct as it is entirely run by students, including production, stage construction, live models, photographers, and the designers themselves. There have been several prominent guest appearances from the fashion industry over the years, including Char Glover as a judge in 2016, Tim Gunn, the presenter of Project Runway in 2017, and artist and educator Bil Donovan in 2018. Being one of the best universities to earn a degree in fashion and the only university in Michigan with body scanning and environmental testing capabilities (CMDT Lab), CMU's fashion courses are becoming more and more popular. Despite being located in the small town of Mount Pleasant, which is near Midland, Michigan, CMU has produced a number of designers that are now heavily involved and celebrated in the fashion industry. This event is remarkable, as models and designers can participate, regardless of their academic majors, showcasing their skills regardless of what they are studying. Judges approve each collection before show day and choose which collections will receive awards such as Designer of the Year, Best First Year Designer, Most Avant Garde, and Overall Best Collection.

Looking back, the Biosciences building on campus served as a unique runway for the 2022 Threads Fashion Show, which featured a variety of stunning ensembles from each designer. The fragrance was flowery and uplifting, elevating the show's "The Elements" concept. Even though each designer did not require to have a collection that was in line with the show's theme, they all seemed to have done it successfully. There were many stunning fashions that displayed advances in this era's trends. Between all collections, there were around 120 models and twenty-five different designers. The level of effort, devotion, and originality put into this production was astounding.

The 2023 Threads Fashion Show marks the 25th Anniversary. The theme this year is unlike the rest as it dives into the realm of the unknown in search of innovation. The theme of “Cosmic Odyssey: Fashion’s Final Frontier” brought an aesthetic of what the future holds within fashion. The futuristic drive of the fashion industry was perfectly encapsulated through this theme. There were many different visions of the future that the designers showcased in this year’s show, from 3D printed garments to plant-covered trains, to full chain-mail dresses. The show also featured adaptive fashion designs for disabled individuals from students taking the Draping Fundamentals course. The Threads team and designers worked alongside students in the disability studies department along with their disabled models, to offer a learning experience for both designers and disability studies students. Innovation and inclusivity give an authentic experience to those who are told they cannot live a normal life or do certain things due to their disability.

This is an amazing opportunity to show what fashion is all about, as it should be the bridge to bring all individuals together. This year’s show involves 30 designers and over 120 models in total, making this the largest show since the very first production in 1998. There was a lot to look forward to from the designers as there is no limit to creativity, and the designers were not disappointed. Everyone at CMU has learned to expect the unexpected from these student designers, and this was a show that will not be soon forgotten.

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