MILWAUKEE – The CREO fashion show at Mount Mary University it will look a lot different this year for several reasons.
It will be virtual, as almost every college in the country has to do. It is also the first time students tackle social problems through their designs.
“It’s important to encourage our students to think about that and think about who their customers really are,” said Assistant Professor Jessica Frantal. “Who are the underserved customers and who can they really make a difference for?”
Students are faced with three challenges: gender neutrality, sustainability, and body positivity. They must make clothes that reflect these three social problems.
Sustainability is their last challenge and presented to them through the use of recycled denim.
“Sustainability has been in my family for a long time,” said Mako Shidad, a junior. “I mostly leave things to me and I designed this denim project for my little sister, as a gift for her.”
Mako is Somali and plans to open a bridal company only for Somali women when he graduates. She says her culture is often neglected in the fashion world.
“I want to show my culture on the map,” I plan to make my senior capstone a Somali bridal collection as well. “
Asma Dasan is Palestinian and echoes the same sentiments about what most people see as traditional fad. It doesn’t represent who he is and he wants to change it.
“This is one of the main reasons I do fashion design because I’m tall, but I’m not thin,” said Asma. “If I find a nice garment, it’s too loose, too tight, or too short.”
He admits it was difficult to start pursuing this career because of his culture.
“I have to wake up every morning and become the person I know I want in the future because other people don’t see me for who I am,” said Asma. “I was lucky enough to touch the fabric and sew and put it all together.”
Professor Frantal added that the pandemic has led many designers to explore alternative methods of creating fashion.
“That’s what we want to emulate this semester for our students,” he said. “Whether it’s not being able to go to your local fabric shop, or looking for the material you’re looking for, or not having the same workforce.”
Classes 2020 and 2021 will host virtual fashion shows in May. The 2020 show was canceled due to the pandemic. There will be more than 100 pieces of clothing displayed.