SIU fashion design college student to showcase sustainability-impressed creations in runway clearly show

Leslee Lunden Lofton, a senior majoring in trend design and style from Chicago, demonstrates off some of her creations as she is effective toward SIU’s Student Showcase and Manner Show on April 21. (Photograph by Russell Bailey)

Leslee Lunden Lofton is creating the most of an prospect she observed in her individual closet. Impressed by her personal outdated clothes, garments at nearby thrift merchants and an effort towards sustainability, Lofton, a senior in Southern Illinois College Carbondale’s trend style and design application, is repurposing clothing as she prepares to unveil her line at the University student Showcase and Runway Style Demonstrate, Thursday, April 21, in University student Middle Ballroom D.

Upcycling, or repurposing old objects, is a pattern in the manner industry that has grow to be far more prevalent the past number of a long time thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and issue about the Earth’s ecosystem, mentioned Lofton and Laura Kidd, an associate professor in the University of Architecture and plan director. Lofton’s eight-garment line, labeled Back-to-the-’90s: Thrift-it Edition, is encouraged by sitcoms Lofton viewed as a little one, such as “The Contemporary Prince of Bel-Air,” “A Unique World” and “Sister, Sister.”

“Leslee  is performing a collection motivated by what I’ve desired to see a designer do for decades,” Kidd said. “She arrived up with an thought and was procuring for her clothes all summer season. She was purchasing tops and bottoms that nobody wants.

“It’s been fantastic to look at her actually begin considering like a designer and considering outdoors the box and coming up with answers. Leslee has place a lot of challenging operate into this.”

As Lofton, who graduated from Chicago Butler University Prep High School, not long ago was tearing apart the seams on an old skirt that she never wore to transform it into a leading, she stated the worth of sustainability and minimizing waste.

“It’s a fantastic way to assistance the world – reusing clothes to make anything new,” she stated. “It started in the summer time, and about the summer time, I kept the same topic. I spent a good deal of time searching at the cloth to see what I could do with it. I’m creating a top rated that have been shorts. I have to believe of various and artistic means to make something wholly various.”

The upcoming occasion marks the second in-individual fashion demonstrate as part of SIU’s application she will take part in. As a study course need, Lofton’s line will characteristic 8 pieces, with eight models who are named for a character from one particular of the 3 sitcoms. Designers are accountable for acquiring their have designs and work with them on fittings.

“There’s a little bit of force to get every thing finished,” Lofton said. “It’s the method. I have to speed myself. But I’m at the remaining portion of every single garment, so there isn’t a whole whole lot of strain.”

Pandemic performed a role

The pandemic prompted people today to embark on a lot more do-it-you jobs.

“When you are stuck in the household you find issues to do the outfits field has picked up that.

There is an explosion of recycling,” claimed Lofton, who returned to campus in fall 2021 for her senior year right after paying most of the spring 2020 semester and all of her junior yr as an online college student.

Kidd additional there have been conversations in just the vogue market about lowering squander for a lengthy time, but that the pandemic speeded matters up.

“People started out planning and developing garments from what they had, what they could discover, or they bought tired of hunting at two or three garments in their closet, so they resolved to combine them into something new,” Kidd mentioned.

“And these young designers, a great deal of them are quite considerate about the squander and attempting to reuse things and sustainability.”

A essential is ‘patience’

Lofton credits her grandmother with sparking her initial curiosity in clothes and style and design by getting her to a several stitching lessons when in higher university. She came to SIU’s program due to the fact it was cost-effective and just one of the few Illinois universities with a style style and design method. SIU continues to be the only public college in Illinois that presents style layout as a separate specialization.

While the energy to design and style and piece jointly material into trend can take a extensive time, Lofton reported, the vital is possessing endurance.

“You have to get pleasure from it,” Lofton mentioned. During the pandemic, she commenced making masks for spouse and children and began marketing them by phrase-of-mouth. That blossomed into her individual online apparel small business, Lunden Leslee, which Lofton designs to grow after she graduates in Might. She wishes to keep on earning custom made outfits utilizing thrift and sustainable material.

First runway demonstrate in a few several years

Kidd noted that pupils are enthusiastic to be able to return to an in-particular person occasion. After the 2020 exhibit was canceled thanks to the pandemic, Kidd, who has supervised college student designers since 1997, opted for image shoots in spring 2021.

This calendar year, there will be reveals of pupil operate in the Scholar Center’s J.W. Corker Lounge and Ballroom C starting at 6 p.m., which includes college students from fashion merchandising, fashion styling and inside designers. The clearly show is free of charge and open to the community.

The runway manner display begins at 7 p.m., with 5 to start with-calendar year college students who will just about every present a design titled, Dressed for Influence. Those college students, with hometowns, are:


  • Carbondale: Nicole Robinson.
  • Chicago: Aniya Vaughns.
  • Herrin: Aaron Elliot.
  • South Elgin: Lisa Vasilopolous.


Two sophisticated students will present style types as portion of a miniline assortment. Those learners, with hometowns and line, are:


  • Carbondale: Ingrid Hansen, Gothic Girls, a line of feminine gothic looks motivated by Victorian trend and embellishments.
  • Elgin: Caroline Chwalisz, Sweet Pea Classic, a useful and feminine line working with warm autumn colors encouraged by 1940s women’s fashions.

The system is set to endure a identify adjust to fashion studies setting up July 1, which Kidd stated will greater mirror its choices. It will retain its a few specializations in fashion structure, fashion merchandising and vogue styling

For more data on the trend structure method, speak to Kidd at 618-453-1970 or [email protected].

Katheleen Knopf

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