Seniors revamp the runway

The apparel design seniors will show off their hard work this weekend.

Design senior Kari Kachelmacher displays two of her pieces in the final stages of preparation on Tuesday in McNeal Hall.  The class's show,

Mark Vancleave

Design senior Kari Kachelmacher displays two of her pieces in the final stages of preparation on Tuesday in McNeal Hall. The class’s show, “Twelve,” will take place saturday evening at Rapson Hall.

Sarah Harper

What: Twelve: 44th Annual Fashion Show

When: 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m., Feb. 18

Where: Rapson Hall, 89 Church St. SE.

Cost: $20 general seating, $25 day of show; $10 balcony standing, $12 day of show; $50 VIP seating (advanced purchase only)

Eleven designers. Four years. Thousands of hours spent in the studio. Hundreds of dollars spent out-of-pocket.

It all adds up to “Twelve” — that’s the name of the show that seniors in the University of Minnesota’s apparel design department are putting on this weekend.

“This is our year to basically create our own inspiration, our own vision. What we love to do shows through our garments,” said Gabby Goetz, one of the eleven designers.

Normally, in their classes, they’ve had to design for specific clients and purposes. But with this final hurrah of a project, the seniors have tasted freedom.

“We make our own patterns. We have to fit to our models. We buy our own fabric,” Goetz said.

Kari Kachelmacher, one of the apparel design seniors, made her clothes without ever buying a new bolt of fabric — she created all of her looks by repurposing vintage finds.

“It was definitely worth it — I think my clothes look like they weren’t recycled,” Kachelmacher said.

Each designer created a collection of at least four looks, due in December. But now, they aren’t just thinking about their individual collections — they’re collaborating on the execution of a full-fledged runway show. This show won’t have any impact on their GPAs, but these designers are putting forth an A+ effort nonetheless.

Everything from promotions to the venue is in their crafty, capable hands.

“We’re finding the money to pay for the entire show,” said Kachelmacher, who is also the finance chairwoman for the event.

The designers have been working on t since September. In a way, they started working on it four years ago, when they plunged into the rigorous program together. They made it through portfolio reviews and semesters devoted to things like tailoring and crafting safety wear.

Compared to the fashion shows of years past, this one will be a different animal; the class of 2012 is doing away with the unsavory conventions of past senior shows.

“We wanted to make sure it looked more industry and less student,” Goetz said.

The rickety, black-curtain-lined runway that models used to teeter precariously down is officially a thing of the past. This year, models will walk on a ground-level path made from a glossy, white flooring. Audience members will sit on raised platforms in Rapson Hall.

“The rows aren’t as far back, so people will be able to see the clothing more, and it will be on the runway longer. You’ll be able to see it from all angles,” said Sara Lopez, one of the designers and the venue chairwoman.

This year’s designers are also forgoing the classic emcee for a more futuristic approach — a video will carry the bulk of the hosting duties. Anthem Heart will deejay the music that each senior picked for their runway time.

“We’re setting up the show as eleven separate shows within a larger show,” Lopez said.

The clean, modern vibe will hopefully allow each designer to have their uninterrupted moment in the limelight. They’ve worked hard for it.