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Art2Wear: More Than a Fashion Show

A model shows off a student design at Art2Wear 2013.

NC State students create.

It’s what they do, whether they’re making new tools for detecting radiation or building companies to support cancer research.

But not every NC State student debuts his or her creations to an audience of adoring peers and potential business partners. That’s the experience at Art2Wear, the annual show of fashions from students in the College of Design and the College of Textiles. Part of NC State Fashion Week, Art2Wear showcased 10 student designers’ work on April 25.

The show gave students rare exposure, said runway show director Lauren Caddick, a junior art and design major.

“They really do get their name out there as an emerging designer in front of industry professionals who attend the show,” she said. “It’s an experience to see what it’s actually like in the real world to design for a large-scale event.”

The theme for Art2Wear 2013 was Hypernatural. Designers focused on amplifying and manipulating elements of nature in conceiving their collections. The results included collections based on celestial objects, camouflage and concealment, fractals and naturally occurring patterns, and materials found in dumpsters.

“It’s the idea of taking something that’s found in nature … and augmenting some part of it to make some big extravagant idea,” said Caddick, who is a Park Scholar.

After four years in Reynolds Coliseum, Art2Wear returned to the Court of North Carolina this year. New faculty advisors Katherine Diuguid and Justin LeBlanc saw the move outdoors as a way of refreshing the event. The outdoor venue was only the most visible change for Art2Wear. Diuguid and LeBlanc took over as advisors this year after the retirement of longtime advisor Vita Plume in 2012.

“Both of us remember the excitement of it being outside and how utterly beautiful it was,” Diuguid said. She and LeBlanc, now assistant professors of art and design, both designed collections for Art2Wear as undergraduates.

Organizers also opened the event up a bit this year, welcoming students from other colleges to participate. Nick Szerszen, a senior studying business in the Poole College of Management, was the fundraising chair. A new fundraiser event preceded Art2Wear: Stomp The Heels, a January race where runners sprang down Hillsborough Street in high heels. Winners received tickets to the men’s home basketball game against UNC-Chapel Hill. Some of the race proceeds went to Arts for Life, a nonprofit organization that helps children with serious illness express themselves through art.

“It comes to a point when you realize you can be more than just a fashion show and more than just something exciting,” Caddick said. “You can actually do something that gives back.”