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Art2Wear 2016

A model walks the runway at the 2016 Art2Wear fashion show at NC State. Play Video

For 15 years, the annual Art2Wear fashion show has been challenging young designers at NC State to create wearable art and put it in front of a passionate audience.

What was once a boutique campus event — first held in “The Pit” at the College of Design with a boombox for music and nearly as many models as attendees — has grown into the premier educational project of its kind in North Carolina and across the wider region, drawing a crowd of 4,000 people annually.

This year’s show took place on April 22 at Talley Student Union. Working alongside the team of nine fashion designers — and the models who showcased their work — were student event planners, photographers, videographers, hair and makeup artists, fundraisers and more. Planning and executing Art2Wear demands an ensemble Think and Do performance.

The value of the show for those students is not lost on Justin LeBlanc, an NC State alumnus and two-time contestant on the reality TV show “Project Runway.” LeBlanc, who initially studied to be an architect, found his love for fashion by entering Art2Wear in 2008. The former Caldwell Fellow now works as an assistant professor at the College of Design — and serves as mentor to most of the show’s designers.

“Art2Wear is where I got my start,” says LeBlanc. “I did not do fashion until Art2Wear, and it changed my life completely. So as the teacher now, I’m on the other side of the table, and just seeing the students that create this work and seeing their passion and their desire to bring something to the audience … it’s a beautiful thing.”