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Students take designs to international runway

By Rachel Tracey, For The Miami Student

Two fashion shows ended a three-week study abroad program in the Czech Republic where Miami University students got to see their designs modeled on stage. Put on by the new fashion design minor and the Miami University Club of Fashion and Design, the program took place July 7 to July 25.

This program took place at the University of West Bohemia's Ladislav Sutnar Faculty of Design and Art. It is for fashion design minors, but is also open to art, architecture, interior design, theater and marketing majors.

Seven Miami students participated in the study abroad program. This included two interior design majors, two marketing majors, one architect major and two individualized studies majors.

Accompanying the seven Miami students were four Czech students who have been studying fashion design for more than four years. These students spent most of their time around the Czech university, but also visited the Czech cities Pilsen and Prague.

Miami University has had a partnership with the University of West Bohemia since 2008 and they offer intense fashion experience, Ewing said.

"I thought going to another country was going to be very different but the Czech students weren't different at all," Rachel Hucek, an interior design student who participated in the study abroad program, said. "They loved to shop and watch romantic comedy movies. It was fascinating to learn about their culture."

The students spent their first week abroad drawing designs and patterns for their outfits. Once they had their designs, they began building their outfits onto a small mannequin. After they built their outfits out of fabric, they began to build them out of paper onto a full size mannequin.

"Each student created their own patterns with the help of the Czech students," Hucek said. "It was an interesting dilemma, and some of the patterns were fairly complicated."

At the end of the three-week program, the students watched as their outfits were modeled down the runway.

"It was a big celebration with hundreds of people," Susan Ewing, distinguished professor and Associate Dean for the College of Creative Arts said. "To see their work on models, up on stage; that was probably their favorite part."

The course number for this program was SCA 422. It will be CCA 422 for the summer of 2015 as a result of the change of the divisions' name from School of Creative Arts to College of Creative Arts.

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Due to the introduction of the fashion design minor at Miami University in the fall, this was the first summer for this study abroad program. Because the fashion minor is new and made up of 19 credit hours, Miami does not yet have a distinguished fashion department, according to Ewing.

"We don't have the means to create a real fashion class," Ewing said. "No real dedicated fashion classes. That's a future thing. We need more students first."

With 48 students currently enrolled in the fashion design minor, Ewing said she hopes the program will reach its goal of 60 students.

Studying abroad also sets students apart from others when trying to find a job. It shows they have global experience and it allows the students to create a fashion portfolio, Ewing said.

"I feel like if I had to create any clothing item, I could do it," Hucek said. "Due to the complexity of what I had to create. I could create anything."

Ewing hopes to grow the program and eventually host the summer program annually.