On March 22, N.C. Central University’s Department of Human Sciences painted the campus red—and blue, yellow, lilac, and metallic—for their annual fashion design competition. This year’s theme? “In Living Color:” a rainbow of high-quality pieces created by textile design students this semester.
The overall event began with a VIP experience on the ground floor of McDougald-McLendon Arena, where the department rolled out the red carpet an hour before the show began at 7 p.m. for select attendees and treated them to live music and a catered buffet dinner.
Like every year, the competing designers were preceded by the “Fashion Novistas:” underclassmen that are rather green designers and taking CLTX 2410: Apparel Construction and Management this semester. The Novistas were instructed to to create a two-piece look (a jacket or vest and bottoms) to reflect on their study of apparel functionality and fit.
After the Novistas’ time in the limelight, it was time for the main runway. Designers were judged on three main facets of textile design: tailoring, flat patterning, and the draping of a garment.
The 2018–2019 Fashion Inc. designers and their lines were (in order of appearance):
- Ellen Whitworth
- Ashley Pemberton, “Lovely Yvonne”
- Tajma Smotherson, “Energy”
- Neek Poole, “Ka$h”
- Abril Wilkins, “Splash”
- Josh Hall, “Proof”
- Adrian Murchison, “Blue Bird”
- Elijah Moore, “Fat Daddy”
- Heavens Aytch, “Preppy ‘N Pink”
- Jazmine Dixon, “Out for the Night”
- Kezzione Pittman, “Anonymous”
- Joiya Liles, “J. Symone”
- DeMaria Ferguson, “Lavender Aura”
- Ana Batts, “Neon Lights”
- Cheryl Summers, “Beautiful Bronze”
- Khalil McNair, “Broken Promises”
- LaDavia Turner, “Divine”
- Matthew Ripley, “Tactical Shinobi”
- Columbus Hinson IV, “IV”
- Jayda Thomas, “KissBridal”
Human Sciences lecturer and Fashion Inc. advisor Wadeeyah Beyah reminded the audience that even though not every designer would win an award, their improvement in the field of textile design was significant compared to where they started.
“Most of these students come to us without even knowing how to thread a sewing machine,” said Beyah.
Unranked awards based upon different features of the fashion line and its overall construction were given out as well:
- Best Construction: Ana Batts and Ellen Whitworth
- Most Improved: Khalil McNair
- Most Creative: Josh Hall and Matthew Ripley
- Most Original: Josh Hall and Matthew Ripley
- Best Oral Description: Josh Hall and Adrian Murchison
- Best Use of Fabric: Adrian Murchison and Jayda Thomas
- Best Suitability: Ashley Pemberton and Adrian Murchison
- Best Wearable Art: Josh Hall and Matthew Ripley
- Most Wearable: Jazmine Dixon and Ana Batts
- Best Models: Ellen Whitworth and Adrian Murchison
- Best Use of Color: Abril Wilkins and Adrian Murchison
This year, the judges had awarded ties for both third (Matthew Ripley and Jayda Thomas) and second (Josh Hall and Adrian Murchison). Beyah noted that it was “a major surprise” for this to occur, but it was ultimately the judges’ choice.
All of the lines were blue-ribbon quality, but only one could take first place: Ellen Whitworth, whose varied models (including some of her own professors!) and elegant patterns won her the night’s top prize.
Pieces from each runway collection are available for purchase at the designer’s discretion.