Slice 1
Michigan State University Michigan State University

For professor Theresa Winge, the annual Apparel and Textile Design Fashion Show is the place where students' sketchbook dreams become runway reality.

“I want them to understand that MSU has a fashion program housed in the art department that allows a lot of latitude to be very creative and innovative,” Winge said. “The students are going to do great things when they get into the industry.”

"It's a lot of hard work, but I really do like to see the students get to see their work go out on the runway," Winge, the show's co-director, says. "We get to stand in the back and listen for people's reactions."

Numerous designs submitted by apparel and textile design students are chosen each year for the juried show, which, in 2012 and 2013, was held in Wharton Center's Pasant Theatre. Among a sea of more than 150 submissions in 2013, student co-directors Martín Flores, Shannon Gillespie and Taylor Varner and faculty members Jacquelynn Sullivan, Rebecca Schuiling, and Theresa Winge chose some 80 designs from 50 emerging designers for the runway show. Varner says she was looking for an outside-the-box perspective on fashion.

"One of the main things [we looked for] was how innovative it [fashion design] was; if we'd seen anything like it before," Varner says. "In most of our apparel classes, our teachers want us to push the limits with what we can do and what we think fashion is. We look for stuff that's really outstanding."

Varner said the annual ATD show is all about cutting edge. "We're always trying to be creative and think of new ways to put together design," she said. "It's taking the stuff on the streets to the next level, and the most elaborate thing that we can do."

Once the lights dim on the runway, Winge said she wants attendees to accept the program as an outlet for creativity.

"I want them to understand that MSU has a fashion program housed in the art department that allows a lot of latitude to be very creative and innovative," Winge said. "The students are going to do great things when they get into the industry."

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the MSU College of Arts & Letters, the 2013 show also hosted a separate design competition called FASH Forward.

"Thirty-three fashion design students created avant garde fashion designs inspired by fashion icons from the last five decades," Winge says. "Designers were required to depict the style of icons such as Twiggy, Brigitte Bardot, Elizabeth Taylor and Cyndi Lauper." Only current College of Arts and Letters students at Michigan State University were eligible to register for the FASH Forward design competition. Each competitor received a sealed design packet containing images of one fashion icon from the past five decades. Designers were required to use their assigned fashion icon as inspiration for a modern avant-garde fashion design; no trading of icons between designers was allowed.

Apparel and Textile Design junior director Shannon Gillespie says that the addition of the FASH Forward segment to the show truly amped up the competition among students to get into the show. Quoted in The State News, Gillespie said, "It was much more competitive this year. We had so many students submit designs, we really had to pick the best."

College of Arts and Letters Dean Karin A. Wurst and Art, Art History, and Design Chair Tom Berding presented awards for the FASH Forward competition and the ATD Fashion Show, respectively, at the close of the 2013 runway show.

The 2013 judging panel included Heather Grdinic, senior instructional designer at Nordstrom; Alisa Henriquez, professor of painting at Michigan State University; Michelle Word, studio arts teaching specialist and Outreach/Programming coordinator at Michigan State University; Britta Urness, academic advisor and studio arts teaching specialist; and Jacquelynn Sullivan, visiting professor in studio arts foundations at Michigan State University.


The 2012 juried ATD show was the culmination of a wide range of creative explorations by the design program's students, ranging from classic to avant-garde to eco-fashion. An exciting addition to the 2012 show was the introduction of e-textiles for illuminated fashion designs.

In addition, four Apparel and Textile Design students created individual designs inspired by the new Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU, and collaborated on a fifth design that opened the show.

Calvin Klein men's woven and denim designer Donald Bradford was a show judge and a guest at the reception afterward. Friday, Bradford shared his menswear design experiences in the fast-paced world of fashion with students and other attendees at the Kresge Art Center.

Professor Theresa Winge and instructor Rebecca Schuiling note that the ATD show gives students a "real world" opportunity to present their original fashions.

"Students and faculty collaborate to create professional runway experience, gaining needed perspective from guest fashion design professionals who serve as both judges and industry contacts. This experience is invaluable to developing well-rounded fashion design professionals."

For more information regarding the ATD Fashion Show: and



Featured articles:

Other articles in this issue: