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Preparations are underway for the 33rd annual Genesee Community College fashion show. This year’s theme is Ethereal.

Fashion students Tyler Annalora, 23, of Buffalo, and Catherine Kelkenberg, 19, of Akron, explain the inspiration for their specific collections.

“American Rebellion,” Annalora said. “We kind of agreed on the fact that fashion is propelled by young so we decided to look back into the past and see where it may have originated.”

“It’s a collection sort of inspired by Athens meets Sparta, sort of hard and soft. A really strong woman,” Kelsenburg said.

That’s just a sampling of the original creative work on display at GCC this Saturday, as the design component of the fashion program has flourished in recent years. Now fewer and fewer clothing items come from Buffalo boutiques and more and more are coming from the creative hands and minds of GCC students.

Professor Donna Ehrhart, the Fashion Design program coordinator, says this is more than a three-credit course; their work can boost their resume for future endeavors.

“In the case of our design students what’s important is that they get an opportunity to make a number of pieces of clothing as a collection and are able to promote that as a sampling of their quality of work so that when they move on to other colleges or look for employment based on their collections and their creativity,” she said.

Professors say it’s a college-wide effort and hands-on learning experience. There are multiple committees such as a finance and public relations and other divisions for different majors to get involved. For example, the criminal justice department students focus on security planning for the event. Amy Slusser, Tourism and Hospitality program coordinator, says this is a key experience for her event planning students.

“It’s a really nice opportunity for students to get some true hands-on learning as opposed to theoretically, ‘This is how we would plan an event,’ instead, they do,” Slusser said.

Annalora reflects on the work he and his classmates have put into the event.

“It’s been a long process,” he said. “We’ve been working on it’s the entire year, so countless hours. But we love it, so it’s not like we’re even working at all.”

For Annalora – who earned a finance degree from Canisius before coming to GCC for fashion – and Kelkenburg – who grew up on an Akron farm, sewing and designing as a 4-H member – this is the experience they came to GCC for and look forward to their hard work paying off.

“Now seeing my clothes put together and having it ready to showcase my own stuff is a little bit overwhelming, but I’m excited,” he said. “At this point I kind of just want to get the show on the road and have it wrapped up and get it over with and see everyone’s response to my work.”

“I guess I didn’t ever realize how much goes into a fashion show -- all of the different steps, al of the different components that you have to coordinate and get together and all of the time and coordination that goes into it,” Kelkenberg said. “It’s definitely been a lot of work, but I’m really excited. It’s definitely going to pay off on Saturday.”

Showtimes are 3 and 7 p.m. this Saturday in the William W. Stuart Forum. Tickets are $7 at the door and $5 in advance.

Check out this story for more background on the GCC fashion program:


Here are more photos of the stage preparation. Also, as most fashion students were in class, Ryan Wellker worked at the sewing machine in the 12-station sewing/design room.





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