Creativity, couture hits the UMass runway

Apr 23, 2022

Combining chic with comfort is looking to be the next top fashion trends at UMass Dartmouth.

Friday saw the return of the annual fashion show to the College of Visual and Performing Arts auditorium, where students showcased a variety of outfits — inspired by the current “athleisure wear” trend — that they crafted over the course of the spring semester.

“We are here truly to see fashion in real time,” said Master of Ceremonies Craig Elkins, the director of the university’s College Now/Start Program. “This is a unique expression of [the students’] creativity and the efforts that they’ve put in.”

Some outfits focused on upscaling comfort, while others played on the camp and avant-garde aspects of the theme, augmenting their looks with accessories like custom jewelry, textiles, and even a bag with a fish in it.

Many of these additions not only showcased the students’ personalities in their designs, but also the other disciplines they’ve learned at the university such as sculpture, metalwork, and studio arts.

“It is their united effort that you are seeing,” Elkins said. “You have models wearing everything head to toe that’s been made by [the students].”

Along with athleisure outfits, models strutted the runway in evening wear that students made in the fall to support the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts’ Red Dress project.

Models also showcased collections made by students Savonne Pickett, Abigail Soares, Diego Moreno, Ashley Clark, Destine Demosthene, Olivia Plouse, and Emily Aaron.

Clark’s collection titled “Meraki” consisted of business wear for women of color. Her designs included the use of bright colors she said would pair well with darker skin tones.

Ploude, a textiles student, chose to combine Boho Punk, short for Bohemian Punk, with knitting.

Meanwhile, Moreno created an autumn collection that combined modern trends with witchcraft.

Textiles alumna Kelsey Thornton also presented her MFA thesis collection “Fidget,” a collection of military and air force-inspired utility sportswear that was created while attending Savannah College of Art and Design.

“They researched a lot,” Elkins said. “[This] is a culmination of all their efforts.”

For more information on the students and their design process, visit