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Home » URI Students to Showcase Designs at Annual Spring Splash Fashion Show

URI Students to Showcase Designs at Annual Spring Splash Fashion Show

by Jude Turner
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There’s no better way to spring into the new season of fashion than by joining University of Rhode Island Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design students for an evening of creativity and fashion.

On Sunday, April 23, at 4:30 p.m., URI is set to host its 19th annual Spring Splash fashion show in the Memorial Union Ballroom, highlighting the work of the students in the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design. 

Susan Hannel, an associate professor, has been organizing the fashion show since 2004. In 2019, Elaine Grullon joined URI as an assistant teaching professor and has worked alongside Hannel in putting on the event ever since.

A design by Lillian Marie ’23 from the 2022 fashion show, worn by her sister Emily. Lillian will display her designs again this year. (Photo courtesy of Susan Hannel)

“When Elaine joined us in 2019, I had my first person to help do this,” Hannel said. “And that has made a huge difference.” 

In 2021, the event was held virtually due to the pandemic. Instead of hosting a runway show, the event highlighted the TMD department. Last year’s show, also in the ballroom, was the first in-person show since the pandemic. The event, running about two and a half hours, features a runway show, awards, raffles and refreshments. Tickets for the fashion show are $10 for URI students and $25 for the general public. A VIP ticket is also available with stage-side seating and a “swag bag” curated by Hannel and Grullon. Click here for tickets.

Spring Splash is a fundraising event created to support students in the TMD department. Two audience-favorite awards will be presented. The awards will be voted on by the audience and the winners will split a cash prize that was donated by a faculty member.

Money raised through the event will support the TMD department and students, Hannel said. They hope to buy new equipment such as sewing machines or fund student opportunities to take part in experiential opportunities, such as visiting museums. 

Spring Splash highlights the hard work of students in the Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design program. (URI Photo/Michael Salerno)

The event is open to any student designers in TMD who have met the course requirements, Hannel said. All designs must be original work. This year, 21 students, mostly seniors, will present their designs. Overall, there will be about 40 designs on display. 

Lillian Marie, a senior, will present six of her designs in the show. 

Marie has been working on her designs since the fall semester and said that she is looking forward to seeing how her pieces come together to fit her “Garden Party” theme. 

She said that after last year’s Spring Splash, she immediately knew she wanted to make a bigger collection for this year’s show. 

“I decided on the theme ‘Garden Party’ because I wanted to incorporate nature and other aspects of life within my collection. I love making elegant pieces, so I made dresses based on what I would like to see at a garden tea party,” she said. “Making six garments has been a process for sure. I have put so much time, effort, and money into this collection.” 

Senior Hannah Hardy has two pieces in the show. Her designs are framed around the Red Dress Project, a Canada-based initiative created to call attention to the growing number of Indigenous women who are missing or have been murdered. 

Hardy said that in the TMD draping course, Professor Maryanne Meservey asked students to apply the principles of draping and create a piece inspired by this Red Dress initiative. 

“My first look, ‘Delaine,’ is inspired by power and strength. It features a leather collar that extends to broaden the shoulders and resembles armor, a fitted satin bodice and a tiered, high-low tulle skirt,” Hardy said. The piece was inspired by Delaine Copenace, a member of the Onigaming First Nation, who was murdered at age 16 in Ontario.

Hardy’s second piece, “Heaven,” honors Heaven Traverse of the Fisher River Cree Nation, who was murdered at the age of 18 months in Manitoba. Hardy said the piece is meant to break the silence that surrounds the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women movement. 

“I want to elicit emotion from the audience and be a voice for the missing and

murdered indigenous women who never had the chance to be heard. This gown is

elegant yet demands attention,” she said. “This piece is thought-provoking and

expresses that we refuse to sit silently while innocent human beings are losing their lives, and it will not go unnoticed any longer.”

Hardy said the gown will also feature the phrases “Threaten Our Existence” on the inner left cape panel and “Expect Our Resistance” on the inner right cape panel.

“If my pieces can impact just one person in the audience, I will have succeeded,” Hardy said.

Hannel and Grullon cannot wait for the audience to see the pieces the students have created and how they have advanced their design skills. And guests should look forward to this eye-catching and educational experience. 

Morgan Maleonskie, an intern in the University of Rhode Island’s Department of Communications and Marketing and senior double majoring in journalism and communication studies, wrote this press release. 

Source : Uri

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