Participating in Kent State University's annual Rock the Runway competition has been a goal for Twinsburg resident Haley Wachholz for a couple of years.
"I love to sew," said Wachholz before the show. "So I do it as a hobby. I went to see the show a couple of years ago, and decided I wanted to try to do it. I decided I better do it before I graduate."
Wachholz, a senior geography major, said she hopes to graduate in spring 2015.
Rock The Runway, which took place March 8 in the Kent State University Ballroom, is a competition where students design three outfits based around a theme. This year's theme for the competition, in its 10th year, was The Second British Invasion. In addition to taking inspiration from the 80s era and British New Wave music, designers had to incorporate a representation of the Union Jack into at least one of their designs.
"My idea was a contrast of black and white, with purple," Wachholz said. "I played off the silhouettes of the time period, but made it more modern with the colors. I spent a couple of weeks in purchasing fabrics and with fittings for the models."
Wachholz said the biggest challenge was creating outfits for someone else to wear.
"I'm used to sewing for myself, so sewing for different people was a different experience, having the dresses fit their bodies and not my own," she said.
The three models Wachholz worked with were Brandy Horlacher of Chagrin Falls, Carliann Rittman of Medina and Becket Thompson of Hudson.
Thompson, a sophomore Applied Communications major, said she has modeled before for previous Rock The Runway competitions.
"I think it was great," she said of the completion after the event. "Everyone's designs looked beautiful."
This year's panel of guest judges included Suede, a Kent State alum and a contestant in Season 5 of Project Runway, and who now runs his own brand SUEDESays; Emma Day, a London native who now lives in Stow and operates Carnaby Street Style in Acorn Alley in Kent; and Anne Siegel, the special events manager at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. Decadia, based out of New York, provided the live music for the competition.
"One thing that interests me is how they will incorporate the Union Jack into the costumes," said Day in an interview before the competition. "I'm excited to see what the young designers have come up with. This school is known for its fashion program."
Siegel said before the competition that she would be "looking for items that are not expected."
"When you look at the 80s, there are a lot of clichés associated with that time," Siegel said. "What I'm looking for is something that is 80s with a fresh and updated twist."
Suede said before the show that this is his second time serving as a judge for Rock The Runway.
"I think the really exciting thing is the music and the time period is something the students didn't live through," Suede said. "I am curious to see what the students will do without having any personal reference or touchpoint for the era."
Afterward, Wachholz said she was happy with the result of the show.
"I'm more than happy with what I sent out, and I wouldn't change a thing," she said.