2019 CCAD Fashion Show to feature top student designs, from gender-neutral to eco-friendly

Mar 6, 2019
models from lookbook

COLUMBUS, Ohio—The 2019 CCAD Fashion Show on Friday, May 10, will be the most fashionable fundraiser of the year.

It features top looks from emerging designers who go on to power the fashion industry here in Columbus and around the world. (Plus, all proceeds benefit student scholarships at Columbus College of Art & Design.)

This year, the annual juried event will include 71 looks created by 18 CCAD Fashion Design seniors. The collections range from gender-neutral looks inspired by turtles to eco-friendly outfits featuring buttons made from nuts.

The 2019 CCAD Fashion Show will also feature some historic footage from past fashion shows as Columbus College of Art & Design celebrates its 140 anniversary.

CCAD’s Fashion Design program, which was recently named one of the top 25 fashion schools in the world by Fashionista, got its unofficial start in 1969 within what was then called the retail advertising program, and Fashion Design officially became a major in 1985.

Fashion Design students went on to produce clothes featured in the annual CCAD student exhibitions (now known as Chroma: Best of CCAD) throughout the 1980s. And the first recorded CCAD Fashion Show happened in 1991.

“Columbus College of Art & Design has a long tradition of creative excellence, and that’s certainly true when it comes to fashion,” says Suzanne Cotton, Chair of CCAD’s Fashion Design program. “Our talented students and graduates go on to power big-name brands and start their own companies. And it’s amazing to see the incredible diversity of talent on the runway at the annual CCAD Fashion Show.”

Award-winning artists and designers Ruben and Isabel Toledo—who will give the 2019 CCAD Commencement address on Saturday, May 11—said they’re looking forward to seeing the designs on the runway at the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show.

 “We are always looking towards designing a brighter future and CCAD students always deliver on this promise,” Ruben and Isabel Toledo said.

The designers for the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show include:

Alex Domoracki

Before embarking on their collection called Soft People, suburban Cleveland native Alex Domoracki had never knitted anything more complicated than a hat or scarf. But, last semester, Domoracki learned to machine knit and went on to incorporate complicated knitting techniques in their colorful gender-neutral collection. Domoracki—who identifies as non-binary and uses they/them/their pronouns— previously served as president of CCAD’s Queer Alliance and was inspired to create what they call “fun and wearable” gender-neutral clothing for the LGBTQ+ community. “There is a need for gender-neutral fashion catered toward the queer community that isn’t hyper-masculine or oversized—clothes that are wearable and considers the fact that people have different body types,” says Domoracki, who hopes to work with a gender-neutral fashion company someday.

Melissa Marchi

Melissa Marchi’s collection, Zest, is all about sustainability. Each piece is fashioned from biodegradable, natural materials, down to the buttons, which are made from the Ecuadorian corozo nut. Sustainability and environmental consciousness have been an important part of my life choices as a consumer and designer,” Marchi says. “I am really excited to make a collection that holds this as its core value.” Her garments have a clean, feminine feel with lots of lightweight, breathable fabrics in colors such as tomato, coral, white, and beige.

Wes Mills

Wes Mills is obsessed with turtles and tortoises. So, for his menswear/gender-neutral collection called Trench, Mills is paying tribute to his favorite animal with what he calls “street armor.” The collection features jackets made of neoprene and covered in a silicone-rubber mix that produces a glossy, black finish reminiscent of an oil spill. Mills, a Columbus native who also makes and sells popular bomber jackets on Instagram, took a break from that gig while working on his 2019 CCAD Fashion Show collection. He plans to launch more designs after graduation. But first, after the hard work of college and preparing for a night on the runway, he’s ready to withdraw into a shell himself. “I’m going to take a nap,” Mills says.

Thuy Nguyen

Fashion design hasn’t always been the most eco-friendly field. Chemicals are often used to make dyes, plenty of materials go to waste, and many consumers lose their connection with their garments in the pursuit of fast fashion. But in Thuy Nguyen’s Combo streetwear collection, the Vietnam native took fabrics and materials that would otherwise be discarded and reused them in interesting new ways. For example, a muslin used to create the early designs of one piece was reused as material in the pockets of another design, and a puffer vest got its puff from bags of air that are used to ship packages. Nguyen also wants to buck the fast fashion trend and says she wants her pieces to stand the test of time, rather than ending up in a landfill. “I want to make something that people can form an emotional connection with and enjoy wearing for a long time,” Nguyen says.

Alanta Slone

When you think of lingerie, you may not think of women’s empowerment. But Alanta Slone’s collection, la nouvelle femme | the new women, sets out to prove that strong and sexy can coexist. “I fell in love with lingerie around the time undergarments as outerwear became popular,” Slone says. “I love the idea that you can wear whatever you want—especially because so many women have been told what to wear (and where to wear it) for so long.” Slone, a Columbus native, found inspiration for her collection in a trip to France and a recent internship with lingerie retailer La Senza, where she will work after graduation. Keep an eye out for lots of elevated neutrals, blushes, and charcoal blacks in her collection—plus some showstopper corset trousers— on the runway.

Kristen Wyant

Kristen Wyant is into detail, The Lord of the Rings, and the intricacies of designing for film and TV, which often turns to materials beyond the sorts of fabrics expected in the fashion world. The Zionsville, Indiana, native’s  collection, Empowered, explores Wyant’s love of molding, casting, and sculpting as she designs historical costumes for women of high influence. Each garment is inspired by a different country—Japan, Egypt, England, and Greece—and incorporates her style influences such as Lady Gaga, Freddie Mercury, Queen Elizabeth II, Colleen Atwood, and Edith Head. 

Media kit & more info

A media kit, including photos and facts about the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show, is available at ccadfashionshow.org. Read more about all of the designers featured in the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show here.

About the 2019 CCAD Fashion Show

The 2019 CCAD Fashion Show—the most fashionable fundraiser of the year—will take place Friday, May 10, at CCAD’s newly renovated campus. A VIP reception starts at 7 p.m., doors for general admission open at 7:30, and the runway show starts at 8:30, followed by a dance party. All proceeds benefit the CCAD General Scholarship Fund. For tickets and more information, visit ccad.edu/fashionshow

About Columbus College of Art & Design

Columbus College of Art & Design teaches undergraduate and graduate students in the midst of a thriving creative community in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1879, CCAD is one of the oldest private, nonprofit art and design colleges in the United States, and in 2019, the college is celebrating 140 years of creative excellence. CCAD offers 12 BFA programs and two master’s programs in art and design that produce graduates equipped to shape culture and business at the highest level. For more information, visit ccad.edu.


Above: Columbus College of Art & Design students model clothing designed and created by CCAD student Alex Domoracki (Fashion Design, 2019). Photo by CCAD grad Marcus Morris (Photography, 2011). 

Additional high-res photos are available upon request.

Media contact

Jeannie Nuss
Director of Public Relations