Style: Silver Needle Fashion Show

Marist College’s Silver Needle Fashion Show: high style by the Hudson.

The Marist Runway

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Even if you do snag front-row seats to the 22nd annual Silver Needle Fashion Show, don’t expect to be sharing legroom with Anna Wintour, Nina Garcia, or any A-list celebrities. (Then again, there is always that rumor Marc Jacobs may show up.) What you will experience is a stimulating scene reminiscent of New York Fashion Week, complete with original designs, flashing lights, pulsating music, and elegant models gliding down a 50-foot runway.


Hosted by Marist College, this fashion extravaganza unveils approximately 200 unique garments crafted by the college’s 89 design students. “The clothing is done 100 percent by the students,” says Program Director and Professor Radley Cramer. “They are given difficult challenges for creating their garments.” While many of the 248 merchandising majors get involved, the show is produced almost entirely by students taking the Fashion Show Production class. The 12 hand-chosen students enrolled in this course are divided into different groups, each performing the tasks of various sectors of the professional fashion industry. “The show is a good representation of the program at large,” says Cramer. “Because it combines all of the concentrations. Everyone works together.” The Marist show is unique in that all year levels are represented (fashion departments at most other colleges only feature senior designers at their shows).


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After the models have strutted their stuff, the students are judged by fashion professionals from New York City. Awards are given in six categories including “Outstanding Business Plan” (for merchandising majors) and “Outstanding Collection” (for design majors); winners receive scholarships donated by renowned fashion houses like Liz Claiborne.


Silver Needle is always well-received by the audience and gets bigger and better every year, says Cramer. “This will be the biggest show we’ve ever had. We increased by 20 percent more seats.” About 2,000 guests — students, families, friends, local folks, and industry professionals — are expected to attend the two 90-minute productions. “This show is very much a part of the Marist community,” says Cramer. “We also get a lot of support from the local community. We use a local staging company, and our hair and makeup artists are from nearby.”


Marist’s fashion department began in the 1980s; today it encompasses about five percent of the student body. The popular program offers many undergraduate internships, and had 100 percent job placement for the 2007 graduating class.

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The Silver Needle Fashion Show takes place at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie on May 2 at 2 & 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at



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