As New York Times fashion photographer, Bill Cunningham, once said, “fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” This year’s Marist College takes that notion to heart with its 34th annual Silver Needle Runway, which focuses on sustainability and adaptability.
Fashion lovers and those who want to support the featured talented designers can stream the show May 8 on Marist Fashion’s YouTube to watch impeccable designs come to life.
In a normal year, Marist’s Silver Needle Runway (SNR) fashion show would have taken the stage inside the college’s McCann Center for the first time. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Dutchess County school, which is currently hosting classes online, chose to switch gears to an online program in order to showcase the work its students have dedicated to it throughout the year. The main focus of this year’s show is about change and impact, with “Awaken” as the official theme.
Student Communications Director at Marist Fashion Ashley Camuso explains that her 10-person team has worked on its feet to adapt to the ever-changing situation. Preparation for the event includes handling all things social media, press interviews, podcast events, marketing, and brand merchandise. She notes that moving the show online puts an even greater emphasis on the sustainability theme, as there will be no need to distribute physical copies of the program.
“Every aspect of this program is sustainable,” Camuso says.
Preparing for a large in-person event can be daunting, but Camuso mentions that the situation is even harder for students who are studying a hands-on major like fashion design. Ashley’s team lost the chance to host pre-show promotional events across campus. Yet, the silver lining points to the positive impact of social media.
“We’ve been able to gain new skills, find ways to interact through social media, and find ways to partner with vendors,” Camuso adds.
As for how the show works this year, the show’s fashion designers, all of whom are Marist fashion design students, submit videos of their garments for the virtual event. Typically, around six to eight judges come from New York City to judge the designs based on a rubric. This year, they’re reviewing submissions online. Senior thesis presentations take place a week before the runway so they’re a bit less nerve-wracking for fashion design students.
Another plus to the virtual format, Camuso adds, is that there’s more opportunity to reach people beyond Marist’s campus. Since the runway will be accessible to people tuning in from different regions, engagement rates are predicted to take off. In addition to spotlighting student designs, Marist’s organizers can showcase behind-the-scenes snippets, something that wasn’t possible in previous years.
“This will change the [fashion] industry completely,” Camuso says of the COVD-19 crisis as a whole. She explains that although organizing and coordinating such a large event might be daunting, right now the focus is on the community aspect. She looks forward to informing people about the SNR brand and inspiring others about the world of fashion.
“Our sustainable theme is oddly fitting to what’s important,” she says. To keep up with the SNR brand, follow @MaristFashion on social media.