Students’ 2017 Fashion Show features ASCENTS to new heights

Story by Skylar Richardson

CSU’s Department of Design and Merchandising will hold its annual fashion show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 31, at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

VIP tickets, valued at $50, will allow guests to arrive at 5 p.m. for hors d’oeuvres, wine and beer, as well as a silent auction featuring goody bags donated by sponsors. VIP ticket-holders also enjoy premium seating.

The show, titled “ASCENT,” will showcase 14 senior collections as well as junior design and draping concepts constructed out of recycled war parachutes donated by Aspen Pointe mental health services.

Over 40 models who attended a model call in February have been selected to wear the student designers’ unique collections.

Showcasing achievements

The 14 collections created by graduating apparel design students is a way for them to present their individually designed, constructed and styled pieces. It’s an opportunity to provide acclaim for the designers and unveil the progress of their valuable academic careers.

The theme “ASCENT,” according to director Nicole Pink, was chosen because for inventors and visionaries, the “goal of ‘ascent’ is to rise above and strive for greater.”

The diverse collections reflect the concept of “ASCENT” and the trending designs accessed via the Worth Global Style Network. WGSN, a global trend forecasting service paid for with contributions from local sponsors, is a valuable educational resource for CSU students.

“The collections required countless hours and extreme effort,” Pink said. “Whether it’s beachwear or evening gowns, the designers arose to the challenge and created a collection that represents them.”

“ASCENT” will primarily consist of women’s wear, but men’s wear and a family collection — including pieces worn by child models — will be presented. Designer Samantha DiPilato is responsible for the family collection, which reflects a modern, hipster vibe. It is suitable for a younger couple and child who could be seen enjoying contemporary music in a park on a sunny day.

‘Spunky and strong’

Designer Nina Mascheroni, who is currently interning at Tanya Taylor in the design and production department, describes her collection as “bold, spunky and strong.” Each look in her collection is named after a modern female name such as “Kyleigh.”

She has targeted her collection towards young, professional women who are pounding the pavement in major cities across the U.S. in hopes of changing the world with every step they take.

Each year, the theme of the fashion show is carefully selected by the prior year’s student and directors. As fashion followers, the influences come from the top designers and most stunning, inventive and trending fashion shows in the industry seen throughout the year.

During “ASCENT” expect the set design to be “luxurious, millennial-targeted and exotic,” according to set design manager Cooper Siville.

Siville paints the picture for the audience and the inspiration from which in stems: “Our proposal follows on the heels of Kim Jones for Louis Vuitton’s use of the Himalayan mountains and backdrops for his Fashion Week 2013 Menswear collection,” said Siville. “Spring F/W 2017 also contributed, in less stellar ways, to the inspiration of this fantastic set.”

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Fit for CSU

The mountain backdrop is fitting because it visually defines what it means in “ASCENT,” not to mention the fact that it mirrors the backdrop of CSU: the picturesque views of Horsetooth Canyon.

“The show will have dancers at several places throughout the show,” Siville said. “Dancers will open the show prior to the LED garments, dance both before and after intermission, as well as dance in a 30-second chunk prior to the showing of the Junior Draping collection.”

Tickets to the “ASCENT” fashion show are priced between $10 to $25, depending on seating location.

The annual Fashion Show has been single-handedly organized by CSU students under the direction of faculty member Carol Engel-Enright for seven years, and this will be the fourth year the Lincoln Center has hosted the event.

The students are divided into committees, and each committee is in charge of securing sponsorships to fund the show as well as their own budgets.

The Department of Design and Merchandising is part of the College of Health and Human Sciences. The program provides students the knowledge and tools to succeed in the apparel industry, ultimately to reach their best potential in whatever level of production or sales they pursue.

For more information regarding the department and tickets, visit, or

For updates and sneak peaks into the show, follow CSU Fashion Show on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

Be sure to follow @proudtobeacsuram on Instagram the night of the show to watch a live feed from the event — even backstage.