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Mac fashion show brings ‘Dreamland’ to reality

Veteran designers marvel at their evolution; designers, models, directors find joy in collaboration, Rogers’ return

The annual McCallum fashion show took place over on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in the McCallum Arts Center. The show displayed a variety of looks created by an array of designers, all fitting this year’s theme: “Dreamland.” The two nights brought to fruition months of work. Models and designers began practicing walks and sewing as early as November.

On Sunday, an unexpected surprise was added to the end of the fashion show. While in prior years the show ended with the announcement of a single winner, this year the top three designers took away a cash prize and a certificate in their honor.

Seniors Isa Pirkey and Mika Ponce were awarded first place and earned a cash prize of $600. Pirkey used the show as a way to connect with the audience through her pieces and use fashion as a unique art form to express herself.

“I really just love making things and being able to showcase them,” Pirkey said. “I love how creative it lets me be and generally find it interesting.”

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For Pirkey however, the show wasn’t about winning. In the end, she took home lessons learned in teamwork, cooperation, and commitment.

“I learned how much more I can accomplish when I work together with someone,” Pirkey said. “It was really exciting and gratifying to be recognized for all the hard work Mika and I put in.”

Senior Darin Fowler, last year’s winner, took home second place, and junior Reyn Linder placed third. For Fowler, a big part of the fashion show is witnessing how much he’s improved over time and also the valuable experience of getting a taste of what working in the fashion industry is like.

It was really exciting and gratifying to be recognized for all the hard work Mika and I put in.

— Fashion show co-winner Isa Pirkey

“I have been a part of the fashion show since sophomore year, and I’ve definitely grown a lot,” Fowler said. “I didn’t even know how to sew my sophomore year, and now I feel a lot more confident in my skills, even though there’s still much more room for improvement.”

Knowing two years in a row he has been able to create designs that both reflect himself and impress the judges. Fowler said all the time and effort spent creating the designs was well worth it.

“I feel like my sophomore year I was creating random clothes without putting any thought into it, but now I’ve started to develop my own personal style that means a lot more to me,” Fowler said.

While this is his final year participating in the show, Fowler is savoring the outcome—placing for a second year—and celebrating everything it took him to get to this point.

“I now have so many things to put in my portfolio,” Fowler said. “Even though I got second place I was still super excited to get that recognition after putting so much work into the collection.”

We are proud to present our gallery from the  McCallum Fashion Show as this week’s Tuesday Top 10.

A LONGLASTING PASSION FOR FASHION: On opening night, senior directors Edie Birkholz, Cecilia Passos and Annabel Tellez welcomed audience members to the “Dreamland” fashion show. As senior directors, the trio had been involved in the fashion show for several years. For Passos, it all started when she was a sophomore designer and since then, it’s only gotten better.

“This year was definitely the most fun so far,” Passos said. “The best part of my role is being around creative and fun people.”

Taking on a leadership role for this year’s production, Passos felt the pluses and minuses of assuming responsibility.

“[It was] overwhelming at times, but I really enjoyed having so much of a say in the creative direction of the show and interacting with the people modeling and designing,” Passos said.

While there were countless hours of careful planning that went into creating “Dreamland,” Passos’ favorite moments were the unscripted ones, like when the models made an encore lap on the MAC stage to “Murder on the Dance Floor.”

“It was fun to see the models break character,” Passos said. “Since we didn’t rehearse that part it was chaotic and unplanned.”

Caption by Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Meredith Grotevant.

LOOKING TOWARDS THE FUTURE: Sophomore Zane Shieh strikes a pose, keeping his cool in the spotlight. During the McCallum fashion show on Saturday, the 17, Shieh showcased sophomore Ronan Avery and junior Kaitlyn Gerrie’s designs. This year’s show had a topic of ‘dreamland’ which provoked many different designs from the numerous designers.

While modeling Avery’s looks, which were inspired by a cowboy and Russian mix, Shieh felt his outfit was different from anything he’d worn before.

“I felt sick,” Shieh said. “It was kinda weird because I had no shirt in both looks, but it was also very cool.”

Gerrie’s designs were meant to capture the things kids dream about that evolve into adult desires for control that are represented by the various metal details. The sunglasses that were incorporated into the looks symbolize that you can’t see into the future and just go in blind.

Being a part of the fashion show allowed Shieh to make new friends and see many styles.

“Getting to meet everyone and see what they made was my favorite part,” Shieh said. “Also just seeing everyone’s styles in everything.”

This experience has encouraged Shieh to already look forward to partaking in next year’s fashion show, but as a designer.

“I want to be a designer because it’s a way of self-expression,” Shieh said. “I also want to learn how to make clothes and understand how everything works.”

Caption by Maya Tackett. Photo by Meredith Grotevant.

BACKGROUND IN THE BUSINESS: Dressed by junior designer Kaitlyn Gerrie, senior Chamila Muñoz took to the “Dreamland” runway this past weekend. While it was her first time participating in the McCallum fashion show, Muñoz isn’t new to the modeling world.

I modeled here and there when I was a lot younger, maybe 5 or 6[years old] for some jewelry brands and small businesses, but not much in recent years,” Muñoz said.

Muñoz had hoped to participate in last year’s show but couldn’t due to scheduling conflicts. For her senior year, though, she couldn’t let the opportunity pass her by.

“It’s [modeling] something I haven’t done in a while so I was excited to step out of my comfort zone in a way,” Muñoz said. “I always love trying new things and being able to show off designs of my schoolmates is such an honor.”

The preparation process for the show was hectic, leaving the final reveal of Gerrie’s design until days before the show, but the moment Muñoz tried on the outfit, all the stress for both designer and model melted away.

“I didn’t get to try on my outfit until the day before, but the look on Kaitlyn’s face when she saw what she had worked so hard to make actually on a model was just so special,” Muñoz said. “I know it meant so much to her. But then she handed me a blindfold and told me I’d be walking with it on, so that was pretty wild.”

Caption by Francie Wilhelm. Photo by Meredith Grotevant.

A KNOSTALGIC KNIGHT: Dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things are, senior Ben Zacharias wields his weapon at the end of the runway. Senior designer Joss Umlas was inspired by memories of reading the childrens’ book with his mom, and Zacharias was eager to channel the iconic character.

“I was proud to carry out the vision of my designer,” Zacharias said. “[Having read the book] definitely made me feel connected to the look. I felt more confident and comfortable because I knew the character that I was supposed to resemble.”

Umlas’ attention to detail brought the character of Max to life.

“He added a cape with different fabric spots arranged to look like an old school pelt,” Zacharias said. “The jacket was made out of denim with fire man’s clips, and the pants had denim pouches to reinforce the armor look.”

Much like the character of Max, Zacharias’ experience was motivated by a sense of adventure.

“I met a lot of cool people and felt really included,” he said. “I was excited to try something that was out of my comfort zone.”

Caption by Caroline Owen. Photo by Chloe Lewcock.

DROWNING IN CREATIVITY: Sophomore Lili Escamilla walks the runway while dressed in a design by senior Beatrix McDaniel. McDaniel decided to take a twist on the “Dreamland” theme, and center her collection around nightmares. Escamilla’s look represented the nightmare of drowning.

“As a model my job was just to help my designer bring her vision to life,” Escamilla said. “My look was very unique and different from a lot of the others, so I was excited that I got to help Bea express her ideas in such a creative way.”

It was Escamilla’s first year participating in the show. While she had plenty of fun and met many new friends, she also gained a new perspective on what goes on behind the curtains.

“I can now appreciate the designers’ work a lot more,” she said, “because I now know all the dedication and time that they put into these looks.”

Escamilla also learned the ins and outs of being a model. With weekly after-school walking classes that began months before the show, it was a commitment, but she found her hard work to pay off in the end.

“I was really nervous before the show because I was the second model to walk,” Escamilla said. “So it was super nerve-racking, but my friends helped me turn the nerves into excitement, and it made the experience all worth it.”

Caption by JoJo Barnard. Photo by Julia Copas.

DREAMLAND TAKES THE STAGE: On the first night of the annual McCallum fashion show, designers and models wearing each creator’s designs took the stage after months of preparations. The theme “Dreamland” allowed ample room for each designer to interpret its meaning originally and incorporate that interpretation visually through their designs, while at the same time making a creative statement with each piece reflecting their view of fashion.

Junior designer Simon Beaton said the show gave him the opportunity to express his creativity in a hands-on way that he can share with the community while collaborating closely with other designers and learning from them.

“For ‘Dreamland’ I really wanted to capture the essence of the sea,” Beaton said. “I created really textured and ethereal looks that made such beautiful silhouettes from my beautiful models.”

As a third-year designer, Beaton said he was more confident going into the show, and because he was less anxious, he was able to take a step back and admire how far he’s come in the past three years.

“My favorite part of being a designer is to make wearable art that really encapsulates my mind onto a physical piece of clothing,” Beaton said.

While he loves the creative expression the show affords him, he also loves how collaborative the work is.

“Getting to work with other people who are passionate about the same thing is really inspiring,” Beaton said.

Taking Dreamland into reality, Beaton said this year’s show turned out to be a dream come true. From his designs, to models, to getting to work with numerous other designers, Beaton used the experience to further his knowledge of fashion and continue doing what he loves most.

“I have always had a passion for fashion,” Beaton said. “Having this show to look forward to and work on is an amazing creative outlet to do what I love.”

Caption and photo by Chloe Lewcock.

STRUTTING BACK IN TIME: Senior Kylie Reeves poses in a 1970s-inspired look created by sophomores Milane Boudou, Maggie Mass and Sophia Manos. While this was her first fashion show, Reeves felt that the runway walk came easily with consistency, coaching and confidence.

“We practiced with music and got critiqued on our walking and pose timing,” Reeves said.

This look’s trio of designers didn’t hesitate to include Reeves in the creative process, allowing her to incorporate her own jewelry and boots into the finished product.

“The designers were super sweet and easy to work with,” Reeves said. “Collaborating with others and keeping an open mind helps a project blossom into its highest potential.”

Caption by Caroline Owen. Photo by Julia Copas.

ICE CREAM QUEEN: Sophomore Cozbi Sims strikes a pose at the top of the runway as she models junior Reyn Linder’s outfit at the annual McCallum fashion show on Saturday.

Sims was introduced to the fashion show by her friend, but didn’t know who she was going to model for. However, after meeting Linder and seeing her designs, Sims was excited to start the process.

“For me, it was a little nerve-wracking at first, but then it was actually easy and chill most of the time,” Sims said. “It wasn’t overly stressful until we started to get closer to the show.”

For Sims, the best part of the show was being able to perform in front of many people and all the behind-the-scenes work that went on.

“The best part was when I went up there and was like ‘oh this wasn’t as bad as I thought,’” Sims said. “When I was walking down that aisle and everyone was cheering for me, it was pretty nice. I was scared, especially with all the anticipation, but that all went away when I got onto the stage. Performing and getting ready was also such a fun part.”

The outfit reminded Sims of the Candyland ice cream section of the board, so she made sure to incorporate that into her walk.

“When I was wearing [the dress], I was thinking about how I’m kinda a fancy, ice cream queen, which influenced me to keep my head up high,” Sims said.

While this was her first interaction with the fashion show, because of how much she loved to be a part of it, Sims looks forward to being in it for the next two years.

Caption by Maya Tackett. Photo by Chloe Lewcock.

EYES ON THE PRIZE: Freshman Shayla Allen strikes a pose during Saturday’s show, displaying her sister, Tuana’s, own creations. Inspired to be in the fashion show, Allen attended the show last year, and was just happy to be in the audience.

“I was happy to do her a favor and model for her since she’s family,” Allen said.

Tuana’s designs were inspired by the theme Dreamland. One outfit depicted a nightmare, and Shayla’s outfit depicted a dream. Her idea behind Shayla’s was to come across as “flowy.”

“She asked me to be flowy when I walk because dreams are more delicate compared to nightmares, which can be more disturbing,” Allen said.

Preparing for many weeks leading up to the performance, Allen said the models were super nervous, but the designers less so.

“The designers were just excited to see who won,” she said. “But it’s funny how nervous people can get to be on stage for less than a minute.”

Caption by Priya Thoppil. Photo by Chloe Lewcock.

EMBRACING UNIQUE DESIGN: Taking part in this year’s fashion show, junior Logan Daves poses in an outfit made by friend and designer, senior Darin Fowler. This being Daves’ third time modeling, she went into it knowing what to expect but felt that this year was special.

“My first year was pretty terrifying to be honest, but now it’s just exciting,” Daves said. “[This year] I feel like my friends, and I had a stronger bond with everyone involved.”

Daves was expecting a look like hers due to being close to her designer, and trusts that people are aware of his style, helping bring her comfort in wearing a piece like it.

“My designer is really into creatures, and he was trying to recreate them through his looks,” Daves said. “I was honestly excited because of how out-of-the-box it is.”

For Daves, the show was more put together from better lighting to better music. Before the first show, she was slightly nervous but felt better once she got positive feedback from the crowd.

“I think it went pretty well, [it’s] always a bit hectic but that’s what makes it so fun.” Daves said.

Caption by Callen Romell. Photo by Chloe Lewcock.

A SHOW THAT’S ONE-OF-A-KIND: Junior and senior fashion show directors award former AV teacher and fashion show sponsor Ken Rogers with an appreciation plaque on Sunday. Junior director and designer Reyn Linder said Rogers has been a reliable presence throughout her two years with the fashion show.

“He has always been good at stepping back and letting us, the fashion directors and interns, run the show on our own, but also making sure to check in on us and always being there to help us out and keep us on track,” Linder said. “He always found time for us whenever we needed him.”

Linder said Rogers returning from retirement to help with the fashion show was a relief.

“Immediately when he started helping us again and joining us in meetings, it was like a weight lifted off all our shoulders because we had someone to keep us on track and help us figure out the things that we needed to get done,” Linder said.

As a junior director, Linder trained models, ran weekly meetings and helped backstage at both shows.

“As a director this year, I learned that it is so important to communicate what issues or problems you’re having before it’s too late,” Linder said. “In the beginning of the year, trying to plan out and run the fashion show without Mr. Rogers was definitely harder and caused stress. When we reached out to Mr. Rogers, and he decided to join us again this year to help us with the fashion show, it was a miracle.”

Linder placed third as a designer, showcasing a collection that taught her a valuable lesson.

“I learned that quality takes time and ideas take creativity,” Linder said. “Designing this year was hard because I was so focused on winning that I spent so much time trying to come up with a perfect idea but instead of thinking creatively, I just was thinking competitively. That ended in me making something that I wasn’t truly proud of and didn’t fully think represented me.”

Next year, as a senior director, Linder will have another chance to compete with her clothing creations. But she said that the 2024 fashion show was special.

“The fashion show this year just felt like it was so one-of-a-kind and so heartfelt,” Linder said. “Everyone in the fashion show becomes so close and you can really tell we all put so much effort and love into all the things we do for it.”

Caption by Ingrid Smith. Photo by Julia Copas.

This story was originally published on The Shield Online on February 20, 2024.