A behind the scenes of the annual Ritchie Fashion Show and Exhibition from a designer’s perspective


Although this was the first year of the Ritchie Fashion Show and Exhibition, for five years previous the fashion show was titled Moscowrade. Moscowrade was a fashion show that showcased both the community and the students” work, whereas this year at RFSE it was just the Apparel, Textiles, and Design students that had their garments displayed.

Claire Kennell Rawr

Claire Kennell

This was my third year participating in the show as a model, but my first show as a designer as well. My fashion peers and I had been working on the show since the beginning of the school year, even though most people didn”t know about the show until two months ago.

The students were working incredibly hard to put on this show for Moms” Weekend, and overall it was a success, but behind the scenes of any show can be stressful. I am incredibly proud of my talented peers for being so wonderful and putting on an amazing show.  

The few previous weeks before the fashion show, a lot of the designers were in our studio of most hours during the day working on garments for the show. I would go up to the studio and see the same few people that I saw in the studio every day working their fingers to the bone. (For anyone who has never sewn or created a garment before, it is beyond tedious and frustrating work). The students worked night and day for weeks prior and then the final days leading up to the show, the studio was packed with excited fashion majors.

The morning of the show, at about 8 a.m., I went up to the studio to meet with the fellow committee members and help set up. We pulled garments from the historic costume collection to set up as a display in the front of the show room. It was difficult because we had to find dress forms that fit in the dresses from 1919-1920, because the women back then were tiny. We wrestled with the dress forms and finally we found some from the collection itself that fit. We had model rehearsals, and every model in the show worked incredibly well together. Seeing how we hadn”t had a meeting with the models and the designers together before the day of the show, things worked out incredibly well in our favor.

Backstage, it was chaotic with all the quick changes and people running back and forth to get in the model line before their queue, but everything worked out in the end. Everyone worked incredibly hard to put the show together and I”m exceedingly happy that I got to be a part of it for the third year in a row, this time, as both a model and a designer.

Claire Kennell can be reached at  arg-arts@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @ClaireKennell

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