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For Fashion Design Students, the Silver Needle Runway Show Must Go On

The 33rd Silver Needle Runway in 2019 featured the designs of senior fashion students at Marist College shown on a traditional runway. The 2020 show is a virtual event. Photo courtesy of Marist Fashion Program.

Tune in to YouTube Friday, May 8, for fashion and sewing inspiration from an up-and-coming group of designers. Senior fashion design students at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, are showcasing their efforts from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the virtual Silver Needle Runway show.

The two-part, documentary-style virtual SNR focuses first on how the college’s biggest event was produced, says Ashley Camuso, the Marist fashion program’s student communications director. Then it features the work of 21 senior designers at Marist.

“The audience will get to see the concepts that inspired the designs and view fabric, trims, and garment details in a more intimate way than our traditional runway format,” Ashley says.

A fitting theme

The school’s fashion program has turned its 34th annual SNR into a virtual event after the COVID-19 pandemic forced Marist officials to close campus and switch to online-only spring semester classes. This year’s show theme is “Awaken.” 

“Though chosen long before the pandemic, the theme is oddly fitting for society’s current situation,” Ashley says. “All around the world, people are waking up to a new reality. It’s all about how, in times like this, people are truly awakened to what’s important.” 

More than a fashion show

Tune in before 7 p.m. for the day-long Watch Party leading up to the show. Prospective and current Marist students—and the public—can attend “SNR in Conversation,” three panels hosted by the Fashion Show Production class on WebEx.

There’s also “Sip + Stream with SNR,” a virtual mocktail hour, featuring a mixology class led by Lolita’s, a pizza restaurant near the college.

Virtual SNR will also be featured on FF Channel.

Going virtual

33rd annual Silver Needle Runway in 2019
In May, 2019, the 33rd annual Silver Needle Runway finale showcased the work of senior student designers in a traditional fashion show. The 34th annual show switched to an online-only format due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo courtesy of the Marist fashion program.


Roles changed dramatically for the 35 students in the Marist Fashion Production course after SNR’s in-person show had to be scrapped. But the class, divided into three teams of students, prioritized promotion of the event through social media channels, Ashley explains.

“Whether it’s takeovers from members of the SNR Quaranteam (as they have been unofficially named), styling comfy day-of-show rental looks through their Rent the Runway partnership, producing their SNR podcast through Zoom and Adobe Audition, or working with live-stream sites to launch the show, they have been utilizing technology in innovative ways,” she says

There will be no awards this year. However, there will be virtual senior thesis presentations, giving senior designers the opportunity to get constructive feedback from industry pros regarding their collections. Judges for the virtual senior thesis presentations are: Catherine Carnevale, creative director of Eleven Six; Sophia Tezel-Tzelepis, principal/creative director of Sophia IS LLC; Francesca Liberatore, founder of Francesca Liberatore; Scott Miller, vice president of design at Perry Ellis; Rita Nakouzi, editorial director at The RealReal; and Lisa Kulson, founder of Kulson Design Group.

SNR34 Watch Party schedule

1 p.m. – 3 p.m. “SNR in Conversation,” a three-panel event hosted by the Fashion Show Production class on Webex.

1 p.m.-1:45 p.m. From Concept to Completion with the Creative Team

2 p.m.- 2:45 p.m. Backstage and Personal with the Production Team

3 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Pitch, Follow-Up, and Repeat! With the Communications Team

6 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. “Sip + Stream with SNR,” a virtual mocktail hour on @maristfashion, Instagram, and Facebook, which features a mixology class led by Lolita’s Pizza of Poughkeepsie, New York.

6:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. SNR kickoff, an introduction on Webex with Marist President Dennis Murray; Dean Lyn Lepre of the School of Communications and the Arts; and Fashion Department Director John Bartlett. 

7 p.m. – 8 p.m. “Virtual SNR,” an inside look at the making of SNR34 on the Marist site.

8 p.m. – 9 p.m. “Virtual SNR Take 2,” a senior designer showcase, also on the Marist site.

Follow @maristfashion for updates on the documentary-style Silver Needle Runway show.


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