Paris Fashion Week may officially be a wrap, but fashion week is just getting started in the Kansas City area. Models will strut down the runway in the latest styles for Kansas City Fashion Week’s 10th season, featuring collections from four Johnson County Community College students.
“It has always been very important to us to showcase student designers that are just starting their careers in the fashion industry,” said Teisha Barber, president of the Fashion Week program, which starts Sunday, Oct. 9. “We feel that giving the students an opportunity to show an entire collection on the runway, alongside seasoned designers, only propels them to the next level.”
Designers Roger Figueroa, Kiana Godsey, Munisa Khuramova, and Tiffany Brown are all participating in Kansas City Fashion Week and all are enrolled in the Fashion Merchandising & Design program at the community college. Students in the two-year associate degree program learn industry and technical standards to prepare for a career in apparel design and retail business.
“I knew I wanted to go to a smaller school to practice my skills and learn the basics,” said Figueroa about his decision to attend college here out of all the colleges he looked at nationwide.
“I knew if I came to Johnson County, I would be very involved in the fashion scene in Kansas City.,” he said. “Participating in Kansas City is an honor because it’s building my portfolio and I like how Kansas City Fashion Week is creating this new fashion scene in the Midwest.”
Jill Lapping, an adjunct assistant professor and the owner of My Heirloom Bridal, said more fashion design students from the college are attracted to the local fashion week program as it grows and spotlights the fashion industry in the area. Lapping teaches pattern drafting and draping. She is able to advise the students hoping to be chosen for Kansas City Fashion Week as she was a designer featured in previous seasons of the event.
“I talk about KCFW a lot and I’ve had several students come through my classes so I think they’ve become a little more aware of the show,” Lapping said. “I think the fashion scene in general for the city is growing. There’s a lot of support for local artists and designers.”
Getting your designs on the runway for the event is competitive.
Johnson County Community College students are competing with designers from around the world in all stages of their careers. About 60 to 80 designers apply to participate in the show each season. The applicants are narrowed down to a group that the Fashion Week committee meets for interviews where they pitch ideas with sketches and actual garments.
Of those applicants, 32 local, regional, national, and international designers are chosen.
The fashion event has grown significantly since it debuted in 2012. This will be the seventh consecutive season held at Union Station. The show outgrew its three previous venues.
This season’s show features a full week of events and collaborations with the Kansas City Chiefs and local in-store shopping events.
“KCFW is a good experience and good for networking,” said Kiana Godsey, who is participating in the show for the second time.
Both Godsey and Figueroa plan to transfer to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York after completing their associate degrees.
“I came to JCCC to learn the basics,” Godsey said. “I feel like I’ve learned a lot. When I go to the (Fashion Institute), I’ll already be ahead.”
Kansas City Fashion Week shows one season ahead so all the students will be showing spring/summer collections. Khuramova and Brown will showcase their collections Wednesday, Oct., 12.
“TRBrown” is Brown’s ready to wear brand that will feature statement pieces at an affordable price.
Khuramova said the 22 pieces in her collection were inspired by the sea and lionfish. “I’m very excited,” she said. “Seeing your collection on the runway is a huge deal. I’m a big lover of spikes so you will see that in my collection.”
Primary colors, laser cut fabrics, and hand painted garments inspired by Catholic church stained glass make up Figueroa’s collection. Godsey’s collection is inspired by architecture in France. Look for gold and pastel pinks and blues when her designs take to the runway along with Figueroa’s on Thursday, Oct. 13. .
About Kansas City Fashion Week
▪ The event starts Sunday, Oct. 9, and runs through Saturday, Oct. 15. Most of events are held at Union Station.
▪ Showtimes and tickets are available at kcfashionweek.com.