WSU fashion show celebrates the journey of student artisans

AMDT student Yale Bonnet going through stacks of penciled patterns sorted on a table.
Yale Bonnet leafs through penciled patterns in the AMDT student studio, preparing a final presentation for his senior collection. “Artisan,” the 41st AMDT Fashion Show, presents the work of 14 senior designers; more than 70 models will bring the collections to life.

Seven months of student craft, creativity, and care will go into “Artisan,” the 41st annual Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles (AMDT) Fashion Show, taking place this Friday, April 5, at Beasley Coliseum.

Part of Family Weekend at Washington State University’s Pullman campus, the show celebrates the work of nearly 30 student designers. More than 70 volunteer models will walk the runway in 56 garments created by 14 seniors vying for top awards. Behind the scenes, a class of 15 students has worked since September to organize the runway show, which will be emceed by Chris Clarke, a WSU assistant professor of economics and TikTok content creator.

“‘Artisan’ fits what we do: cut, sew, and create from scratch to show our artistic and creative ability through design,” said senior Yale Bonnet. 

Senior Yale Bonnet shows a skeletal design laser-etched into corduroy.
Senior Yale Bonnet shows a skeletal design laser-etched into corduroy, an example of the effects using in his couture streetwear collection, “City Beat,” made for the 41st AMDT Fashion Show. The show returns to Beasley Coliseum Friday, April 5.

For show advisor and AMDT Assistant Professor Yini Chen, the big night is a celebration of AMDT students’ abilities and how far they have come.

“It’s the Super Bowl of our program,” she said. “It promotes AMDT and lets people know we’re one of the best fashion programs in the country. Everyone brings their passion and dedicates their greatest efforts to make a successful show.”

For both designers and organizers, the show represents years of work and is the culmination of classroom and studio lessons.

“Some of our seniors have been thinking about these collections since their freshman year,” said stage manager Shelby Smith, a senior merchandising student.

The artisanal theme was selected through a vote among senior designers.

“Artisans were highly regarded for their skilled techniques that were passed down generation to generation,” said designer ZoyaAnastasia DuChene. For her formal wear collection, “Mosaic,” DuChene reflected on themes from her own heritage: Greek and Italian on her father’s side, South Asian and Chamorro on her mother’s.

“A mosaic takes pieces from different sources to create a beautiful masterpiece,” she said. “I want to promote the beauty of multiculturalism and inspire people to learn about their own histories.”

DuChene’s sister, WSU microbiology major MiaConstance, will bring the designs to life onstage as a volunteer model.

“I’ve been fascinated to learn about our family’s ethnicities and where our lineage began,” she said.

Bonnet, from Seattle, was inspired by hip-hop and urban aesthetics to create “City Beat,” a collection of bespoke streetwear for men and women. He learned to laser-etch for the collection, burning floral patterns and skeletal designs into corduroy and denim.

“I am mimicking what I would like to wear every day,” Bonnet said. He gravitated to a creative career thanks in part to parents who work in the apparel industry. “I also have a passion for barbering, and at some point, would like to mesh it with fashion.”

“Artisan” draws broadly from AMDT’s parent College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS): VIP swag bags will contain honey bottled by members of the Entomology Club and made by WSU bees. Sips of wine at the show’s wine garden will be served by members of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. The field of apparel itself touches many CAHNRS disciplines, from economics to agriculture.

“We really wanted to encapsulate the CAHNRS spirit,” Smith said.

The AMDT Fashion Show is 7 p.m. Friday, April 5, at Beasley Coliseum. Tickets are $25 pre-show, $35 at the door. A $60 VIP ticket includes a swag bag with a complimentary drink ticket, T-shirt, hat, and WSU honey. A wine and beer garden opens at 5 p.m.

Ticket sales fund the current show and future AMDT fashion shows, providing AMDT students with a career-building learning experience.

Find tickets at ticketswest.com and at the WSU CUB. For VIP tickets, contact Yini Chen at yini.chen@wsu.edu. Learn more about the designers and the event on the AMDT Fashion Show Instagram.

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