Marist Fashion Program Dazzles at Silver Needle Runway Show
May 16, 2022 – Hard work, dedication, and creativity were intricately woven into the many garments that were on display as the 36th Marist College Silver Needle Runway (SNR) Show lit up McCann Arena on May 6. Marist Fashion Program students showcased garments designed and realized in a runway setting with a large, cheering crowd in attendance.
SNR is the largest event production presented by Marist and features concepts brought to life by talented designers & future fashion leaders. Produced entirely by students of the School of Communications and the Arts, the presentation closes out the academic year with a community-wide celebration.
Held for the first time in McCann Arena with some 1,700 witnessing in person and thousands more tuning in virtually, this year’s SNR show’s event theme was Dream, meant to evoke a release from social stressors and give an opportunity to explore opportunities beyond current reality.
From the event stage, Marist College Fashion Program Director John Bartlett made reference to the extraordinary effort of the students and their focus on the important tenets of the program.
“These students are thinking about the world around them, from sustainability to body positivity from diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging to gender identity,” said Bartlett. “These young people are approaching the fashion industry through the lens of social justice and I find that incredibly inspiring and comforting.”
Twenty-four student designers participated, with more than three dozen Fashion Show Production class students involved in the stunning production. The Marist College Dance Ensemble and the Marist College Orchestra also performed.
Jennifer Finn, Fashion Program Department Chair at Marist, added that the program has received a number of significant recent recognitions. “The Marist Fashion Program has much to be proud of this year. Despite challenges faced from the pandemic, our enrollment remains strong,” she said. “It’s been an exciting year, as our Fashion Program students have seen success in significant national competitions.”
Marist has had national finalists in the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) Liz Claiborne Design for Impactful Futures Scholar and Design for Justice Scholar Awards. Marist also had seven students honored as Class of 2022 Scholars of the Fashion Scholarship Fund, the foremost fashion-oriented education nonprofit in the country. Within the National Retail Federation Foundation, Marist had two National Semi-Finalists for the 2022 Next Generation Scholarship, and a National Semi-Finalist team for the Student Challenge Case Study competition.
The Fashion Program at Marist, within the School of Communication and the Arts, prepares its students to enter the world of fashion and pursue careers in merchandising, planning, product development, retailing, operations, fashion promotion, event production, and other employment opportunities. Students gain the skills, knowledge and experiences within an encouraging academic environment to help them flourish in the fashion industry.
“The School of Communication and the Arts is a very special place: we are an innovative, experiential, creative, and rigorous academic school with programs in Art and Digital Media, Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, Film, Television, Games and Emerging and Interactive Media, Music, the Media Center, and last but not least Fashion Design and Merchandising,” said Dr. Jacqueline Reich, Dean of the School of Communication and the Arts. “We work to foster an inclusive and engaged community of industry experts and research faculty dedicated to student success,” she said.
Dr. Reich also thanked the distinguished guests in the crowd including Marist College President Dr. Kevin Weinman and the members of the President’s Cabinet, fellow Deans and the staff at the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
“The Fashion Program is a true gem here at Marist College,” said President Weinman. “Our students leave here prepared to thrive in the Fashion industry for two reasons. First, they pour themselves into their design and merchandising classes, internships and projects, learning from the very best. Secondly, they do so within the context of the liberal arts, developing critical thinking skills that will make them well-rounded professionals.”
Ava Grand ’22 (center) accepts the award for Designer of the Year at SNR 36 from Fashion Program Director John Bartlett (far right)
Ava Grand ’22 took the award for Designer of the Year. Her collection, Retreat, brings awareness to sustainability by reusing bags from the fast-fashion brand Shein. Grand has also explored using platforms such as TikTok to build a community with her followers and share her message.
“Making this journey, starting four years ago, coming to Marist, I sat in this gym,” said Grand, reflecting back upon receiving the award. “I wanted this to be my future and here I am today and so proud of everyone I’ve worked with to make this happen,” she said.
Launched in 1984, SNR has continued to heighten levels of expertise, professionalism, and creativity in fashion each year. See more on the work of all student designers involved in the SNR show here or, watch the live stream below.