SIU fashion style scholar to showcase sustainability-influenced creations in runway present

Leslee Lunden Lofton, a senior majoring in style structure from Chicago, demonstrates off some of her creations as she functions toward SIU’s University student Showcase and Vogue Present on April 21. (Image by Russell Bailey)

Leslee Lunden Lofton is earning the most of an opportunity she saw in her possess closet. Influenced by her personal outdated clothes, clothes at nearby thrift merchants and an exertion towards sustainability, Lofton, a senior in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s manner style program, is repurposing apparel as she prepares to unveil her line at the Pupil Showcase and Runway Style Present, Thursday, April 21, in Pupil Center Ballroom D.

Upcycling, or repurposing old objects, is a craze in the trend market that has come to be extra common the previous handful of decades owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and worry more than the Earth’s setting, explained Lofton and Laura Kidd, an affiliate professor in the Faculty of Architecture and application director. Lofton’s 8-garment line, labeled Back-to-the-’90s: Thrift-it Version, is impressed by sitcoms Lofton viewed as a kid, like “The Fresh new Prince of Bel-Air,” “A Unique World” and “Sister, Sister.”

“Leslee  is accomplishing a assortment impressed by what I’ve required to see a designer do for a long time,” Kidd claimed. “She arrived up with an concept and was shopping for her clothes all summer time. She was obtaining tops and bottoms that nobody would like.

“It’s been great to check out her truly begin considering like a designer and thinking outside the box and coming up with remedies. Leslee has put a great deal of really hard operate into this.”

As Lofton, who graduated from Chicago Butler College Prep Superior School, not too long ago was tearing apart the seams on an outdated skirt that she hardly ever wore to transform it into a major, she explained the value of sustainability and cutting down waste.

“It’s a fantastic way to assist the world – reusing apparel to make something new,” she stated. “It begun in the summer, and over the summer months, I retained the similar topic. I invested a great deal of time looking at the cloth to see what I could do with it. I’m building a top rated that ended up shorts. I have to consider of various and innovative techniques to make something absolutely unique.”

The impending function marks the next in-human being trend demonstrate as component of SIU’s application she will take part in. As a system necessity, Lofton’s line will characteristic eight parts, with 8 products who are named for a character from one particular of the a few sitcoms. Designers are dependable for discovering their personal designs and work with them on fittings.

“There’s a little bit of tension to get almost everything completed,” Lofton explained. “It’s the course of action. I have to rate myself. But I’m at the ultimate aspect of every single garment, so there is not a full lot of pressure.”

Pandemic played a part

The pandemic prompted persons to embark on much more do-it-on your own assignments.

“When you are trapped in the property you uncover items to do the garments business has picked up that.

There is an explosion of recycling,” claimed Lofton, who returned to campus in drop 2021 for her senior yr just after investing most of the spring 2020 semester and all of her junior calendar year as an on-line pupil.

Kidd additional there have been discussions inside of the fashion market about reducing squander for a very long time, but that the pandemic speeded factors up.

“People began developing and building apparel from what they experienced, what they could locate, or they got tired of searching at two or a few garments in their closet, so they made the decision to blend them into one thing new,” Kidd said.

“And these more youthful designers, a large amount of them are quite considerate about the squander and making an attempt to reuse issues and sustainability.”

A key is ‘patience’

Lofton credits her grandmother with sparking her initial desire in outfits and style and design by having her to a couple sewing courses whilst in large college. She arrived to SIU’s program because it was very affordable and 1 of the number of Illinois faculties with a trend design program. SIU remains the only community college in Illinois that features fashion design as a different specialization.

While the exertion to structure and piece with each other substance into style can take a prolonged time, Lofton explained, the important is possessing endurance.

“You have to take pleasure in it,” Lofton claimed. Throughout the pandemic, she commenced earning masks for spouse and children and began offering them by phrase-of-mouth. That blossomed into her personal online garments business enterprise, Lunden Leslee, which Lofton designs to expand soon after she graduates in May. She would like to carry on generating personalized outfits utilizing thrift and sustainable substance.

Initially runway display in a few decades

Kidd famous that pupils are fired up to be ready to return to an in-particular person party. After the 2020 clearly show was canceled due to the pandemic, Kidd, who has supervised scholar designers given that 1997, opted for photograph shoots in spring 2021.

This 12 months, there will be displays of student work in the University student Center’s J.W. Corker Lounge and Ballroom C commencing at 6 p.m., which includes pupils from style merchandising, trend styling and interior designers. The show is free of charge and open to the public.

The runway vogue clearly show starts at 7 p.m., with 5 initially-calendar year learners who will every single existing a style and design titled, Dressed for Influence. People college students, with hometowns, are:


  • Carbondale: Nicole Robinson.
  • Chicago: Aniya Vaughns.
  • Herrin: Aaron Elliot.
  • South Elgin: Lisa Vasilopolous.


Two superior college students will present trend styles as aspect of a miniline collection. Those pupils, with hometowns and line, are:


  • Carbondale: Ingrid Hansen, Gothic Girls, a line of female gothic looks impressed by Victorian fashion and embellishments.
  • Elgin: Caroline Chwalisz, Sweet Pea Classic, a simple and female line utilizing warm autumn colors influenced by 1940s women’s fashions.

The system is established to undertake a title modify to fashion scientific studies setting up July 1, which Kidd reported will far better replicate its choices. It will sustain its a few specializations in style design, manner merchandising and fashion styling

For extra info on the style style and design plan, speak to Kidd at 618-453-1970 or [email protected].