Students collab on first BJU fashion design show

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Students collab on first BJU fashion design show

Kamibayashiyama films junior Esther John modeling a fashion piece. Photo: Gabriela Gaduh

Students in three University departments are collaborating to present Bob Jones University’s first-ever fashion design senior show to feature live models wearing the students’ showpieces in March 2021.

BJU is the only Christian university on the East Coast with a fashion design program, said Anna Pretlove, an assistant professor for fashion design. Pretlove is proud of the work her students have put in to make the show possible. “These students have blown me away. The vision coming to life is beautiful,” Pretlove said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of students to do the show with.”

Inspiration for the promotional videos of the show came about as Cierrah-Brooke Kato, a senior fashion design major, was talking with Pretlove, and Joseph Sell, another senior fashion design major. Kato said, “My initial idea was a simple, cute video for us to take home after we graduated.” However, as the three continued talking, the idea grew larger and larger until it became a project that would necessitate collaboration. “I was determined to create a promotional video for the senior show and short vignettes of the designers showcasing their personality and skills,” Kato said.

Kato pitched her idea to a friend of hers in the cinema department, senior cinema major Mark Kamibayashiyama, and after receiving approval from faculty, Kamibayashiyama took the lead in making Kato’s dream a reality. “Mark did a great job taking lead of the whole project and bringing a solid team together, pairing each designer with a videographer,” Kato said.

Senior Sam Hixson directs a model. Photo: Mark Kamibayashiyama

Kamibayashiyama said this project has been unique because it was student-initiated and student-run. The scheduling and collaboration have been up to the students as they coordinate photoshoots and cinematography for seven different designers and the friends they have specifically asked to model their designs. The cinema students are not receiving extra credit for their work with this project. However, Kamibayashiyama said he considers the project like his second senior film.

Kato said, “This whole experience has taught me the importance of networking and working with others.” As a result of reaching out to one person, Kato said she was brought into contact with so many other people. “I’ve learned how to communicate my ideas and creativity more effectively,” Kato said. “[This project] forced me to come prepared and present my ideas directly and confidently.”

Senior design students asked their friends to model their designs.

Sell said his work has been bettered by the input from Pretlove and through gaining appreciation for others’ work while working with them. “If I was designing my work in a vacuum it would be really different,” Sell said.

One goal for this project—other than to celebrate the designers and their senior shows—was to promote the fashion design program at BJU and encourage more people to get involved with the major. Pretlove said the fashion industry is a mission field and more people should see it that way. “My deepest goal is to imbed a Christian worldview and foundation in the students so they can take their talent and use it for God’s glory,” Pretlove said.

The students are thankful for the support of the faculty as they have progressed towards this capstone. Kato said, “The faculty has been so encouraging throughout this whole process. Miss Pretlove has been a shoulder to cry on, a wise mentor and an incredible teacher whom I owe a lot of my success to.”

What began as a simple conversation in the sewing lab has taken form as an interdisciplinary collaborative masterpiece.

“The coolest part about fashion design is seeing our sketches become a reality,” Kato said. “We get to hold, wear and style our art. I love all my fashion friends, and I can’t wait to see our looks standing next to each other.”