2017 Katwalk takes a fresh turn

President Becky Roloff '76 and Mark Roloff MAT '88

President Becky Roloff '76 and Mark Roloff MAT '88 were among the enthusiastic sold-out audience at Katwalk. Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10, By Rebecca Studios LLC.

The 14 graduating seniors in the St. Kate’s Apparel, Merchandising and Design (AMD) program distinguished themselves beyond just their record-setting number this spring.

The group turned an innocent question from President Roloff – “could you make me something purple?” into a client-driven capsule collection that was unveiled at the student-led Fashion Association’s annual showcase, Katwalk, May 18. President Roloff commissioned the students to create four looks for her and covered the costs of the designs, as well as donated to the student club.

Anupama Pasricha, AMD department chair and professor, invited Roloff to class for a discussion about her aesthetic and preferences – from fabrics to zippers vs buttons to what designers she currently favors.

“It was a great opportunity and challenge for students,” said Pasricha. “Fitting a real body, delivering a quality product and making sure the client is happy gave our students a real world experience.”

Students took up the challenge with enthusiasm, creating sketches, fabric swatches and even a Pinterest board to fine tune their interpretations of the President’s aesthetic. The fabrics and colors were inspired by distinguishing elements of St. Catherine University, including the rose window in Our Lady of Victory Chapel.

Once their client weighed in, adjunct professor Carol Mager helped students to take the President’s measurements and create the looks in muslin to fine tune fitting and style choices. Final fittings were done about a month later.

The evening of Katwalk, in front of an appreciative throng, the president was the first down the runway to model one of the looks in the capsule collection that designers and Roloff titled, Emergence. Incorporating modern, classic and yet bold silhouettes, the collection embraced Roloff’s emerging role as President of St. Kate’s with a quintessential style.

“Katwalk was one of this year’s student highlights for me,” said Roloff. “The creativity, energy and drive they brought to the fashion design process showed on the runway and in the quality of the looks they displayed.”

The sold out event also featured a VIP reception with President Roloff (where she wore a cocktail dress from the Emergence collection) and was followed by a dessert reception and opportunity for a close-up view of the evenings’ designs.