It might not be New York Fashion Week, but for these senior designers at Buffalo State College, the stakes are just as high.
For months, students have been planning and preparing for "Runway 12."
The process starts in the fall semester, where 25 designers show off their ideas, but only 15 are selected for the spring semester class.
The students' final collections are then juried, but just nine seniors' designs will hit the catwalk come Saturday. They’ll be competing for a cash prize of $1,000 and a spread in Buffalo Spree Magazine.
"'Runway' is one of the most incredible applied learning experiences that I think a student here in our program will go through,” said the show’s faculty director, Erin Habes. “We try to teach them the level of professionalism and I think they grow as designers.”
In the hours and minutes before the show, and with just weeks until graduation, these student designers feel confident to enter the highly competitive industry.
"All my four years of college have definitely been leading up to this show,” said designer Kiarra Jordan. “We have classes like, for example, we have 110 where we learn about what we're about to be making in 328 and it's literally just a ripple effect of every single class from freshman year to now so it's definitely a wow, like I can actually do this now with all these courses that I took.”
The theme for the 12th year of the show is reawakening, with each designer interpreting it a different way.
“I'm paying homage to Africa the motherland and while I'm doing that I'm reawakening my roots, I'm teaching people about my history, bringing it into everyday wear so they can understand even though this is cultural, this is her history we can still learn about it and we can wear it too," Jordan said.
Others are using fashion to raise awareness on issues like ocean pollution.
"My collection is inspired by motifs throughout the ocean so like the shape of seashells and jellyfish and those sorts of animals,” said designer Jordan Stover. “For my styling, I'll be incorporating plastic can holder things throughout the hair to kind of give the look of mermaids that have gotten tangled in the pollution on their way out of the water.”
In addition to designers, there's also student producers, directors, marketers stylists and models making the show come to life.
"We work together to put this show on, it's different prints, different colors, different meanings, different personalities and we all come together to put this show together and that is 'Runway 12'," Jordan said.
The show at 8 p.m. Saturday is sold out, but tickets are still available for the show at 3 p.m. They can be purchased online or at the door.