The Shoals Designer Showcase, hosted by University of North Alabama fashion merchandising students, is 7 p.m. Thursday at Singin River Live venue on College Street. It’s the first fashion show hosted by the department in almost 10 years.
Laura McKee, an instructor in the Fashion Merchandising Department, said the show is a unique opportunity for students to learn about the fashion industry and see how a fashion show is put together.
It is also an opportunity for students to get to know fashion designers who have set up shop in the Shoals. Groups of students picked out clothes from acclaimed fashion designers Billy Reid and Alabama Chanin for the show.
Reid provided 10 women’s wear and 10 men’s wear ensembles, and 10 looks from Alabama Chanin will be showcased.
“I really enjoyed selecting the men’s pieces from Billy Reid,” said fashion merchandising student Carleigh Tally. “That surprised me because I thought I would enjoy the women’s clothing better.”
Fashion merchandising student Laura Scott said it is special to have designers of the caliber of Reid and Natalie Chanin of Alabama Chanin in the Shoals.
“Getting to see the beautifully done pieces at Alabama Chanin was pretty awesome,” she said.
The show will include a tribute to the late Marigail Mathis. McKee said they wanted to honor Mathis, who designed an original line of clothing for her stores in the 1990s. A longtime friend of Mathis provided some of those original pieces to be used in the show.
McKee said those pieces will be paired with new items from Marigail Mathis Fashion House to show a blend of the old and new.
“Initially, we thought about using the original designs just as they are, but a friend of Marigail’s told us she would have wanted to bring those looks up to date,” McKee said.
Colored denim, hand-painted jeans, tops and skirts from the 1990s Marigail Weekend collections were selected, and a group of three fashion merchandising students were at the store last week to pick the new pieces that will make up the outfits.
Store owner Amy Thomas said seeing the original pieces back in the store was a flashback to her childhood.
“What’s funny is I remember this stuff,” she said. “My mother shopped here so I grew up coming to the store and seeing these pieces.”