By Douglas M. Campbell
In Cushwa Hall down the corridor in room 3336, an adjunct merchandising fashion and interiors instructor, Jennifer Frank, and fashion students are making plans for a bigger, better and more fabulous 2021 EveryBODY fashion show.
The show will occur at 6 p.m. on April 28. Frank is returning for her third non-consecutive year in charge of the show which is moving from the Chestnut room in Kilcawley Center to the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre.
“We’ve had several conversations with President Tressel about whether we would be able to have a show and we are very blessed that he is on-board with an outdoor location,” Frank said.
The show promotes inclusivity for all ages, sexualities and body-types. The show is dedicated to Danielle Peters, a former merchandising, fashion and interiors student of Youngstown State University. Peters died due to complications from bulimia in the summer of 2012.
The production for this year’s show began in October 2020.
“We definitely had to do a big pivot and switch to an outdoor venue so that everyone can feel safe in attending and participating and we’ve been really fortunate that everything has been coming together,” Frank said.
Nursing students at the amphitheater entrance will ensure guests will follow Ohio Department of Health guidelines. They will take the temperatures of guests, enforce masks to be worn for the show and assigned seating.
Frank said challenges for the show this semester included adjusting communication to some models and guest speakers afraid to return due to the pandemic.
Gabriele Coggins, a senior accounting student, works double-duty as a hair and makeup artist and model. She was a student for the canceled 2020 fashion show and said the virus has made some people hesitant.
“As far as I know, I think that it’s only just getting people comfortable with a mass gathering even though there’s going to be a lot of social distancing and people being outside and everyone will have masks on, the idea that everything we have been going through and recovering our numbers from the COVID,” Coggins said.
Sarah Ketchum, a senior fashion merchandising major, works as a co-producer for the show and her duties include organizing the show and preparing invitations. This is her second non-consecutive year involved with the show. She was going to be a model for the 2020 show and has since moved behind the scenes.
“I really like the production of fashion shows, seeing behind the scenes and really getting to see what goes into a fashion show and what it takes,” Ketchum said.
Ketchum feels they will be able to advertise the show better due to the larger outdoor venue which is expected to draw in a bigger crowd.
To cater refreshments, Frank recruited Travon Eley and Anthony Petrovich, as they aspire to [get into] the food truck industry. For the show, they will serve mozzarella sticks, fried risotto balls and fried vegetables.
The show has recruited around 100 models and is now in the collaboration process of assembling outfits together with the help of T.J. Maxx in Boardman.
Devon Biggs, a junior communications major, has modeled for the EveryBODY fashion show for three years. He believes confidence is key when it comes to modeling.
“It’s a confidence thing,” Biggs said. “You just have to prepare yourself to be confident and know people are there to see you and want to see you at your best, so you just have to prepare yourself. Make sure you are walking at the right speed, that you are doing what you need to do and that you come out confident and as your best self.”
Gavin Haus, a 7-year-old model, has been modeling for the EveryBODY fashion show for three years. He got involved with the show because his father served as a model. He believes practice is the best way to prepare to model.
“We can practice some of the moves that I am going to do when I walk out. I can slick my hair or put my hands on my hips or do something,” Haus said.
Models will walk the runway one at a time and will have to wear a mask until it is their turn to walk.
Frank encourages people to come out to the show on April 28 and have a good time.
“Please don’t feel like you can’t come out and have a safe time. We are going to have a safe, fun event for everyone,” Frank said.