Kent State School of Fashion Reimagines Fashion Show

Kent State Fashion Annual Fashion Show 2.0 April 24, 2020It’s no surprise that with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kent State University’s School of Fashion realized it had a huge job to replace the annual Fashion Show and invent and implement a memorable, interactive experience that would celebrate its senior designers and merchandising students.

With much anticipation, the School of Fashion announced the refashioning of the 2020 Fashion Show into Fashion Show 2.0. This completely virtual extravaganza highlights the hard work of senior design and merchandising students, all of whom worked toward this moment throughout their four years in the School of Fashion. The event took place on Friday, April 24, with a special premier at 7 p.m. on the Kent State Annual Fashion Show Instagram account and via the school’s YouTube channel

A look from Isabella Diorio's Best in Show award-winning collection in Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Emily Warfield.Fashion Show 2.0 embodies an eclectic assortment of styles, materials, concepts and processes of completed garments. The format showcases the work of 45 student designers, which were personally selected (prior to COVID-19 pandemic) by a panel of industry critics to be displayed on the runway in the original live show. More than 140 looks are featured throughout the event – all designed by seniors.

“We remain committed to celebrating the creative talent of our students and the support from our wide network of family, friends, donors, sponsors and alumni,” said Louise Valentine, Ph.D., director of Kent State’s School of Fashion. “We will also be dedicating the show to the memory of Isabel Toledo, fashion designer who passed away in 2019.”

Designer Toledo, who worked very closely with husband and artist Ruben, became highly recognized after designing a suit for First Lady Michelle Obama for President Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration ceremony.

In addition, the annual Hall of Fame award was virtually awarded to STOLL. A leader of innovative flat-knitting machine technology for more than 145 years, STOLL is known for its strong reputation in the fashion industry and has played an integral part in the creation of the School of Fashion’s KnitLAB.

“Through STOLL, we have the unique ability to provide state-of-the-art knitting machines for students to use,” said Professor Linda Ohrn-McDaniel, overseer of the school’s KnitLAB who is helping to lead the charge on knit education and knit technology at the university. “These machines allow students to acquire the skills to create and innovate through knitted textiles.”

Viewers can expect to see a bright, fast-paced, revealing look at each student’s unique, personal style, creativity and inspiration. Interspersed throughout the show are messages of encouragement and congratulations from designers representing a myriad of fashion brands in the fashion industry, alumni and donors. 

A trio of looks from Bianca Oliver's People's Choice award-winning collection in Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Angela Lavrisiuk. 

Fashion Show 2.0 was co-produced by senior merchandising students Joshua Hoffman and Rosie Gray. The faculty team is led by Sue Yoder and Joanne Arnett and supported by Kim Hahn, Ph.D., Chanjuan Chen, Krissi Riewe and Ohrn-McDaniel.

For information and updates about the show, follow Kent State Fashion and Kent State Annual Fashion Show on Instagram. More details can be found on the School of Fashion’s fashion show webpage. 


2020 Award Winners

Best in Show Award  - Isabella Diorio

Sponsored by Peg’s Foundation 


Draping Award - Payton Prindle

Sponsored by Ms. Roe Green


Eveningwear Award - Brianna Genthe

Sponsored by Ms. Roe Green


Flat Pattern Award - Bin Zhou

Sponsored by Ms. Andrea E. Senich


Knitwear Award - Helen Legg

Sponsored by STOLL


Most Market Ready Award - Morgan Arena

Sponsored by Mr. Kenneth Robinson


People’s Choice Award - Bianca Oliver

Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Ken & Karen Conley


Sportswear Award - Zachary Tatoczenko

Sponsored by Janet E. Dix, Ph.D. & Mr. David E. Dix


SUEDEsays™ Award - Aleksandra Laurenzo

Sponsored by Stephen Whitney Baum


Sustainable Practice Award - Sage Dye

Sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Daniel & Andrea Steger


TechStyleLAB Award - Holly Gustafson

Sponsored by Mr. Kenneth Robinson


Visit the Annual Fashion Show's Instagram for photos of the winning collections!

About Kent State University’s School of Fashion

Established in 1983 as the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising at Kent State University, the school was named an Ohio Center of Excellence by the state Board of Regents (now the Ohio Department of Higher Education) and is a member institution of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), International Foundation of Fashion Technology Institutes (IFFTI) and National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). The school has consistently rated among the best fashion institutions in the U.S. and worldwide. It was most recently ranked in the top 25 fashion programs in the world by Fashionista, and is ranked the No. 3 fashion merchandising school in the U.S. and the No. 4 fashion design school in the U.S. For more information about Kent State’s School of Fashion, visit




LOOK 1: A look from Isabella Diorio's Best in Show award-winning collection in Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Emily Warfield.

LOOK 2:  A trio of looks from Bianca Oliver's People's Choice award-winning collection in Fashion Show 2.0. Photo by Angela Lavrisiuk. 


Media Contacts:

Brittani Peterson
Marketing Associate
Kent State School of Fashion

Effie Tsengas
Communications and Marketing Director
Kent State University College of the Arts

POSTED: Monday, April 20, 2020 - 2:05pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 6:10pm
School of Fashion