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Dominican fashion students strut stuff for annual show

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Edyta Brewniak can’t imagine any career other than apparel merchandising.

“I love fashion and I want to work in the business side of it,” said Brewniak, 22, of Chicago, a senior majoring in apparel merchandising and minoring in business administration at Dominican University in River Forest.

“I was raised around it,” she said. “I’m always going to be around it. I don’t like studying anything else. I just feel comfortable doing it and comfortable being around it.”

Dominican apparel instructors chose Brewniak as director of the extremely popular, entirely student-run 2014 senior fashion show, which was presented twice on March 29 and once on March 30.

With a management training position already lined up at Nordstrom in Colorado this summer, Brewniak jumped at the opportunity to run the show. But managing a two-day event that required working with 16 fellow seniors was no cakewalk.

“It’s stressful,” she said. “It’s just a lot of work because you’re dealing with 16 different girls. They’re all really creative and their opinions are really strong about everything. Being able to bring everybody’s opinions together was a lot of back and forth between what everybody wanted and what I wanted in the show.”

Seniors presented their individual collections, but altogether about 55 students presented 96 garments.

“The best part was the behind-the-scenes footage,” Brewniak said. “Interviews with the seniors were projected throughout the show. The audience got a feel for who the seniors are.”

The class of 2014 chose the theme “REVEAL: Our Moment in Fashion” to reflect and interpret their journey and to represent their growth as a group and as individuals, said Melissa Carr, associate professor of apparel design and merchandising, the faculty sponsor for the show.

“It’s a lot of work for 17 students,” Carr said. “It’s amazing to see what they create. For example, there is even a music committee that has to secure all the rights to use the music in the show. They do it all.”

Carr teaches the merchandising side of the Dominican fashion curriculum, while lecturer McKinley Johnson teaches design, Carr said.

During their senior year, both merchandising and design majors take the apparel seminar, in which they work one day a week on their portfolios and one day a week preparing for the March fashion show, she said.

“They have to hit the ground running,” Carr said. “They have a textbook about how to put a fashion show together. Each student talks about the different steps needed, about models — what they need and where to find them — and backstage and set design. They do it all themselves.”

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