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A weekly look at creativity, arts, and culture in southwest Michigan, hosted by Zinta Aistars.Fridays in Morning Edition at 7:50am and at 4:20pm during All Things Considered.

Art Beat: Passion for fashion

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courtesy photo
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Samantha Morehead

She has a passion for fashion. Ever since she’s been dressing her Barbie dolls as a little girl, Western Michigan University student Samantha Morehead has loved putting together clothing designs. With Western’s inaugural New York Fashion Week Competition, Morehead’s fashion designs were rewarded. She is the first prize winner, with an award of a trip to one of the world’s best-known catwalks.

“First round, you had to submit a resume,” Morehead says. “You had to submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, transcripts, and also two written statements of why you would be a good representative for the University, and also how this would help your career goals.”

A conversation with Samantha Morehead

Fifteen people submitted to the competition, Morehead says. Six students were chosen to move on to the second round of the competition. In that round, competitors had to design a line of three to five pieces of tailgate apparel for Western’s students—and Morehead won first prize.

“My take on that was to take the brown-eyed Susan, which is Western’s flower and the reason why we are brown and gold,” Morehead says. “I tied that into my collection. I reworked our logo and incorporated that brown-eyed Susan into it. I also took different elements of Western and what I see students wear to tailgates.”

Morehead passed out a survey to students to ask about their likes and dislikes in apparel, and one element she found was that students enjoyed vintage clothing, something she kept in mind in her designs.

“As someone who has always grown up admiring fashion … my goal is to work in the fashion industry after I graduate,” Morehead says. “I remember sitting on the call [to tell me I won], and I remember tearing up a bit, never thinking that when I came to Western that that would be even remotely close to an opportunity.”

It was the first time the Clarkston, Michigan, native would visit New York City, let alone a renown fashion show. She will graduate in April 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in fashion design.

"I'm a first-generation college student. My family is ecstatic," adds Morehead. "My dad was emotional and in disbelief. Having this opportunity on behalf of the University is astounding; I'm still in shock.”

The experience is a collaboration between Western; Collegiate Licensing Company, the University's trademark and licensing agency; and global event, fashion and sport leader IMG. Morehead joined a select group of about 20 students from colleges nationwide in a special behind-the-scenes tour of New York Fashion Week, which ran in February 2022.

Listen to WMUK's Art Beat every Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 4:20 p.m.

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