The Cornell Fashion Collective’s 40th Annual Spring Runway Show in Barton Hall featured the work of 54 student designers.

Fashion show spotlights innovation, rigor, growth

For Nina Pofcher ’24, her collection for the 2024 Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC) Runway Show – “I’m Still a Kid!”– encapsulated the transition from childhood to young adulthood to post-grad independence, with all the lessons, wrinkles and surprises sewn in between.

“When I look at my pieces, they make me laugh or smile,” said Pofcher, who used embroidery and knitwear to illustrate different stages of her life, from a whimsical Raggedy Ann doll look to a fitted sweater-vest knit with the message, “Fortune favors the kind.”

A model walks the runway at the 2024 CFC Fashion Show in Barton Hall.

Growth is woven into the fabric of CFC, which celebrated four decades of fashion at Cornell with its spring runway show on March 2 in Barton Hall. The show featured innovative collections and rigorous model management – and a major brand sponsorship.

When level 4 designer Andrea Cheon ’24 arrived at Cornell, she didn’t know how to sew. Over the last four years, she’s mastered techniques including 3D modeling and laser-cutting to bring a technical craftsmanship to her wearable work. Her senior collection, “B&W,” featured wire-framed organza flowers contrasted with flat, laser-cut designs, symbolizing the multidimensionality of womanhood against the flattening effects of objectification.

These same qualities are part of her own evolution, in studio and in life.

“A big part of my growth is mental: overcoming things out of my control, picking myself up and being stronger as a result,” Cheon said.

“Cities Unseen,” the collection of Cardinal Robinson ’24, was inspired by his experience growing up outside Boston. Robinson asked Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, to help model the collection. Lombardi sported a look that featured front draping with an overdyed silk piano shawl and a flatbed strap pulled from the Sachem Bridge in Boston.

“It was thrilling to be a part of this celebration of student creativity and expression,” Lombardi said. “The designers were immensely talented, and the spirit of community and support was palpable. This truly was the Cornell community at its best – providing an opportunity for students to use what they’ve learned and apply it beyond the classroom. And I got to wear some pretty cool clothes.”

A designer adds some finishing touches before the show.

Lombardi joined student models who spent weeks attending “model bootcamp” and practicing their posture, gait and overall presentation on the runway. Zoe Rich ’24, who has run the model training program for two years, implemented a more rigorous model coordination process.

“I love fashion, but I have no ability to sew,” Rich said. “It’s so gratifying to play such a huge part in CFC, in my own way. I feel like the runway show is as much a chance for the models to show off as it is for the designers. And we just want them to be the most confident they can be when they’re walking the runway.”

Japanese sportwear brand Uniqlo provided undergarments for all the models and hosted a networking table at the event. Pofcher, CFC’s community coordinator, facilitated the sponsorship after working as an intern at Uniqlo in Los Angeles in 2023.

A model gets ready backstage.

In celebrating 40 years of CFC, the executive board hopes to have fostered a greater foundation for the years ahead.

“Organizers and attendees expressed widespread agreement that this year’s show was a step above what we’ve been able to put on as a club in the recent past,” said creative director Mattie Nguyen ’25. “This confidence in the structure, scheduling and execution of the show will empower the future executive board to put less of their energy in logistics and focus more on the unique appearance and impact of shows to come.”

Galib Braschler is a writer for the College of Human Ecology.

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Abby Kozlowski