Make a Run for Fashion at the Cain’s
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So I heard about this event where there are beautiful models sporting some of the coolest garbs around. There will be wine flowing like streaming ribbons and catchy music playing, and it’s at this really cool old building to boot. It’s kind of a New York meets Paris meets Tulsa soiree, and you are all invited. Sound fun? It is! So fun in fact that even the fashion police join in.
From someone who has experienced this event, I can only describe it as a living atmosphere where ideas, passion, and art jump to life creating a collective personality of energy, talent, and excitement. It was like finding buried treasure in my backyard…or for a woman, a closet full of designer clothes in their home I would guess. Clary Sage College in Tulsa has taken the best elements of the fashion industry and sewn together an ensemble that is runway worthy.
“The fashion scene in Tulsa is growing,” Department Head for Fashion Design at Clary Sage and owner of Dyana’s Designs clothing line, Dyana Harrison said. Clary Sage College is a cosmetology and design learning institution where students are trained to be professionals upon completion of studies as opposed to traditional colleges where students are prepared to enter professions at an entry level and then learn industry skills. This teaching philosophy lets the instructors create real business experiences for the students through an 11-month program that allows students to create their designs from conception to creation. These skills include sewing, pattern making and illustrations among many others that are relevant to the fashion world. Also, students learn the skills necessary to enter the industry as professionals with knowledge about fashion trends, design concepts, marketing strategies and the hands-on experience of actually creating products that can be the marketed.
Designer Ralph Lauren said, “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not about brands. It’s about something else that comes from within you.” This quote describes the attitude behind the Clary Sage Runway Show and program because it encourages and fosters originality and character in each student’s designs. With this originality must come to the approval of their concepts by the public who then become clothes consumer. The Clary Runway show encourages creativity to flourish. From 3‑D printed garments to a wedding gown or a dress created from zip ties, one never knows what will flow down that runway. Clary Sage pulls out all the stops to give this opportunity to its budding designers.
According to Campus Director Pam Martin, everyone gets to be involved. Skilled servers pouring wine and offering hors-d’oeuvres, interior designers creating the perfect set, marketing team members strategizing, hair, makeup and models, the entire college plays a role. The event is planned and implemented throughout the entire year. So planning for the next year begins as soon as the current show is over, she added.
“Our fashion show is an event, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a party where we are promoting all of the programs in the school with the fashion being only a part of the party,” Harrison said. The show has been performed for seven years growing larger each year. Harrison credits this, in part, to the creativity of the designers but acknowledges that it is the support of the whole college that makes the event so fun and successful. She explains how much fun it is for the attendees to experience joint creativity that they rarely see anywhere else. She added that the designers highlight the event by using their imaginations to incorporate objects not associated with clothing to create a garment that is truly unique as well as beautiful and elegant creations that would be appreciated on any runway.
More than just entertainment for fashion enthusiasts, the event is a fundraiser for the college. Clary Sage is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation and public charity. Martin said that the show is the major fundraiser for the year and that all of the proceeds go for student scholarships so that more students have the opportunity to learn a skill and pursue a passion. Last year the show brought in over $100,000. This year the college has set their goal for $200,000. Although it is a high goal, Martin expressed how those who sponsor Clary Runway and the ticket buyers understand that they are investing in the futures of those who will eventually enter the workforce, pay taxes and add to the betterment of society.
“We had a great response last year. I think Cain’s Ballroom is a great venue and atmosphere that sells itself. We have music, wine, audience interaction and so many other activities happening. It’s exciting. As I said, it’s a party,” Harrison said. She explained that the school goes this extra step to give the show excitement and energy because people who have never been to a fashion show or those who have been to “flop” shows have preconceived ideas of a snooze fest and are apprehensive about coming. The extra step, however, is working as the show outgrows its venues every two years.
Several sponsors have stepped up to help make the show possible, but more are welcome. Martin said. These sponsorships include the Platinum $15,000, Diamond $10,000, Gold $10,000, Silver $5,000, Bronze $2,500, VIP Ticket $250 and General Admission tickets at $50. Each of the sponsorships come with different and/or additional perks so check out claryrunway.com to learn what each package contains. Purchases and donations may be made on the site as well. The show is September 22 at Cain’s Ballroom located at 423 North Main Street in Tulsa. Doors open at 6 pm.