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‘#FemmeFierce’ fashion show highlights graduating students’ designs

Carrie Pennington beamed, spreading her arms wide on stage in front of a crowd at the Rail Event Center as models on either side of her showed off Pennington’s plus-size designs during the seventh annual Salt Lake Community College Fashion Institute’s spring fashion show.

Carrie Pennington (middle) shows off her designs.

Pennington, whose models ranged in sizes from 18 to 30, was one of more than a dozen graduating SLCC design students showing off their ideas in front of hundreds who gathered April 25 for the show dubbed #FemmeFierce. The event featured professional makeup work by Aveda Institute and models supplied by the Salt Lake City-based Niya Models. Entertainment included performances by SLCC Dance Company and vocalist Sonia Lopez.

Pennington dubbed her works as a “knit meets woven revolution” concept. “Because they work together instead of against each other,” Pennington said, referring to how a knit lining to a blouse “redistributes the wealth” beneath the outer layer of the garment. “It smooths the body and does not show the unfortunate bulge.” She entered the fashion design field because she was frustrated by the clothing being sold to plus-size women. And, she adds, “The plus-size dollars are out there.” Her plan is to keep doing custom design work until someone picks up her ideas and runs with them.

A model walks during the #FemmeFierce fashion show

Meagan Patterson thinks she has her finger on the pulse of fashion consumers in Utah, where modesty reigns. “I plan on opening my own business, getting into manufacturing ready-to-wear women’s clothes,” Patterson said. “I just have always really loved making Sunday dresses, things you’d wear to church or a garden party.” She calls her experience “on and off” at SLCC over the past five years “phenomenal,” gushing about the instructors. “All of the teachers are wonderful,” she said. “They’re so knowledgeable. And they really care about you and your personal growth.” Patterson sees a need in the Utah market for a fully modest clothing store, whereas fellow graduate Madison Fugate hopes there’s room in the costume design industry for her.

Fashion designers Madison Fugate (left) and Meagan Patterson

Fugate’s collection for the show was inspired by reading classic literature and then imagining how characters like Captain Hook, Tinkerbell, the Wicked Witch of the West and Dracula might look. “It just kind of turned into my imagination – and here we are,” she said before the show, which for her was a big deal. “This is huge. I’ve never done a fashion show before. It’s extremely cool.”

A young model shows off a design at SLCC's annual spring fashion show

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