MFA Show 2016 | SUArt Galleries

Scott McDowell

The fashion design program in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (SU:VPA) recently hosted its annual New York City fashion show at the University's Lubin House. In addition to students winning the honor of showcasing their designs in New York, this year marked the first time there was an additional competition to kick off the program's inaugural Fashion Without Limits (FWL) design initiative.

As announced in the fall during a special breakfast at the Fisher Center, Syracuse University's academic facility in midtown New York City, supermodel and entrepreneur Emme '85 created FWL in direct response to a need for increased availability of size 12+ fashions throughout all levels of distribution in the fashion industry today. The 12+ represents the size range a majority of American women typically wear, which is often categorized as “plus size.”

"I can't believe our first Syracuse University FWL year is really complete," says Emme. "It certainly was a whirlwind year! First with the much-anticipated 'Fashion Without Limits: Changing the Face of Fashion' media breakfast panel, which placed us smack in the middle of the momentous fashion movement and into the global fashion blogosphere. SU FWL couldn't have asked for more!"

And with the first year now wrapped, Emme has chosen her winning design, which was on display at the New York City show. After reviewing the finalists’ designs on campus at the April 10 fashion and beauty communications milestone fashion show presented by the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Emme selected the design by Nicole Wezowicz '16.

"As our first Syracuse University FWL winner, designer Nicole Wezowicz's beautiful blue lace evening dress highlighted her attention to detail for a curvy shape as a refreshing take for a red carpet-ready dress, despite never having created a dress for a woman above a size 12 before! We couldn't have been more proud," says Emme. Wezowicz will receive $500, and Emme will wear her winning design at a red carpet event.

The FWL design initiative proved to be an instant hit for the fashion design program, and others have taken notice. "The journey all of us have all taken with Fashion Without Limits this year opened our eyes to the tremendous opportunity to have Syracuse University Fashion Design as a leader in the inclusive fashion movement afoot today," says Emme. "The road before us to change the face of fashion within fashion design schools is no easy feat, but through the leadership of professors Jeffrey Mayer and Todd Conover, there are plans to expand curriculum." Those plans include the creation of as many as three textbooks and engaging students to see this game changer in fashion as something to embrace because millions of untapped clients are up for grabs.