Macomb Township native takes to design for CMU show

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published April 21, 2021

 Macomb Township native Lauren Bark is a student designer for Central Michigan University’s 2021 Threads  Fashion Show. Bark is a 2019 Utica Academy of International Studies graduate.

Macomb Township native Lauren Bark is a student designer for Central Michigan University’s 2021 Threads Fashion Show. Bark is a 2019 Utica Academy of International Studies graduate.

Photo provided by Lauren Bark

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MACOMB TOWNSHIP — While applying to attend Central Michigan University and knowing she wanted to enter the world of fashion, Lauren Bark was drawn to the Threads Fashion Show.

Since last year’s show was canceled, the university’s 2021 production gives Bark her first chance to create a clothing collection at the college level.

Bark, a Macomb Township native, is a student designer for the show and graduated from the Utica Academy of International Studies in 2019.

Threads Fashion Show is an annual event produced by CMU Fashion Merchandising and Design students.

The 19-year-old Bark is a sophomore, majoring in fashion merchandising and minoring in design. Three of her designs will appear in the show — a pair of dresses and a pair of shorts with a top.

“They encourage design students to create a collection which they put in show,” she said. “It’s usually a really big event, but because of COVID, they haven’t put on the show.”

This year’s theme is Lucid Dreams, with the show airing via livestream at 7 p.m. April 24.

“The audience will be diving deep into three different dream sequences, creating one complete story of the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep cycle; starting with tranquility to nightmare then ending in a fantasy,” a press release for the show states.

Bark said her collection is titled “Fallen Angel” and is placed in the nightmare subgroup.  

“I was inspired by the theme to create more of a dreamy collection,” she said. “I wanted to work with denim and geometry, so I did a lot of triangle, pleats and weaving.”

She explained that her design process begins with sketches.

“After that, I create a mood board for the collection and typically create pattern pieces, which I’m currently learning how to do,” she said. “I reverted back to my self-taught methods to create this collection.”

Bark said a lot of visualizing is required to how a piece fits the body.

“I did a lot of weaving and pleating, trying to piece it together to create my designs,” she said.

Lucid Dreams will be Thread’s 23rd year putting on a show that is completely student run.

“Threads Fashion gives students (the) real-life experience of putting on a fashion show, gives them several opportunities for networking, and offers the student designers competitions to win awards for their work,” the release states.

 A description of the show on its website states that it provides aspiring apparel designers a platform to showcase their work while collaborating with departments across campus.

Kate Castillenti, public relations and graphics committee director for the show, said Bark has put in a great amount of work and effort into their collection for this year’s show.

“Central Michigan University has one of the top ranked fashion programs in Michigan,” Castillenti said.

The most enjoyable part of being in the show, Bark said, is learning professional design methods.

“I was mainly self-taught, so now I’m seeing how to do clothing construction,” she said.

Bark’s design work in college isn’t her first experience with fashion shows. As a senior in high school, she won first place for design for a pair of collections, also earning second place her junior year.  

Upon graduating, Bark wants to move to New York City and work her way up in the fashion industry. 

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