The Quilt Show is About Fashion, Too

comments (1) June 21st, 2008     

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MaryRay Mary Ray, contributor
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The Fashion Show & Contest has been a part of the American Quilter’s Society Show for 22 years. It’s a juried runway production that’s always a highlight, and it’s a great opportunity for amateurs and professionals to show off their skills—and win some money in the process.

I’ve been privileged to take top honors at this show a couple of times, and, I confess, it did make me feel a bit like Miss America (no crown but a bouquet of long-stemmed roses). I’ve also had the honor of being a judge several times—which is why I was in Paducah this year—and it’s almost as exciting to be able to give the award to someone else. This year, my fellow judges were Rami Kim from Sacramento, California, and Rachel Clark from Watsonville, California.

Judging is a two-step process: First, the day before the runway show, we carefully scrutinize all the entries and examine the construction as well as the design of each ensemble. (Yes, each entry must be an ensemble, not just a stand-alone garment.) We look at things like fabric choices, workmanship, originality, details, and wearability. And we actually make a preliminary list of winners at this point. In this competition, there are two categories, amateur and professional (if you’ve received an award in past shows you are considered a professional), with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in each. We also give Best of Show and Design Excellence awards, and these can come from either category.

The second step in the judging process comes on the day of the runway show when we get to see the garments on the body. This is key, because now we see each entry in a different light and judge it on fit, how it moves, and its overall appearance. Each time I’ve judged, the runway show affected how we placed the winners. In fact, sometimes entries on the preliminary list didn’t make it to the winner’s circle in the end—the presentation factor is that important. That may seem superficial, but, after all, clothes are meant to be worn.

You can view this year’s garments on the American Quilter's Society website and get an entry form for next year’s contest there, too. If you like to make “artsy” clothes, I encourage you to give this competition a try. Contests help you focus on bringing your skills to the next level, and they’re a whole lot of fun.

posted in: annual quilt show, fashion contest

Comments (1)

AmberE writes: Thanks Mary---it's so great to get a behind the scenes view!
Posted: 1:06 pm on June 21st
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