By JAMIE PARSELL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
BLACKSBURG, Va. —
An avid Virginia Tech Hokie fan, Samantha Skidmore, 21, of Bluefield, Va., had a hard time finding fashionable collegiate apparel to support her Hokies. Either the T-shirts were too boxy or unfeminine or the sweatshirts too baggy and boring. Skidmore decided to create her own line of college apparel. And on April 12, she entered her work into the annual spring fashion show, where she won best overall designer. Eight other students competed in the show.
She said the award was a big moment.
“It really validates me as a designer,” Skidmore said. “And it gives me reassurance that what I am doing is on the right track.”
The student designer came up with the idea for a line of fashionable collegiate apparel pieces after pursuing bookstores and realizing there wasn’t much offered for women.
“It is pretty much a man’s world,” she said. “I wanted to make clothing that could fit in a bookstore but a college student or alumni could wear everyday ...”
She said most companies take man’s apparel and make a women’s cut. Skidmore wanted to try a different approach with her show and in future projects.
“I want to take what is already in women’s closets and make it in school colors,” she said.
For this year’s show, she created 10 different pieces ranging from a maroon lace dress with a belt to a couple of maroon and orange skirts and more. To create the line, Skidmore sketched out her drawings and then hunted down yards and yards of maroon and orange fabric. She collected fabric from as far away as Chicago, Ill., and online.
“I put the fabric on a mannequin and went from there,” she said. “I did most of my work over spring break.”
Models wore the pieces during the live show. Skidmore also participated in last year’s show, winning best new designer. She became interested in fashion during her eighth grade year. The daughter of David and Mary Skidmore, Skidmore and her mom made her formal gown. She was also featured in past issues of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph for making prom dresses out of duck tape. In 2011, she created Super Hokie — her fan outfit for all Virginia Tech games — out of duck tape.
She wears different Super Hokie outfits to football and basketball games.
Skidmore will graduate in May 2014. She would like to be a collegiate apparel designer.
“I would love to have the pieces I made this year in the bookstores and sold to students and alumni. I would love to make the college campus more fashion forward,” she said.
She admits she is frustrated with the lack of fashionable school spirit clothing, but is eager to fill the gap with lace, belts, chevron prints and more.
Because of copyright laws, Skidmore cannot reproduce or sell the pieces from the show. However, she received special permission from the university to use the Virginia Tech logo for her pieces.
Skidmore is a former Graham High School student and a graduate of Salem Academy in North Carolina.