COLLECTION 2016: RISD Apparel Design Seniors to Debut their Work on the Runway

New department head Neil Gilks, formerly of CFDA, puts a new spin on annual fashion show, moving it on campus to the college’s Fleet Library and exclusively featuring senior work

Apparel Design seniors at Rhode Island School of Design [RISD] will debut their one-of-a-kind creations on the runway at COLLECTION 2016. The Apparel Design department’s popular fashion show, which offers audiences a sneak peak at the fashion industry’s emerging talent, will take place on Saturday, May 7 with shows at 4:00PM and 7:00PM at the Fleet Library at RISD [15 Westminster Street, Providence, RI].

New Apparel Design Department Head Neil Gilks, formally of CFDA, will put a few new twists on the annual event. COLLECTION 2016 will exclusively feature the work of the department’s nineteen seniors, unlike previous years where juniors and sophomores shared the spotlight. In addition, after years of being held off campus, Gilks will bring the runway into the college’s historic library, which offers a dramatic backdrop of classic architecture combined with modern design.

The designs shown at COLLECTION, which reflect professional-level conceptual and technical skills, are juried by a panel of guest critics – professional designers who give students critical feedback over the course of the school year and ultimately determine which garments make it to the runway. The rigorous selection process is an important part of students’ preparation to enter the competitive fashion industry. This year’s jury includes
Mariana Vidal Escabi, fashion and concept designer; Henry Zankov, designer, Diane von Furstenberg; Alex Brownless, global fashion industry strategist and founder of; Dean Sidaway, educator and artist; and Francesco Fucci, head of design, The Row.

“It has been a thrill to watch our students evolve as designers and makers this year as they’ve immersed themselves in their craft and developed their unique voices,” notes Gilks. “COLLECTION offers us an opportunity to celebrate as they prepare for the next phase in their journey.”

Graduating seniors are poised to join a group of prominent alumni in the apparel industry. Nicole Miller [AP 73], Sari Gueron [AP 97], Katie Gallagher [AP 09], Sally Lapointe [AP 06], Robert Geller [AP 01], Nicole Romano [AP 00], Tess Giberson [AP 96], Tae Ashida [AP 87] and Marcia Patmos [AP 91] have all started independent labels, while others – such as Vanessa Pang [AP 95], senior design director for Michael Kors Men’s Collections and Thea Jacinto [AP 10], knits designer at Polo Ralph Lauren– are among the many alumni who have found success at leading design houses.

RISD’s Apparel Design department prepares students to meet the highest requirements of the fashion industry. Built on the philosophy that design and technical skills are mutually enhancing, the program is structured to take students through all aspects of apparel design and construction, from functional to experimental clothing. Technical classes proceed from basic to advanced drafting, draping and construction, and incorporate the use of computers as a tool for design and product visualization. RISD has offered programs in Costume, Clothing and Fashion since 1918, and established the Apparel Design department in 1952.

COLLECTION 2016 tickets are $20 for the 4:00PM show and $45 for the 7:00PM show. Purchase tickets online at Proceeds benefit the RISD Scholarship Fund. For more information please call 401.454.6180 or visit the Collection page on

About Rhode Island School of Design
Known as the leading college of art and design in the United States, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is ranked #1 in Business Insider’s survey of The World’s 25 Best Design Schools. Approximately 2,450 students from around the world are enrolled in full-time bachelor’s or master’s degree programs in a choice of 19 majors. Students value RISD’s accomplished faculty of artists and designers, the breadth of its specialized facilities and its hands-on approach to studio-based learning. Required courses in the liberal arts enrich the studio experience, equipping graduates to make meaningful contributions to their communities. Through their creative thinking and problem solving in a broad range of fields, RISD’s 26,000 alumni exemplify the vital role artists and designers play in fueling global innovation. Founded in 1877, RISD (pronounced “RIZ-dee”) and the RISD Museum help make Providence, RI among the most culturally active and creative cities in the region. For more information, visit and

Note to editors
No flash photography will be allowed. If you wish to obtain images, attend the show or speak with students and faculty members, please contact Danielle Mancuso at 401.454.6334 or