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Runway 3.0 Hits New Heights for Buffalo Style

Spree's fashion editor reports on the stuff being strutted

Designers Keri Schlageter and Tracey Palmeri of Aella celebrate on the runway.

Cheryl Gorski

May 1 saw another win for Erin Habes and the Buffalo State College Fashion Technology program. A combination fashion show, competition and fundraiser, Runway 3.0 brings a little bit of Seventh Avenue to Buffalo. The energetic and forward-thinking Habes, a lecturer at Buff State, has pushed her department and her students to bring this annual event to another level.

Runway 3.0’s theme “Technology: progression/obsession,” was addressed by 27 designers in all—some students or recent grads, some working professionals. The event took place in the Pierce Arrow building, one of the many remaining legacy sites from Buffalo’s industrial past. The gigantic room was packed and steamy for the 4 o’clock show; I can imagine the temps were even hotter for the late show at 9, with many more bodies trying to cram in.

There was not much fanfare to start the show off—that’s fine, everyone is there to see the clothes. It was a massive undertaking, with local salons, makeup artists and stylists donating time, plus hundreds of student- and teacher-hours of work. The girls (and boys) looked great.

The Senior Collections competition, in which five students created a collection on the theme, was decided by a five-member panel of fashion and celebrity judges, including Jami Galbraith of Diane von Furstenberg, Roy Chan of Bennetton, Torrey Acri of American Eagle, Marcus Holmlund, a fashion writer and stylist, and Janet Snyder, of WKSE here in WNY.

The winning collection, by Tess Hinterbichler, was well-crafted, though several pieces bordered on the frumpy side and did not seem to take in the realities of the female body.

Tinh Nguyen's convertible dress: hood, or cape, you pick! Photo by Cheryl Gorski.

A standout amongst the non-competitive student designers was Tinh V. Nguyen’s savvy collection. His pieces were cool without being over the top, clever and flattering to the form. Imaginative convertible details, tasteful embellishments and lovely tailoring in an elegant green, beige and brown scheme were exciting to see.

Representing local pros, Holly Hue and Aella showed their stuff in the early show (later in the evening, it would be Morgen Love and Adam Lippes). A slight cavil: I thought that Habes could have made a brief statement or summed up the huge accomplishment with a few words, thanked everyone for coming, the students and all for their work, etc.

Nonetheless, the event was inspiring, both for the creative stretching that it required and for the triumphant final execution.

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