Skip to main content
The official hub for news and stories from Colorado Mesa University
  • Erica Duda modeling the dress

    Erica Duda modeling the dress.

  • Austin Draving cutting out snowflakes

    Austin Draving cutting out snowflakes.

  • Erica Duda and Bailey Pixton putting the dress together

    Erica Duda and Bailey Pixton putting the dress together.

Three CMU students won the Student Star Award at the Denver Paper Fashion Show

The dress Erica Duda wore down the runway was made almost entirely of paper.

Duda along with two other CMU Emerging Designers Club students, Austin Draving and Bailey Pixton, spent more than 200 hours creating the dress for the Denver Paper Fashion Show.

Both professional designers and students submitted haute couture fashions for this event and out of almost 50 designs Duda, Draving and Pixton walked away with the Student Star Award — first place for the student designs.

The CMU team "Thrashed" brainstormed design concepts after reviewing their portfolios and sketch book ideas. They wanted to find a creative and unique way to fit into the show's theme of “Flight Without Wings.” 

The three students settled on the issue of global warming to shape the design of their dress — “Arctic Extinction” which featured a wolf, a reindeer and a fox. Draving said the team wanted to bring attention to the loss of habitat for sensitive species in the arctic.

"We created a dress that represented endangered arctic animals fleeing their habitats due to global climate change,” said Draving.

The team was given swatch books full of different types of paper and had to decide which material would best bring their design to life. Once they gathered materials, the students began cutting out over 950 snowflakes using X-ACTO knives. The design team then carefully formed the dress piece-by-piece adhering the dress to a mannequin made from Duct tape.

The day of the Denver Paper Fashion Show, Duda worked with a catwalk coach and had professional cosmetologists apply her make-up and style her hair.

Duda walked the runway alone the first time and then her two teammates were invited to walk with her a second time. After the fashion show ended the panel of top Denver-area designers and celebrities awarded the CMU team the Student Star Award, which was made out of paper. Draving, Pixton and Duda were all ecstatic at the outcome.

"Receiving this recognition for our work was an unbelievable experience that helped us grow as students and individuals, and helped push us beyond our comfort zone," said Pixton. "We definitely plan on competing again next year."


Written by Cody Maynard