On Sunday afternoon, the Kimmel Center hosted Philadelphia University's Fashion Show, an annual event produced by the school's fashion design and fashion merchandising and management students in an effort to showcase the year's best and most innovative fashion designs coming out of the school. 

Posthumous honoree

With introductions and welcoming speeches by NBC10's Bill Henley, Philadelphia University's President, Dr. Stephen Spinelli, and fashion expert and TV personality, Carson Kressley, the event kicked off with a presentation of the Legend of Design Award, awarded posthumously to designer Patrick Kelly in conjunction with an exhibition of Kelly's work on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Nov. 30.

Kelly, who passed away in 1990 due to complications with AIDS, was a designer known for making bold, and often racial and cultural statements with his designs. He was the first African American designer voted into the prestigious French fashion industry association Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter des Couturiers et des Créateurs de Mode.

Accepting the award in Kelly's behalf was his business and life partner, Bjorn Guil Amelan. Imparting wisdom upon the students Amelan stated, "These days when there is so much money, expense, corporate thinking and mentality involved in that [fashion] world... the most important thing for you to remember is where you came from, how you express who you are, and your imagination combined with your skill. Good luck."

Student collections

With that, the show began. The event showcased 220 designs from approximately 40 fashion design students who drew inspiration everywhere from geometry to jellyfish.

Gabriela Canosa's "Plant Cells" won "Best Senior Collection" and Emily Ray and Katie Voigt's collaborative collection, "Collide" channeled images of snowflakes and worry dolls and won this year's "Best in Show."

Friends Lauren McCarthy, Ali McCarthy and Kathleen Cooney have been attending the fashion show for over 10 years. A tradition started by their mothers, the young women look forward to attending the show each year.

"It's a great way to kick of spring," Cooney said. "It amazes us that even though we come back year after year there is always something so new and so innovative to see... and they're only students. It's inspirational to see how creative they can be," added McCarthy.