Rachel May, a senior at Washington Catholic High School, competed in the Indiana State Fair Fashion Revue earlier this month where she was named first runner-up out of over 45 contestants in the formal wear project.
May, the daughter of Stuart and Cheryl May, has participated in 4-H since she was in the fifth grade and has always been involved in the sewing project. She qualified for the state revue after winning Grand Champion at the Daviess County 4-H revue in July.
One of the biggest differences May cited between the local fashion revue and the state revue was the number of girls involved. “At the county level, I was the only one in an advanced level. When you get to state, the competition is a lot harder. There are more girls involved.”
The fashion revue is also open to males, although females are the most common participants.
May said she chose to make a formal this year for a couple of reasons. “I love to make dresses and I love formals,” she said. “I can hopefully wear this one to a dance.”
She also mentioned she had chosen the fabric for her project before she chose a pattern. “I loved the fabric,” she said. “I also love the color pink and I had never made anything pink before.”
May modeled her long, pale pink formal with floral details on the opening day of the State Fair and again the following weekend. “The judges chose the top 15 and the next weekend, the winners of each category were announced,” she said.
“The winner of each category gets to go on a State Fair Achievement trip. If the girl who won my division can’t go on the 4-H trip, which is to Washington, D.C., I’ll get to go instead.”
This was May’s fourth trip to the State Fair Fashion Revue but the first time for the long-time 4-H’er to earn one of the top spots. “After competing at the State Fair for four years, it was great to make the top three and reach my goal.”
May said participants in the fashion revue cannot enter their project in clothing construction.
“It has to be one or the other. You either do the fashion revue or you enter the project in clothing construction. The most important thing you can remember about fashion revue is how important the fit of your garment is,” she added.
“When you take fashion revue, you are judged on not only the fit of your garment but also on your ability to model what you have made, how it looks on you and how you’ve accessorized.”
If the project was entered under clothing construction, May said the judges look at how the garment is made. The judges look at every aspect of the garment from the button holes down to the seams.
May said her biggest piece of advice for other 4-H’ers wanting to participant in the fashion revue is to create a garment that you are comfortable in.
“Make something that you like that you can wear or something that you would like to wear for a special occasion. Whatever you choose should be something that you feel confident and comfortable in,” May said.