The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | Heads turn for CFE.4

Angel Saldivar
Samantha Simmons, senior in LAS and events director of TFN, walks down the platform, showing off her bright pink ear muffs.

Camp can be described as over-the-top bad taste with a good twist on it or even something that seems a little off. It was originally defined by Susan Sontag as an aesthetic that isn’t one that can be fully explained. 

This year, the fourth Circular Fashion Expo was held at the Siebel Center for Design with the theme “A Camp Sensibility” being the main focus of the show. 


The lights went down and the executive directors of CFE.4 were the first to hit the runway. 

Loud patterns and bright colors filled the stage as upbeat music rang through the building. 

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    One by one the board came up the walkway after the emcee announced them and their positions. Like all the other models, they strode before the crowds and posed for the judges as they expressed their style and their take on camp. 

    William Hohe (Jacob Slabosz)

    William Hohe, president of The Fashion Network and lead organizer of CFE.4, made their way up the runway in a multi-colored tropical skirt, a dressy button-up which embodied 50 shades of fuchsia, a furry purple cardigan peeled off of the back of Art from “Monsters University” and a green beret paired with bug-eyed sunglasses. 

    Every individual part of the look shined on its own and together made a head turning statement. Is this something some would ever consider wearing? No. Is it camp? No questions asked. 

    Olivia Sims (Jacob Slabosz)

    All eyes were on Olivia Sims, creative director of designs and CFE.4 art and design lead, when she presented her fully white ensemble. 

    A white wig covered her head and perfectly complemented the angel sleeves that began at her wrists. With every movement of Sims’ hands, the fabric created a similar illusion one would see with a flamenco dancer’s skirt, continuing to captivate the attention of the audience as she strutted through the walkways. 

    Overall, the executive board set the bar high for the rest of the show and laid the grounds for what camp should really look like. 

    As for the Crocs that were showcased, no comment. 


    The main aspect of the design competition was the question of which designer would embody camp the best, and of course the models would then need to perform accordingly. 

    Many of the designs were eye-catching, creative and made a statement. As for some of those designs, the statement might have been lost in the attempt to take their designs to the next level. 

    Matt Stepp

    Although the sound of a power drill coming up the catwalk was strange, the look that came with it was just as strange in the best way possible. Every aspect of the design was coherent and fitting with each other. 

    The patchwork done on the pants and shirt had a fluid design that showed through in the model’s makeup and headpiece. The colors of the fabrics used on the body were featured in the headpiece, as each color was found in each of the spikes. 

    A brown patch that read “Ultra Vamped” was showcased on the chest pocket of the shirt, which created an eye-catching contrast from all of the bright colors scattered across the rest of the look. 

    Though the designer created a cohesive look, the drill seemed a bit out of place compared to the rest of the work. 

    Girl on the floor crawling in front of the judges. (Jacob Slabosz)

    The model portraying this look crawled up the catwalk and then continued to throw herself down to the floor when she arrived in front of the judge’s table. 

    The concept of the design, featuring multiple colors, textures and fabrics, created an intriguing silhouette. However, the performance itself raised some eyebrows — especially mine. It seemed like we mixed up the performance’s themes with last semester’s CFE theme, “Danse Macabre, An Allegory on Horror.”

    Zoe Haritos (Angel Saldivar)

    Although the rest of the pieces might not be everyone’s cup of tea, you could see the work and thought that was put into the design concepts. Yet, this piece looks incomplete and slapped together.

    The blouse looks like a scarf that was tie-dyed and wrapped around the model’s torso five minutes before the show started. This outfit felt unfinished and lackluster. 


    BLNKD — a photography registered student organization — showed off its monochrome looks one at a time. Each of the models walked in front of the audience in a rainbow-like order, highlighting the color chosen for them with makeup and accessories. 

    Jacob Slabosz

    BLNKD concluded its portion of the show with a visually appealing choreographed performance combined with fitting musical accompaniment on the runway. Finally, all the models and photographers associated with the group struck a pose unanimously in front of the judges table. 

    Elie Zieserl (Jacob Slabosz)

    Although the looks were aesthetically appealing to view and the models performed camp one, the performance of the group felt unprofessional. 

    Rather than posing in the designated spot the rest of the models had hit before and after BLNKD, the models were directed to pose for the BLNKD’s photographers, inconveniently covering the judges’ view of the performance.

    Their photographers had seemingly only prioritized photos of the BLNKD models. It appeared as if they had showed face as the organization was announced and disappeared into the crowds of people for the rest.


    Angel Saldivar

    The historically accurate Marie Antoinette and her royal court weren’t remembered to wear short skirts cut at their hips or have faux pastries pinned to in their hair, but after The Kat Walk’s camp rendition of the time period, Mrs. Antoinette should be taking some notes.

    The elegance displayed with the lineup of models mesmerized audience members and proceeded to tell the story the RSO had created for their portion of the show.

    Delayna Hardimon (Angel Saldivar)

    Each of the looks included some shade of pink, lace, voluminous tulle, ribbons and intricately placed bows.   

    Though the designs were the main focus of their performance, hair and makeup were not to be forgotten. Each model’s hair and makeup seemed to elevate the already elegant theme. 

    As the audience watched the models engage in a royal court tea party, the narrator announced Alice wasn’t at the party! 

    Tati Scaife (Matt Stepp)

    Now, you may be asking, “Who is Alice?” Another storybook opened with models representing characters from “Alice in Wonderland.”

    The Alice in Wonderland portion of the showcase seemed to give a bit more of a “I need to grab a costume at Party City the night before Halloween” attitude and not as camp as the rest of the performance.

    Separately, the two concepts are stunning on their own and create an intriguing story. However, it seemed the only real connecting factor of the two stories is the tea party. 

    Regardless of the mismatched stories, the models were able to portray an exquisite performance of the story with their acting and captured the interest of the audience, while also being able to display the intricate designs. 

    James Hoeck

    Overall, CFE.4 was highly enjoyable, interesting and entertaining. The models and designers were able to showcase camp to the very best extent and continued to surprise with each individual look that was brought to the runway. The dedication and passion that was shown by the designers and models is the reason why this event creates a jaw dropping event that never misses. 

    Love it or hate it, it’s camp. 


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    About the Contributors
    Lika Lezhava, Editor-in-Chief
    My name is Lika Lezhava and I am a senior in advertising with a minor in journalism. This is my second year with The Daily Illini, and I am excited to continue the legacy of our beloved 154-year-old news source. I began working for The DI in my sophomore year as a news reporter and became an assistant news editor soon thereafter. Within the next couple of weeks, I became the news editor and spent two rewarding months in that role. Finally, I rose to the position of editor-in-chief. Although I’ve worked my way up rather quickly, I have been able to see and experience every moving part that goes into a successful news source.   If you have any general questions, please call our office at (217) 337-8300. For personal inquiries, feel free to reach out to me through email at [email protected], or over the phone (217) 337-8365.
    Angel Saldivar, Assistant Photo Editor
    James Hoeck, Photo Editor
    Heyo! I am James Hoeck, a third-year undergraduate student in photography with a minor in media. I have been a part of Illini Media for two years, starting back in fall 2021. I hold the position of Photo Editor here at The Daily Illini. I also work as Photo Editor for Illini Media’s Illio Yearbook. There is a good chance you will see me out and about on campus taking photos for my personal work or for The DI and/or Illio! If you want to check out more of my work, visit my socials linked below.
    Jacob Slabosz, Managing Editor for Visuals
    Hey, I’m Jacob! I am currently a sophomore in computer engineering with a minor in German. I started with The Daily Illini in fall 2022 as a news reporter and staff photographer, and by spring 2023, I had worked my way to photo editor. I have been the managing editor for visuals since March 2023. When I’m not taking pictures for The DI or for fun, I enjoy cooking, water sports and tending to my numerous houseplants. I’m excited to see the content that our team can produce with a more visual-oriented approach.
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