UK Happenings

All roads lead to fashion: UK students present 'Color Me Kentucky'

All Roads Lead To Fashion

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 1, 2024) — University of Kentucky students in the merchandising, apparel and textiles(MAT) program, housed in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will display Kentucky’s unique, vibrant styles in this year’s fashion show.

The “Color Me Kentucky: All Roads Lead to Fashion” event, 6-9 p.m. EDT Thursday, April 11, at the Central Bank Center at Rupp Arena, invites the campus and greater Lexington community to experience Kentucky’s southern style and charm. UK student models will display local trends including UK-themed, Keeneland and Kentucky Derby attire, formal and creative wear.

UK students in the MAT 559: Fashion Show Production course coordinate and run this event each spring, now in its 14th year. Scarlett Wesley, course instructor and associate professor in the Department of Retail and Tourism Management (RTM), says the students get a real-world opportunity to apply what they are learning in class.

“Our students produce the Color Me Kentucky fashion show from start to finish, partnering with local Lexington boutiques and showcasing the latest fashion in the area,” Wesley said. “This event gives students the opportunity to practice real-world problem-solving, and it helps to prepare them for tasks they will encounter in their future jobs.”

For the event, MAT students work in collaborative groups including clothing, marketing, styling and decorating and event planning. UK senior, a double major in MAT and marketing, shares what it means to participate in the fashion show and her enthusiasm for the event.

I love our partnership with the Lexington and surrounding area community. We truly would not have a show without the excitement and willingness of our local businesses, and we cannot thank them enough,” Hessenflow said. “I love that this show is student-led, and our team has been a part of all the major decisions. I can’t wait to see all our hard work pay off on April 11.”

Kynall Cybulski, a junior from Marshall County, shares what makes this year’s fashion show theme unique for Kentucky.

We have designed a show that pushes the boundaries and goes in a new, unique direction that has never been seen before,” Cybulski said. “In this year’s show, we aspire to highlight the attributes of the university and how Kentucky has led us to fashion. We want to encompass the true colors and themes of Kentucky. I am confident this show will be an experience unlike any past show, and I am excited to share our unique story with the Lexington community.”

The Masters of Ceremonies are Leigh Jordan and Tamara Schneider, lifestyle hosts of Fox 56 News’ “Live from Chevy Chase.This year’s headline sponsor is Good Boy Vodka.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the runway show begins at 7:30 p.m. To purchase VIP, general admission or sponsorship packages, visit or Tickets will be sold at the door, pending available space.

Discounted UK student tickets are $20/25. General admission is $75. Group and VIP packages are available. All event proceeds will support current and future student learning and engagement opportunities in the RTM program at Martin-Gatton CAFE.

Sponsorship packages or local retailers interested in advertising at the event, capital donations, donating an item to the silent auction or contributing merchandise for attendees may contact Scarlett Wesley at

Join us and our students for an unforgettable experience to see the intersection of style, creativity and Kentucky’s unique fashion spirit,” Wesley said. “To us, all roads leading to fashion should go through Kentucky. At the event, our audience will get to experience this first-hand while supporting our students.”

Student walking runway
Scarlett Wesley with students
Fashion Show Production course students
Students working on materials
Color Me Kentucky fashion show runway

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.