It's student fashion show season right now in the Bay Area, with many up and coming local design students showcasing their collections. These innovative fashion shows can often offer us a sneak peek into the future of fashion.Last weekend, I stopped by the Supperclub in San Francisco to see the Inspired Innovation Signature Collections fashion show from UC Davis, held on Sunday, May 6, 2012. This student runway show was created by the Fashion & Design Society, the leading outlet for creative fashion designers at UC Davis to get exposure to local and regional audiences. As a student group, they produce a show at the UC Davis Picnic Day and one in San Francisco every year.
Featuring 19 unique designer collections on the runway, students expressed their individual design perspectives based on different and varied themes. Many designers were inspired by nature and incorporated natural fibers, dyes and sustainability into their collections. Others looked to cultural heritage for inspiration, or referenced anything from forests, the galaxy, wind, plastic, the ocean and the sky. One designer even used typography as the theme for her collection of dresses.
With each designer showcasing a unique point of view, no two collections were alike in terms of colors, silhouettes or themes. Here are some of the highlights from the show:
Urban Gardener by Courtney Siperstein-Cook
Using hemp as a dominant fiber, this playful & sustainable collection was inspired by city gardens and is a study of the nature of overalls. As Courtney Siperstein-Cook says "With overalls as my inspiration and hemp fabric and natural dyes in my tool bag, I aimed to create a playfully elegant take on our modern gardeners 'roughing it' in the city. My collection is an exploration into ways of being sustainable; caring for the planet through our design choices, gardening creatively, and having fun all the while."
Typography by Kim Shao
Merging two of her passions -- typography and fashion -- Kim Shao's designs incorporated bold & playful letters in four typefaces to showcase an array of different personalities. Helvetica, Rockwell, Kabel and Bondini were printed onto luxurious silhouettes & elegant fabrications.
Galaxy Deco by Sierra Reed
Showcasing galaxy-like abstract prints while bringing Art Deco fashion illustrations to life, Sierra Reed's collection combines two different themes, "Galaxy" & "Art Deco." Hand-painted fabrics & dyes complemented the geometric and futuristic shapes.
Enraptured by Minh-Chau Nguyen
Inspired by the element of wind, designer Minh-Chau Nguyen used hand printed design motifs and unique textured fabrics to engage the body in a gust of color and patterns. Her airy and voluminous collection focused on a yellow, red & sea green color palette.
Imperial Elegance by Faizan Dar
Using luxurious silks, velvets and traditional hand-dyed motifs, Fazian Dar says, "My collection evokes a strong aesthetic impact inspired by the pre-colonial, golden age of Mughal textiles in India. Using contemporary silhouettes, I captured the aura of enchanting elegance, the rich complexity, and the ultimate height of luxury in Mughal court design."
Ogo Oluwa by Olufunmilayo Alabi
This exuberant collection featured layers of bold prints and hand dyed human hair. Alabi says, "Ogo Oluwa celebrates an awakening of my own cultural heritage. As a first generation American, I was confronted early on with the contrast between societal expectation of beauty and the reality of my African identity. Hair, in all its messy wildness became a prominent icon in this dilemma."
Yuan by Ophelia Yuanyuan Song
Song was inspired by the freedom of birds, capturing their essence through somber fabrics and hand dyed prints onto the human form. She says, "My collection conveys the mysterious space between our dreams and our potential."
Mystique by Heidi Lo
Using flowing & elegant fabrics and vintage-inspired silhouettes, Lo combined hand painted abstract prints inspired by firefly wings with heavy beading, machine stitch lace & scattered cutouts to create her mystical collection made from silk gauze and satin.
Overall, it was nice to see that many of the designers were inspired by elements of nature and, through the use of natural dyes and fabrics, demonstrated that beautiful and innovative clothing can be created mindfully without the use of toxic chemicals.
All photos courtesy Rafael Medina.