This past weekend, I attended the annual student runway show at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. Not sure what to expect, I was surprised to find so much buzz and professional energy. Held inside a large tent at street level just outside the school, the show was packed and the level of excitement high.
Many of the featured designers showed off their drapery skills with unique fabric manipulations. There were great sculptural jackets, bold color combinations, crochet sweater knits, intricate shoulder details, layering and unexpected back details for both men and women. Several designers also incorporated zero waste patterning into their sustainable collections.The CCA Fashion Design Program strives for innovation, which could be felt in the looks many designers sent down the runway.
What I liked most about the show was the way each designer was able to express their own unique understanding of garment construction, while inhabiting a space somewhere between the avante garde and the marketplace. It was refreshing to see this artistic angle on fashion, and while many of the garments looked like true art pieces, you could still imagine them being worn to parties and events around town. So many design school fashion shows get caught up in what is marketable, but these collections seemed to flow from a more artistic perspective.
At the end of the event, show sponsor Surface Magazine presented the "Emerging Talent Award," which includes an internship, to Ashley Eva Brock. An additional internship was also awarded to James S. Zormeir.
Here are some of my favorite looks from the collections (all photos by Stevan Nordström):
Punish Me by Steven Soundara
Creating simple & wearable men's wear with a decadent twist, I loved Steven Soundara's bold graphic color combinations and asymmetrical details, as well as the very cool crocheted sweater that spelled out the word "Hurt" across the back.
Vetements de Guerre by Chelsea I. Hughes
Chelsea I. Hughes' collection presented draped jackets and unusual color combinations, while using laser cutting and applique for her edgy looks.
Androidgynous by Rashad Omar Brown
Showing his clothing as both men's and women's wear, the lines were blurred between masculine and feminine with flowing voluminous bottoms, structured tops and unexpected back details. Most outfits featured pops of neon yellow in contrast to subdued tones.
0 by Lauren Biggs
Using zero waste techniques and inspired by the 1990's club scene and Americana craftwork, Lauren Biggs' collection was both sporty and feminine, with cool color block patchworks and fun jackets with puffy braided details.
(Un) Developing by Lauren Levin
A global collage of aesthetics, Lauren Levin's collection featured beautiful draped tops and flowing transparent chiffon dresses with an elegant yet playful sophistication. Overall, it was a pretty collection of voluminous shapes in mostly white with mustard yellow accents.
Stone, Ocean & Sky by Ashley Eva Brock
One of the biggest highlights of the show, this impressive collection was full of light-as-air fabrics, color blocking, sculptural details and watercolor prints. Featuring both hard and soft elements, the clothes seemed to float down the runway. Flowing silk fabrics with natural dye techniques really did remind me of the "ocean" and "sky," while the sculptural 3-D jackets were reminiscent of sandstones washed up along the shore. Overall this was a beautiful and unique collection from a promising designer.
Emergence by Jean Saung
Jean Saung's zero-waste garments are like origami in motion. Her sculptural and organic clothing was folded, tucked and shaped to the curves of the body.
(+)(-) by James S. Zormeir
Intricate and futuristic cut-out details and body-conscious sculptural fabrics jumped off the runway in shocking neon colors. The gorgeous color combinations and intricate details made this collection really pop.