Last Saturday, thirty-two graduating seniors showcased their bodies of work at Artwear. Artwear is the University of North Texas' annual, juried runway show which allows senior designers finishing their BFAs in Fashion Design to debut their unique perspective of fashion to the world. Consisting of a variety of design inspirations from contemporary architecture to world travel à la styles ranging from chic minimalism to Japanese avant-gardism, it was quite interesting to see the realizations of so many unique approaches to the art. However, in the world of fashion, standing out in the crowd is the crux of success, so naturally there were some collections that were ells above the rest in aesthetic, and technique. But before I run down my TOP 5 collections from Artwear, I must take a moment to highlight this two-piece gown design by Ellanna Hatton, which was simply refreshing, marketable, and stylish, and then this achromatic menswear ensemble by designer Jin Kang, which, in my opinion, is the epitome of modern day men's casualism.
Without further ado, here are my TOP 5 designers from Artwear 2017.
5: Dave Cachero
What stood out about this collection was how effortless, and elegant it was. Despite obviously having some complex seamstress work, the looks seemed to just float down the runway with an aroma of simplicity. Vivid color stories, tamed by the delicate balance of fluid, yet structured volume really contributed to making Cachero's women's designs upbeat, and loud without being imposing.
4: Alexandra Moran
Misusing a patterned fabrics is perhaps the easiest way to make any garment lament in visual chintz, but the deft use of textiles with a motifs can either elevate a look to fashion nirvana, and Moran definitely got it right. Her Moroccan inspired fabrics was the perfect touch to give her timeless silhouettes an appropriate dose of color, and ethnic flair. What's more is that the collection didn't appear to be age exclusive, which nowadays is in demand; several generations of women could put on a dress from this collection, and be feel stylish, appropriate, and current.
3: Marcello Francisco Gomez III
Text on apparel has been trending in the last couple of seasons, but this menswear collection did the concept justice. A bricolage of what hinted of hip-hop style, true-to-nature activewear, and modernist color blocking, Gomez' menswear blurred the lines between active-esque apparel, and high-fashion. It's relatively commonplace to inspire pendulous shifts in the women's market, but for menswear, it's not quite so volatile. What this particular collection accomplishes is that it offers a very viable design aesthetic for what menswear will look like in the next ten years or so. It literally is past, and futuristic fashion, existing today, and it just worked.
2: Fei Gong
Simple elegance seemed to be the key to success on the runway of Artwear. Color blocking, and piecing have been done a thousand times over, but not like this! Apart from appearing to be one of the only autumn / winter lines, the construction (even from 3 rows back) I could tell was impeccable. When garments consist of so much patchwork, and piecing, and appear to be seamless, it is nothing short of a miracle. Gong's collection was enigmatic, it was outerwear, it was formal, it was casual...the versatility. These ensembles seemed very international, and could be worn by any modern woman anywhere straight from catwalk to sidewalk!
1: Runa Shrestha
When the first look walked down the runway, I felt a little sorry for everything that had to follow. Such a presence was created. Her designs could have stood up on a legitimate couture runway, and that is no exaggeration. While the overall vibe of the collection paid homage to icons such as Elie Saab, or Zuhair Murad, Shrestha's evening wear designs proved that the art of haute couture is not in jeopardy of becoming extinct. Mixing soft pastels of champagne, and blush, with delicate sheers, and an abundance of knife-pleated silk, each walk exuded an aura of impeccable craftsmanship, and a clear understanding (and need I say, success) of the couture arts. She redefines hard and soft. She reintroduces timelessness. She captures the essence of the Parisian atelier in this capsule collection.
If you attended the show, I would love to hear who your favorite designers were! If not check out the full runway show here. And be sure to check out more information about all of the designers, and Artwear here!
Congrats to all of the designers, and best wishes of success in the future. Stay Relevant!