By Michelle Xu
Fashion fanatics come from all around but there’s one unifying event that brings them together at one place and time, Fashion Week!
Although many Fashion Week shows happen all over the world, the events often take place in the top fashion capitals, known popularly as the “Big Four:” New York, London, Paris and Milan.
Twice a year, popular brands showcase their latest collections where intricately planned runway shows feature high-end designers’ offerings such as Gucci, Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Balenciaga. Runway models bring their designers’ new and compelling collections to life, culminating the season’s list of trends.
The spring looks are already in play during the fall, so by January, renowned fashionistas are talking about what to wear for fall and winter. These people are the ones in the know –prominent stars such as Rihanna, whose own Fenty x Puma 2018 fashion show inspired fierce individuality on Sept. 10, 2017, and famous social media personalities like Cameron Dallas, who swaggered down the runway of Dolce & Gabbana’s fall/winter men’s fashion show on Jan.13 of this year.
Style devotees, local trendsetters, bloggers and fashion students also look forward to the current runway season. They will correct you if you call something ‘hot-pink’ instead of ‘fuschia.’ They will ask, ‘what are you wearing?’ with discerning looks if your outfit does not adhere to current trends. Respected style influencers like Chiara Ferragni, who became the first blogger to get on the cover of Vogue magazine, can be counted among this set.
Despite San Francisco not being one of the “Big Four” fashion capitals, Fashion Week is still religiously practiced by fashion enthusiasts here and in other cities around the world. San Francisco Fashion and Merchants Alliance Inc. (SFFaMA), a leading fashion industry organization in California, is the official host of San Francisco’s Fashion Week.
Last year, SFFaMA held a Fashion Week focused on diversity from Sept. 22 to Oct. 1. This year on Mar. 30, they are holding Tech Fashion Week, an engaging platform where designers and the technological community come together to connect and celebrate the bridge between innovation and creativity.
City College is holding their own student produced annual fashion show. The show’s organizer, Natalie Smith, is an experienced instructor for the Fashion Show Production course (Fashion 48). She also teaches other classes such as Fashion Forecasting (Fashion 53), Intro to Fashion Industry (Fashion 42) and Fashion Styling (Fashion 54A). Smith has many years of working as a fashion show and event producer under her belt.
“It’s a journey,” said Smith, referring to the process of creating City College’s fashion show. “There will be five senior collections, and a fashion gallery of variety for [beginning] fashion students.” When asked how her students stay innovative, Smith passionately answered, “Fashion influences us politically, socially and economically, so I encourage my students to stay cohesive and to observe the world around them to get inspiration.”
Miquan Antonio, who is currently enrolled in Smith’s Fashion 48 class and attending his second semester at City College, explained some procedures of working the show: “We break up into committees, we have folks who focus on the media, [and] we have folks who focus on the actual production that includes lighting, staging, and choreography for the models, so we can target specific categories that need to be handled.”
After leaving Academy of Art and joining City College, Antonio is in awe of its fashion department. “I keep telling folks that after one semester at City College, I have learned more [and] had more experience than I’ve had at Academy of Art. This is my second semester and I already have an internship and that’s because of this fashion department that I find to be just amazing,” Antonio said. “Starting school here really gave me a clear direction on where I want to go in the fashion industry,” he added.
Antonio went on to express his gratitude, saying: “I have the ability to connect with my peers, who are not just straight out of high school. Our knowledge combined… the creativity and the work effort is just so inspiring!”
He also gave us a taste of what this year’s annual fashion show will be like. “We’re going to take you on a journey,” said Antonio, reiterating Smith’s earlier comment. “It’s going to start with a primitive, grass roots growing Earth, all the way to Mars.” Antonio explained that the students are open to all kinds of themes and ideas. Like other budding fashion makers, they will probably also be getting insight from Fashion Week.
Perhaps City College fashion students will take pointers from different designer spring collections. The student fashion designers’ imaginations could be stirred by some of the trends that were showcased in the fall of last year. Maybe they will take note of the elegant sequin dresses that sparkled down the runways of Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and Dior. Or the floral prints that bloomed this year through Dolce & Gabbana’s flower-patterned tuxedos and Jason Wu’s artsy flower wrap dresses. It could even be Moschino’s models who sprouted as actual flowers for his fantastical collection that will spark the students’ inventiveness.
Other influences may include the pastels and darker, saturated colors that were featured in certain spring fashion shows, lending garments a monochromatic look: a Michael Kors model strode across his catwalk in a soft lavender pantsuit, while Carolina Herrera’s spring collection featured a deep yellow off-the-shoulder dress.
Prabal Gurung’s sheer collection consisted of a compilation of transparent frocks. One such item was a dull-pink dress that flowed over a pair of high-waisted hot-pink underwear. Meanwhile, fashion designer Victoria Beckham’s spring line matched a see-through, pink pencil skirt with a light orange gridded button up.
Models strutting down runways in mixed prints also seemed to be a theme for some designers. One could wear a black and white polkadot vest on top of a rainbow floral dress and not feel unstylish because Mary Katrantzou’s Spring collection did just that.
Consistently seen fluttering around the fashion world is fringe, which was dancing off the ends of both Celine’s beige Pocahontas-inspired dress and dominated Calvin Klein’s shredded American flag getup. These are just some of the looks that City College fashion majors may be inspired by when they draft ideas.
Tune in on Feb. 8 to catch a glimpse of this year’s designer fall/winter collections. San Francisco’s own Fashion Week which kicks off on Mar. 1, and be on the lookout for City College’s 17 annual fashion show on Sunday, May 20.