Emerging Designer Talent At the United Streets of Fashion

     Student fashion shows are a fascinating experience, as the students are completely invested in the creative process and totally immersed in exploring their artistic vision.  Many of the designs are inspirational, edgy and unique.  It’s also exciting to see the students living their dream as their creations grace the runway.  The experience provides them a supportive outlet of their individual expression.  

     The Art Institute of California – San Francisco is hosting United Streets of Fashion, Student Fashion Show and Competition on Saturday, June 19th, 2010 at 7 PM at the San Francisco Design Center (101 Henry Adams Street).  At this event, students will have the chance to showcase their collections on the runway to an audience of 1,500 guests, including industry professionals, Bay Area designers, fellow students, family and friends.  Innovative designs will emerge onto the runway, as the theme of the fashion show is illuminating the constant evolution of design that caters to each distinct neighborhood of San Francisco.
     San Francisco is a city comprised of many diverse neighborhoods, all of which offer their own unique sensibility and approach to style.  United Streets of Fashion, has taken these unique fashion districts and transported them from the sidewalk to the catwalk.

     Models will strut student designs down the runway which epitomize each neighborhood: slouchy knitwear emblematic of the Castro; chic bohemian styles straight from the Haight; high fashion from the Hayes Valley set;  sexy, sleek business attire made for the FiDi professional; and gritty urban styles from the streets of the Mission.

     Just over 100 designs from 26 designers will be featured on the runway, narrowed down from over 180 submissions.  The designers were chosen for their innovative approach and their ability to embody each district within San Francisco through their own unique point of view.

     Some of the students shared what their inspiration is for their runway items and details on what the attendees can expect:

Alisha Yzette Wilson:  I have 2 collection featured in the fashion show.  My Pretty Tough Collection is “petal to the metal” with an unexpected combination of elegance and edge.  My fall collection is the two sides of me, my pretty, soft, romantic interior mixed with my tough, sexy, edgy, exterior.  I call it “Pretty Tough.”  My “Bittersweet Collection” is an indulgence in the glam of the 40’s with a feel of Paris.  My “Cruise Collection” is based on my vision of what real love offers; I call it Bittersweet.

Autie Carlisle:  I have two different collections in the show, as well as two single gowns.  “Russia in Autumn” is my first collection.  This was born out of a childhood fascination for Russia combined with the desire to be home again.  With it being an Autumn collection, I wanted it to have a fragrance of warmth and coziness.  Because of this, I was led to quilting, hand knitting, and soft fur.  I studied some of Russia’s textiles and found so many opulent and heavily patterned fabrics.  I experimented with many textile manipulations such as a block print that I created and hand printed, shibori binding on a knit cardigan, machine quilting, hand knitting, and hand weaving as well as plenty of button appliqué.  Finally I utilized solid Melton wools to bring structure and clean lines into the collection.
     My “lakeside bathing”is a bathing suit collection inspired by the lake.  I was tired of seeing the same color schemes in beach wear lines and so I took my color palette from the pine trees, the soil, the fish, and the fisher men (and their orange life jackets).  I created silhouettes that range from organic to commercial with inspiration of life jackets and hand crocheted fish scales.
     My “Russian Inspired” gown with buttons and quilted skirt was a project for my Couture class based on a Russian theme of opulent designs.  I took time to study what makes a design “Russian” from ancient textiles and discovered some things which I implemented in my quilted design on the skirt.  I wanted to use fabrics that might not be so traditionally “couture” such as basic white cotton and raw silk.
     Lastly, the “Transformative Gown”!  Once I asked my friend what she thought heaven was going to be like and she said, “I think it will be like waking up from a sad dream.”  I believe this world, as great as it is, is only a shadow of the greatness to come.  I chose to depict this idea with a plain cotton voile (that is not 100% opaque) to show the world. From this, the dress is transformed into a vibrant and texture-heavy full length gown.  The red fabric was an old curtain from the 1970’s that used to be in a German hotel which I picked up in the city at a vintage store.  I wanted this bold fabric to represent that in heaven, all the amazing things that we’ve known on earth will be magnified; the colors, textures, feelings, details, foods, our bodies, everything.  To put it like the author C.S. Lewis would, “I find myself longing for a greater country.

Justin Jamison:  My collection is called “Urban Layers” and it is a streetwear collection that I created for fashion-forward men.  The inspiration behind this collection is the lifestyle and image of the urban male living in a fast-paced city with soft, draped, and layered garments.  The collection’s color palette imitates the hard city colors and at the same time has the contrasting elements of soft and light fabrics.  The textiles I chose for my collection include cotton knit jerseys for the hooded wraps and t-shirts, black denim for the skinny jeans, sweatshirt fleece with wool ribbing for the draped sweatshirts, and a wool/acrylic merino blend knit for the drop crotch pants.

Leslie Fong:  My 5 look collection is based on animalia and natural decay.  Although completely abstract in this loose interpretation, one can still see hints of nature in each look – perhaps through a reptilian corset or a raccoon-like coat.  I prefer to work with natural fibers, but this particular collection is a very eclectic mix of synthetic woven fibers, natural wovens and knits, and a combination of faux and real fur.  This year really showed my interest in exploring textile and surface design possibilities, hopefully resulting in an even more cohesive design style in the future that I can base my own independent label on.

Tia Young:  I created a lingerie line inspired by 19th century women, with a modern twist.  I used fabrics such as polyester chiffon, satin, cotton and stretched lace.  I use these fabrics to give my models sex appeal.  I used the chiffon in a very unique way and I love the results.  My favorite garment that I have put a lot of work into is a navy blue robe with a chain closer.  I saw a picture of a 19th century woman wearing a gown with six buttons (three on each front sides of her body), and chains hung from one button to another. Seeing this inspired me to create a robe with a similar design. 

Andrew Landrith:  My inspiration is based off of my thought process after having my heartbroken, and understanding what life is without love, and how without it we are merely bags of bones encapsulating a metaphysical being needing to feel love.  It is a chiffon studded gown with style lines similar to those of the female muscle structure with metal studs in the negative space of the bone structure.  I chose a neutral color palette to resemble the bland and blah confused state of mind that you constantly dwell in.  Also the color palette is what is in season currently.


     There will be an additional twenty designers featuring their works on the runway.  A panel of industry professionals and top designers will judge the fashions as they saunter down the runway, including Amy Sarabi from Project Runway Season 7 and Nathalie Doucet, President of Arts of Fashion Foundation.  The show will be hosted by Elisabeth Laurence, creator, host, and co-executive producer of the broadcast TV show Lives of Style™©2010, which highlights the “Best-of-the-Best” in the world—in fashion, style, beauty and lifestyle.  Lives of Style airs in San Francisco, with launches in LA, NY, Miami and nationwide forthcoming.  

     This event is further impressive because some of the students showcasing their works have full time jobs in addition to attending the Art Institute of California.  This shows an amazing commitment and investment in their design career.  As with a lot of fashion shows featuring the works students, this event promises to be an inspiring glimpse into the talent of emerging designers as they impact the fashion industry.

Tickets are available by calling 415.276.1069, Monday through Friday, 8AM – 6PM. Tickets are $20 for general admission / advance purchase or $25 at the door.  Limited VIP tickets are also available for $50, which offer an all-access pass, floor seating on the main floor, gift bags, and a special VIP area with complimentary wine, beer, assorted beverages and hors d’oeuvres. 
United Streets of Fashion is being produced by students in the Fashion Show Production class at The Art Institute of California – San Francisco.  For more information, please visit the United Streets of Fashion website at www.unitedstreetsoffashion.com.
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