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A lesson in style at 2014 grad fashion show

If you look closely, you can see signs of the Envision Athletic Centre underneath the long sheets of black fabric and stage lights, but the graduating class of the UFV fashion design department effectively transformed the facility into a high-class fashion show on April 29.

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By Jess Wind (The Cascade) – Email

Print Edition: May 7, 2014

(Images:  University of the Fraser Valley / Flickr)

(Images: University of the Fraser Valley / Flickr)

If you look closely, you can see signs of the Envision Athletic Centre underneath the long sheets of black fabric and stage lights, but the graduating class of the UFV fashion design department effectively transformed the facility into a high-class fashion show on April 29. 

The show, called Absolute Style, showcased highlights from the 11 graduates as well as other work completed by students throughout the year. Everything from bustiers and bathing suits to children’s wear was sent down the runway to the heavy beat of music, including a remixed track of Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” 

Two projector screens provided the backdrop for the stage, which jutted down the centre of the room, lit up in bright white. Chairs lined the raised platform in the typical U-shape, allowing guests a vantage point from any angle. 

After a wine and cheese reception in the foyer, guests were greeted by the excited designers, handed a program, and directed to the seating area. The lights dimmed, the music picked up, and UFV marketing and communications director Leslie Courchesne took her place at the mic, acting as emcee for the evening. 

After UFV president Mark Evered and Justin Goodrich, president of the UFV alumni association, gave welcoming remarks, the show began. AbsoluteStyle5

Bustiers were first, and as soon as the first model showcased a blue and yellow piece complete with spiked gloves reminiscent of Wolverine’s original costume, it was clear the category was superhero-themed. 

We saw examples of the students’ work in jackets, coats, and dresses as well as their work with weaving, machine knitting, and draping. Each piece had a unique flair that summed up the “absolute” theme of the show. 

One poncho with a distinctly Egyptian feel wowed the crowd as the model spread her arms, revealing wings on the garment. Another creative knit piece had no sleeves; it was a tube-style dress with openings only for the neck and the feet, but appeared to move comfortably with the model rather than constricting her. AbsoluteStyle2

Then came the grad lines. Courchesne explained to the crowd that on top of completing other classes, grads of the fashion design program are required to design and create a full line including 30 pieces, of which three complete outfits were featured on the runway. 

Michika Hata, designer of Mi Chica, claimed in the program that her line was for young fashionistas who love to express themselves. Her model marched down the runway and pulled her sunglasses down her nose with attitude for a perfect photo opportunity to the adoring laughter of the crowd. AbsoluteStyle4

Elva Deng, designer of ED Fashion, presented two long gowns with sheer skirts and black bodices before unveiling an elegant gold piece that glittered as the model moved along the runway. The line was described as luxurious and glamourous, designed around classic silhouettes and classic black and gold colours. 

Extempore Street Wear by Jess Evanow featured pieces designed for comfort and the urban professional. Fabrics were lightweight, allowing a lot of movement, while colours focused on neutral tans and steely greys and blues, inspired by popular skateboard brands. 

Other lines included equestrian-inspired garments, men’s wear, bohemian style, more formal and professional pieces as well as a modern spin on traditional Korean style, making the Absolute Fashion show an incredibly diverse display of talent. 

To close out the show, awards were given for most technical, most marketable, most creative, and textiles. As well, Megan MacDonald, designer of Gintz Designs and president of the fashion design students association, gave closing remarks, noting the particular skills of all the students. While some had strengths in creative design, others had strengths in drawing and drafting pieces, and others were masters of the machine.AbsoluteStyleWolverine

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