Designers: Authenticity Annual Benefit Fashion Show

March 19, 2018

AJ Oehm & Courtney Banh: CATAMARAN

Controlling an uncontrollable force of nature is a significant point in human capability, which is an instance of form defining function and movement. By incorporating tent and sailing structures onto the human figure, the body is resistant, yet succumbing to external, natural forces. For our collaboration, CATAMARAN, outdoor sportswear and material durability highlight human form and movement while voluminous silhouettes obscure the body materially and architecturally.

AJ Oehm is a sculptor and ceramic artist from Denver, Colorado. He is a senior interdisciplinary sculpture major with a ceramics concentration. He maintains a high level of craft by combining craftsman traditions and contemporary digital methods of building.

Courtney Banh is a fiber artist, garment designer, and ceramicist from Austin, Texas. She is a senior fiber major with a concentration in experimental fashion, and her practice spans garment and sculpture. Her work exists between the realms of fashion and art, where the idea and lifespan of garments are made physical.

David Correa: Towards the Means of Production                                                       

This line is a satire of the application of Utilitarian ideals in an American landscape. There is no common good; only a need to assimilate into the Owning Class and inevitably create more comfort for the 1%.

Created to represent the struggle of the Working Class and the abuse they suffer in order to maintain a codependent and yet parasitic relationship with the Owning Class, these “utilitarian” outfits are made from scavenged industrial material.

The wearers of these outfits carry large structures serving as furniture which are then used to create comfort for the Owning Class who will be playing a video-game, simulating the labor of the Working Class.

Ultimately the show is an attempt at expanding the idea of fashion to depict entire environments and extremities of real-word scenario and issues. Specifically, it begins to question the relationship between two social classes through mixed media elements including fashion, sculpture, and digital media.

Sarina Angell: Hide & Seek

I remember my childhood as a time when I had the power to escape into my ideal imaginary world whenever I needed to. I could weave elaborate stories and allow myself to step in and out of them. Inside, I was far away from any social norms, stereotypes, or responsibilities. Even laws of physics could be bent by my will. I flew. I shrunk. I disappeared. Just because no one else saw it, does it mean it wasn’t real?   

Infused with strong memories of my daydreams, and partially inspired by children's fashion, this collection uses dramatic shifts in scale, soft sculpture props, and iconography to bring a forgotten sense of wonder into focus. The icons featured are not typical children’s toys, but rather objects from my personal childhood. 

Through Hide and Seek, I invite viewers to look back into a time when ‘reality’ and ‘pretense’ intermingle, to let go of making sense of things, and to expand the meaning of authenticity by revealing the credibility of childlike perspective. My collection celebrates rather than dismisses naive and playful ideas and associations.

Diana Eusebio: DE Colores

DE Colores addresses the colorism and common appropriation within the Hispanic community. For Afro-Latinos, daily life comes with explanations about their identity. Black is the racial group, while ‘Latino’ is language, culture, and national origin. The standard American configuration asks Black or Hispanic, choosing only part of us. DE Colores models racial variety within the Hispanic community, unified through garments inspired by the Manta, a symbol of Latin America. A Manta is a traditional woven textile native to many Latin American countries. Its bright colored stripes are sought after around the world; however, in the fashion industry it’s only a "tribal" print, neglecting its origin and cultural significance. DE Colores celebrates the racial diversity and artisans from Latin America!

Diana Eusebio is an Afro-Latina fashion designer, born to Peruvian and Dominican parents in Miami, FL. She is dedicated to merging fine art and fashion design into an experimental yet intelligent design. Eusebio is currently a sophomore Fiber major, researching race, ethnicity, nature, culture and sustainability by pioneering unconventional approaches within fashion and textiles.

Rheagen King: Libertine

Libertine, a high-end take on BDSM inspired harnesses, capes and lingerie empowers people, especially men of color, to display feelings of arousal and sexuality, presenting an authentic self in and out of the bedroom. Through revealing bandaged garments decorated with o-rings and sheer fabrics, Libertine tackles the double standards of sex that not only pressure women to censor their urges and their bodies, but pressure men to adhere to limiting ideas of sexual display.

Libertine shifts this patriarchal idea of conforming to social norms towards a more diverse and inclusive narrative centered around the feminine sexual expression. Nudity accompanies the fetish wear, as it is the most primal gesture. Libertine teases the audience with this uncensored display that is undeniably confronting; naked masculine forms donned in feminine fetish wear, reaffirming the fact that nudity – and especially male nudity, remains taboo in mainstream spaces. In this way, Libertine asks the audience to contemplate their own definitions of realness and how they contribute to conversations regarding sex and the body.

Shanna Hollis: 21 Miles

21 Miles is a statement that solidifies the identity of the designer, Shanna Hollis, a young black Bermudian female who is challenged by assimilation of American culture. People are often labeled by characteristics and stereotypes of their genders, nationalities, and ethnicities, which cause tension in personality. Though identity is influenced by our backgrounds, the majority of self is developed from our experiences, events, and environments. This body of work replicates the designer’s bold personality through the use of pop art, color evoking positivity, and play. Most importantly, Hollis would like to express aspects of her bubbly, humorous character through the use of garment and graphic design.

The name of the line derives from Bermuda’s size, which is around twenty-one square miles long, and approximately three miles wide. Also, the population of Bermuda is around 65,000 people. Growing up on such a small island, the importance of individuality and island mannerisms is extremely valued. Hollis has always seen fine arts, design, and cosmetology as her outlet for authenticity. 

Shelby Slayden & Kayleigh Efird: NICE TIME

NICE TIME investigates the sincerity of childhood memories and their influence on our personalities. We explore the transformations of youthful excitement and developmental obsessions. Icons, silhouettes, and color palettes from our models’ childhood were incorporated into their looks, creating a connection between the past and present versions of themselves. Our collection serves as a memoir to commemorate the awkward intimacy of growing up and a celebration of what’s to come. NICE TIME represents the authenticity of comfort, growth, and sentimentality that represents all ages and stories alike.

Shelby Slayden is a fine artist, illustrator, and garment designer from Miami, Florida. She is a sophomore General Fine Arts major with a concentration in Illustration. Her work features many playful motifs and figures inspired by untouched nature and her childhood.

Kayleigh Efird is an artist and designer from North Carolina. She is a sophomore Fiber major with a concentration in Illustration. Her motifs incorporate nostalgia and food into whimsical narratives and soft objects.

Will Grimm: Block

Block is a line that commemorates the routine garments of America during the 1990s. The collection looks beyond the popularized styles of the decade, focusing on the garments that went unnoticed. Children’s books and department store catalogs are among the media that inspired the line. It honors the clothing worn by ordinary, everyday people who were authentic in their time. The essentials found in this clothing have been consolidated and converted into an updated ready-to-wear line. Block was created using only found fabrics, which were then bleached. Each garment was hand-dyed and tailored to the model chosen to wear it. They invoke comfort, sincerity, and nostalgia.

Will Grimm is a creative originally from the Northside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He predominantly works with textiles and is interested in wearables and home goods. Grimm’s work investigates the intersection of craft and production. Overall themes include pattern, design, and functionality. He is a junior Fiber major and expects to graduate in May of 2019. 

Dani Brodsky & Robin Vuitch: UNDER DECONSTRUCTION

We’re currently living in a society where a lot of social change is happening. Those who have often been ignored or silenced are stepping up to fight for their voices. While this is a movement that should be celebrated, it simultaneously leaves those fighting with the bulk of the labor work. UNDER DECONSTRUCTION is our way of visually showing what it looks like to wear that labor. Our line is loud and demands attention. Through the use of alternative materials, it describes the heaviness, yet beauty, that comes with trying to make a difference. Presented with only female, People of Color, and trans models, UNDER DECONSTRUCTION aims to capture that genuineness in an aesthetic language; additionally, it is aggressive and passionate in equal measures. 

Dani Brodsky is a fiber artist from Philadelphia, PA. Her work exists within the realm of soft sculpture and garment design, often incorporating themes of domesticity and playfulness. Robin Vuitch is a sculptor from Dallas, TX. Her work unites various media, where bold color and form experimentation is made three-dimensional. 

Cathy Lin: DEAR [BLANK]

Dear [Blank] is a collection that describes living as a never-ending journey of striving to understand the essence of what it is to be human. Each look embodies a visual translation of letters that I have written during this journey, and touches on a subject addressed in those letters. Whether it be a person that I met, an environment that I have been in, or an experience that I had, all of these subjects have been given a label to disguise them as being conversations with the intangible.

Utilizing form-fitting undergarments as an expression of the most intimate part of the self and incorporating outerwear that plays with translucency, my collection explores the dichotomy between the revealing and concealing of the body and its relation to the process of unconcealing through writing. Dear [Blank] aims to amplify the minuscule details of everyday life through its comparison of the ethereal perfection that is projected into the world with the true complexity of the human condition.

Chris Chapa: dON'T rEALLY agREE

Using the rebellious attitude and the ideas of contemporary drag, “dON’T rEALLY agREE” pushes the boundaries of gender and decides that there are no limits. This collection is inspired by the artist’s personal experience with drag, resulting in both a playful yet serious attitude and an overall exploration of gender expression. Primary colors are used in contrast to the main black and white of the collection to create an off-kilter numbness whereas the accessories reveal a specific lightheartedness. Well-known and familiar items are recycled, suggesting themes of identity and conformity. This line celebrates the power of drag while questioning its relationship to gender, fashion, and performance; it encourages you to do the same.

Chris Chapa is an existential queer artist that works between various disciplines including drag, performance, fashion design and drawing. Chris works with themes of identity and uses humility mixed with narcissism to explore his anxieties and life through art. 

Chaahat Thakker: PINBALL MACHINE

In playing pinball, there is a strong sense of uncertainty. When the tab is pulled and the ball is released into a controlled space, its exact movement is unpredictable. The glass case separating the player from the ball limits the player’s control over the play, and yet somehow still keeps them fully immersed in it. In a similar sense, Pinball Machine is a collection that serves as a form of suggestive play - a type of play that the outsider doesn’t fully understand or control, but can only imagine and anticipate outcomes of. By creating forms that are loosely inspired by existing games, memories and inside jokes, I am inviting the audience to form their own authentic interpretations and conclusions to the “pinballs” before them. I hope that the audience will be immersed in a magical realm that is dominated by color, vibrancy, laughter, and ultimately, imaginative and creative play.

Andrea Barnes & Maddy Lavosky: Dripping a Sickly Sunset

Our line “Dripping a Sickly Sunset” expresses themes of desire to understand and unlock our ancestry using methods of storytelling, observation, personal memories, and artifacts. We both come from places where our identities are skewed because of the lack of clarity presented in our families’ history. Although we come from different backgrounds, we have arrived at similar conclusions.

Texture, experimentation, and repurposed imagery represents what our line is. These origins are rather contrasting, one of us growing up visiting family every summer at a privileged island off the coast of New England, while the other has a mother who escaped a tropical island tainted by the government but has never visited the country herself.

Both locations carry assumptions and different bias’, we would like to take these ideas and deconstruct them. This mixture of contrasting cultures are geographically, socially, and personally perceived differently but give us the opportunity to create something unique for the 25th Annual Benefit Fashion Show. After all, who doesn’t want to watch the sunset?!

Karryl Eugene: Topic of Discussion

In my line “Topic of Discussion”, each outfit expresses an individual theme that plays an important role in my experiences in life. The themes I use are Lover, My People, Intimacy, Conversation, Woman, Nervous, Process, and Culture. These themes have been reflected in my personal art portfolio and are often reflected in my thoughts and conversation with others. I wanted to use this platform to express each subject in its most genuine meaning to me through garment making and deconstruction of garments. The displayed themes all play an important growth in my life in many shapes and form. The pursuit of this line transcends my voice and themes in my work and personal life to another platform to be experienced. 

Kelly Zhong: HUĀSE

Traditional East Asian motifs is continuously used in contemporary fashion. Although these patterns have been used for centuries and are an integral part of my culture, I do not think they necessarily reflect the current generation of East Asians, nor do they encompass the aesthetics found in our fashion. 

H U Ā S E presents a contemporary perspective on East Asian identity. There are no dragon patterns, oriental symbols, or porcelain motifs in my fashion line. The colors are different from the gold, blues, and reds associated with traditional Chinese clothing. Instead, the color palette consists of soft pastel and neutral colors to highlight the range of skin tones and features that define us. 

The bright colors in my line come from the paper flowers I have constructed and attached onto the garments. These reference the embroidered patterns found in many Chinese textiles. The flowers bloom and wrap around different areas of the body, highlighting specific parts of my models that I find beautiful and unique.

Nick Weihe: Leftovers 

Leftovers by Nick Weihe is a collection of garments that have been reimagined for their second life using various fabric treatment methods, haphazardly applied collage imagery, and forcing components of traditional menswear to enter conversation with modern streetwear. The materials utilized are found from street-side gutters and the depths of donation bins, Leftovers uses the experiences lived by these found garments to tell a new story, giving a tired look a fresh spin. By re-imaging, re-creating and re-presenting, this is a collection of eight looks that provoke an interest in the second chance. 

Nick Weihe is a visual artist and designer from Seattle, WA who works in photography, assemblage, and sixteen-millimeter film. He is completing his first year at MICA in the photographic and electronic media MFA program. His favorite looks are always composed of deconstructed elements and an interest in personalization; he looks to bring these motifs into the Leftovers collection.