Being a fashion designer is a lot of work. Designers should be anthropologists and study cultures to understand what people want now , historians should figure out why people want what they want, and analysts predict and predict what people will want. Studying fashion design is an equally complex and contradictory pursuit: how does one understand the limitations while exploring the boundaries of one’s own creativity?
This dichotomy was on full display this weekend when the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) held its annual fashion show on its Atlanta campus. While every class of students is different, and each of their collections provides a time capsule of the world we live in, this particular group is unique. During the pandemic, they have spent most of their time on campus – midway through their freshman year, restrictions began, effectively taking them out of studios and classrooms, and Confine them to the bedroom of their own home.
“Perhaps it’s not surprising that the pandemic has many students looking inward for inspiration,” said Dirk Standen, SCAD School of Fashion Dean. “These collections often come with Deeply autobiographical.” While the fashion world is busy connecting with its Gen Z counterparts through celebrity collaborations, viral TikTok microtrends and influencers, these new fashion designers are embracing their own Personal stories communicate sincerely with each other. Visiting the school and having conversations with the graduating class over a weekend earlier this month gave insight into the themes that were on the minds of these students: abortion rights, manliness, the environment, the future (both their own and the planet’s), Technology, love and identity.
Kate Assimus shows off three looks from her “Abortion Barbie” collection, which she created in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. In a dress made of intertwined blood red and white panties, she deftly combined her generation’s passion for body-hugging silhouettes with today’s resounding statement of women’s rights. Garren Hayes’s exploration of masculinity is similar: transforming a caged corset or a classic white tank top into a lacy blouse, he offers a nuanced interpretation of what it means to be manly and menswear2023.
Daniel Phillips explores their own sexuality and gender fluidity while nodding to their family’s motorcycle racing history; combining repurposed biker leather with gender-extended silhouettes, they lend a twist to familiar design tropes. unique interpretation. Ditto Byrony Umfreville’s menswear collection upends the deck uniform worn by her navy-serving grandfather and fishing father. Anyssa Merlini, chair of SCAD’s Slow Fashion Club, also uses pre-existing fabrics. She’s used them to explore fairy tales and ideas of escapism, though her incredibly durable coats prove she also understands the realities we live in. The same goes for Jaiwei Yang’s use of existing garments – skirt and bucket hat combo garments made from old T-shirts are striking – Torrion Reed’s impressive shelf-ready denim pieces .
In other place, Bennett Moses finds inspiration in what makes us human – making DNA and RNA – creating futuristic amplified silhouettes in custom chromic fabrics. Also looking to the future is Layla Wan; her colorful sculptures are as fitting for today as they are for tomorrow. Nathan Batra’s laser-cut, UV-printed fabrics and layered silhouettes combine his past life studying medicine with a tech-friendly fashion future. Malik Gilbert also looks at the body to express his futuristic POV – a hyper-realistic jacket with a bare torso was impressive, showing what imagination can achieve with the right resources at hand.