Phew! We barely made it, but I was really glad we made it. We arrived approximately 2 hours before the end of model fitting session for Art Institute of California – San Francisco “Style Now 2014” fashion show. The students and faculty members had been there since 8 or 9am on a bright but windy Saturday on May 16, 2014. I glanced at my watch, it’s 2:15pm. We quickly located Geetika Gupta and Michael Rosen, who were both busy giving feedback to student designers in the room. Faculty members Cindy Chow, Shari Schopp, and Chemda Levin were also on deck to help the students as much as they were able.
After promising to provide chocolates to Chris during the show (in which Chris grinned approvingly in response), Michael went back to giving his critiques and suggestions to the student designers, while Geetika, without missing a beat, led me to several students to talk to. The design levels are significantly improved this year, Geetika said, so it’s only natural that she’s super excited about this year’s fashion show. If the Fashion Installation event was a preface, this model fitting event is the prologue, and the main story (and epilogue) will unfold on June 14 at SOMArts Gallery, during which the AiCA-SF student designers get to showcase their talents on a fashion show they titled “Style Now.” Oh, you want to get tickets? Buy them here!
There are 15 student designers that will be featured for Style Now: Tayler Melhart, Katy Buchmueller, Lucia Mendez, Julissa Arrington, Anacelia Castro, Lauren Barisic, Josh Charles, Sade Wallace, Hieu Nguyen, Daniela Ramirez, Mai Xiong, Jesus Romero, Francisco Rodriguez, Mark Figueroa, and Makayla Jefferson. You might recognize some of them from Style Wow 2013 fashion show, so Style Now 2014 fashion show will be a great opportunity for you to see how they evolve as designers, as well as see the newly featured students. For Style Now, there will be 14 women’s collections, one kids’ collection, and one drag collection. The stakes are up this year, as each students are showing 7 – 10 looks (up from the usual 4 – 6 looks) per collection.
I first got to talk to Francisco (pictured above, left), whose collection is going to be dominantly black and white. The collection is about if Virgin Mary got married with Satan and have beautiful daughters. Yes, you just read that. I saw amazing dark, gothic pieces of Francisco’s that reminded me of Dior or Jean Paul Gaultier. He’s showing 10 looks on Style Now. He’s clearly very exhausted on that long day, yet his excitement shone through clearly when he showed me pieces of his collection.
Meanwhile, a sneak peek of some garments hanging on the clothing racks…
Jesus Romero (pictured below) was also very excited about what he’s going to showcase. The 1930s style with art deco influence are his theme for Style Now, and he’s also showing 10 looks. When asked about whether he will be able to finish executing his visions on time, he was all smiles. He got several minor fixes to do, yes, but he also got around 5 extra pieces.
“No worries”, he said confidently. I should not underestimate the time management skill of someone who did 8 years of military service!
On the other side of the room, some students were on their last tube of reserved energy, while others were in the middle of outfitting their models and getting feedback:
I didn’t know what happened between Tayler Melhart and I, but our mood / style wavelength seemed to be in sync. Just look at the picture below. Braids. Stripes. AND! She used a plaid fabric for her collection bought at a fabric store in Berkeley. Guess who bought the remnant of the very same plaid fabric at the same store? Me! Synced wavelength aside, Tayler has exciting things for her 90s hip-hop inspired collection. I saw bodysuit silhouette in latex in the mix of pieces in her collection of 10 looks. Like many of her peers, Tayler has pieces that will give you a complete visual impact once they’re put together. Can’t wait!
With about 1.5 hour until the model fitting session officially ended, there were many actions to be found around the room, especially for pants fittings:
Daniela Ramirez (pictured below) has a collection that seemed to be more minimalistic than others I saw. She emphasized simple-looking, immaculately-constructed shapes that reminded me of Jil Sander pieces. Black, dark blue, burgundy colors will be featured in her collection of 7 looks, and I particularly love the burgundy fur coat that she showed me. I can just pet it lovingly all day. I’m proud to say that I was able to restrain myself after 5 minutes.
Did I say the it was busy that day? They might be exhausted, but the students and teachers were still pinning, and the models were still walking:
Josh Charles (pictured below, right) went “all bridal” for one of his two collections. His couture bridal collection is mostly black and featured beautiful gowns with exaggerated bottom shapes. They’re “Loved to Death,” he said. And from what I saw, I think we’re in for a treat. And that’s not including his other collection, which he promised to feature more androgynous drag looks. Unlike last year’s comfortable feeling, nervousness got mixed with excitement for Josh this year, which could only meant a good sign for the upcoming fashion show.
Lauren Barisic (who was previously featured on last year’s show, FOTS 2013, and got to show her collection on New York MBFW last fall) shared Josh’s nervous feeling, which I’m sure was also shared with many other student designers. The 7 – 10 looks per collection is such a raised bar for AiCA-SF fashion students this year, so they’re pushing themselves out there with their vision, passion, and everything they have to present great collections for public! Everybody, get the Style Now 2014 Fashion Show tickets here!
A little bit more action before the model fitting session came to a close:
Sure enough, Geetika called out all of the student designers for closing remarks with her and Michael at around 4:10pm. Oh, one more picture to snap with the last model in the room. The models for Style Now 2014 fashion show are from Star, Look, and City model agencies.
The closing remarks echoed what Geetika said at the beginning of our arrival. The stakes are higher this year, the show production is more professional (for instance, you will see M.A.C. Cosmetics’ Victor Cembellin doing the Style Now model makeup). This is all to prepare the student designers to the reality of fashion industry is. Geetika and Michael reminded the students to gather themselves together and focus on the last leg of the Style Now preparation. They have to finish all of their looks, think carefully about their styling, do their scheduled meetings with Michael, send their biography and other documents to Geetika on-time, make more one-on-one sessions with their models as necessary, promote their works on social media, make sure they do their rehearsals if they want to walk on the finale, and…I can perhaps go on and on with this. Serious hard work and passion…you just HAVE to love doing this on daily basis if you really want to make it in fashion.
“Now get back to the labs,” Michael smiled. But I don’t think for a second that he’s joking. But who knows :)
As the students gathered their pieces and carried them away, Geetika and I scored a picture together. The one picture Chris took of Jesus carrying a s**tload of garments in his arms was perhaps my favorite picture of the day.
And even after the session’s over, Michael still chatted with some students from the production team (Matilda Goude, Cheyenne Dunn, Wren sayler, Daniel Frazier-Sundberg, Reshma Prasad, Daphne Cornelis, and Tristyn Jordan Martinez). I’m really excited for this show!
We managed to borrow Michael for several seconds so we can have one more picture together after the room was cleared and the clothing racks were empty:
Thank you for reading, are you excited about Style Now 2014 fashion show? Once again, I think you don’t want to miss this one, so get your tickets!
Have a great one,