It has been 10 years since Fashion On The Square event was first brought to live by founder Y’Anad Burrell. From an outdoor fashion show to an indoor affair to the now week-long fashion events in 2014, Fashion On The Square 2014 (FOTS 2014) has surely came a long way. We did an interview with Y’Anad as FOTS 2014 events started to unfold, and we got to see the FOTS 2014 finale runway show on Sunday, July 27, 2014 at Intercontinental Hotel, San Francisco. Local Bay Area designers Cindy Quach, Fely Tchaco, and Artful Gentleman were the top fashion standouts on a two-hour show of 11 fashion segments.
I like the concept of introducing young women on the stage to recite “I Rise” and “Phenomenal Woman” poems by Maya Angelou. If delivered wholeheartedly, those two poems could be powerful and set the bar strong for the rest of the evening. Alas, a majority of these girls were very nervous on stage.
Those who remembered their lines delivered them well, but the others…not so much. Unfortunately, being the first ones the audience saw on stage meant delivering the first impression of the FOTS 2014 finale. Therefore, I’m sure they did great during previous days’ fashion shows, but the poems recitation was dragging and awkward. It brought down the energy level a couple notches. It’s an example of good intention coupled with shabby execution.
BUT! Y’Anad was up next to restore the excitement. Wearing a dress made by Soazig Kaam (and another one by Rachel Riot later that evening), she told the audience of the great things to behold that evening. Later on that night, her family surprised her with a special Burrell family presentation that left her speechless and deeply moved. After all, FOTS this yeas is as much a celebration of local talents as a celebration of Y’Anad as its founder. Once again, congratulations Y’Anad for her relentless drive to showcase Bay Area talents for 10 years!
Y’Aand, along with the FOTS 2014 hosts Christie James, Kevin Nichols, and Paula Harrell kept the event going that night. From designers / FOTS awardee introductions to raffles, they did it all! One more highlight of the night is having wire artist Kristine Mays on the stage. Her wire dresses are an execution of fine art, and I had the pleasure to see her during SF Open Studios in 2011. I got a letter “M” made of wire from her, and it remains one of my treasured possessions.
Wilkes Bashford, the recipient of Fashion Trend Icon Award was a delight that evening, from his lighthearted conversation with Y’Anad on the stage to his adorable “holy $#!t” cursing before walking down to the end of the runway per Y’Anad’s request. He’s a fine example of a fashion legend, and do visit the Wilkes Bashford’s San Francisco store at 375 Sutter St. if you haven’t had a chance!
Another person I’d like to mention is Jake Wall from the Artful Gentleman. His runway presentation of mixing classics with modern twist (you can see his presentation below) was easily in the Top 3 of the whole evening. He’s the recipient of Giving Heart Award, and he will also have the SUIT UP for EQUALITY fashion show on August 14, 2014. You can see and shop new collections from Artful Gentleman, Cari Borja, and Sounthavong. Your ticket price will be deducted from the items’ price when you shop!
Last but not least: Caroline Rocher. Her movements were so fluid and divine, and the mix of ballet and contemporary dance flavored with argentine tango passion was a joy to behold. She’s going to retire soon, so it was quite an honor to see one of her few last performances on FOTS 2014 that evening.
List of Fashion On The Square 2014 Finale Designers
With that said, here are the list of designers showing their collections and mini-collections that night. I created this list below for your easy viewing so you don’t have to scroll down forever, and at the end of each designers’ feature, there’s a “Back to List of FOTS10 Finale Designers” to go back to this list here. Enjoy! As always, photos by Christian Hadidjaja.
- Jordan Epstein
- Leye Tchaco (by Fely Tchaco)
- Christina Morgan Cree
- Lynn Boone
- Crochet Couture (by Felicia Dietrich)
- Rock Rio Design (by Ricky Lee)
- Black and White Trend (Students Segment)
- Josh Charles
- Tina Wenting
- Kanyarat Tapeneeyakorn
- Lily Lei
- Soazig Kaam
- Ronita Wheatfall
- MK Nguyen
- Ali Gold
- Lauren Barisic
- Stephanie Bodnar
- Ali Thorn Couture
Those who went to Academy of Art University 2014 Graduation Fashion Show must’ve remembered Jordan’s collection. It was a certain crowd-pleaser and a great marketable collection to see once more.
Leye Tchaco (by Fely Tchaco)
Fely’s collection was the biggest surprise of the evening. They were vibrant, bold, and well-made, and there were plenty to choose favorites from for both genders. Fely’s “Modern Ethnic” fashion uses African fabrics that are only handmade in her village. Until that point, I know Fely as a great model and singer, but now I also need to add “fashion designer” to her list of greatness. She’s currently raising money to show her collection at Paris Fashion Week, so let’s help her out!
Christina Morgan Cree
Hailing from St. Cruz, Christina’s RTW collection offered nice details in basic outfits. Only after the last three gowns were presented did the audience’s excitement increased in volumes. I wish we saw a lot more of those gorgeous gowns.
Big, bold, and beautiful. Lynn designed for curvy women, and they certainly had so much fun on the runway!
Crochet Couture (by Felicia Dietrich)
The DJ said, “You don’t see THESE kinds of crochets at your grandma’s house!” and he was right. I like them, but I wonder if they will hold up its delicate prettiness if I wear it to a water park, like San Jose’s Raging Waters.
Rock Rio Design (by Ricky Lee)
A great number of ladies took pictures of the first model, and I think you can guess why. I like the airy, semi-transparent tanks, colorful board shorts, and the studded-crotch pants from Ricky Lee’s collection.
There were 11 students from various schools showcasing their talents in a 2-piece “Black and White Trend” mini-collection. If you went to (or read) California College of the Arts 2014 Fashion Show or StyleNOW fashion show from Art Intitute of California – San Francisco earlier this year, you would definitely recognize familiar faces here! Kudos for the UC-Berkeley students, as the school doesn’t have a fashion program!
Josh Charles – AiCA-SF
Tina Wenting – UC-Berkeley
Kanyarat Tapeneeyakorn – UC-Berkeley
Lily Lei – CCA
Soazig Kaam – UC-Berkeley
Ronita Wheatfall – Oakland
MK Nguyen – CCA
Ali Gold – CCA
Lauren Barisic- AiCA-SF
Stephanie Bodnar – SF Fashion Incubator Program
Ali Thorn Couture – City College of San Francisco
After the students’ showcase, Lauren showed the same collection she first debuted during StyleNOW fashion show a few months ago. From the audience reaction, I could gather that she’ll have new prospective clients soon!
The presentation was sharp, the suits were great, the models were confident and had fun going down the runway wearing Artful Gentleman. What’s not to love?
For a presentation that has the subtitle “Manic Design”, I was expecting something much more outrageous, bordering apocalyptic in nature. What went down the runway was anything but. They looked nice, though.
Having seen Cindy’s work on Academy of Art University 2013 Graduation Fashion Show and her mini-collection at FOTS 2013, I wasn’t surprised she got recruited for Project Runway. But she has another plan, which is to launch her own brand and open her flagship store at Los Altos. See her creations below and see if you’ll be one of the first ones who will own a Cindy Quach creation once the store opens!
Thank you once again to Y’Anad for having us again for this special 10th anniversary celebration. Fashion On The Square 2014 proved that the Bay Area has a great pool of talents and we are excited to see their next chapters. On the finale production side, I believe some segments needed more rehearsals so they were not dragging as long, and coordination between what’s showing on the runway and on screen could’ve been made tighter. Regardless, congratulations for all the volunteers who worked hard to make the week-long FOTS events possible, and I wish the best for more FOTS showcases for years to come!
Thank you for reading, until next time,