UC Davis Fashion and Design Society (FADS) held “Threads in Motion” spring fashion show at SOMArts Cultural Center on April 28, 2013. 15 mini-collections from student designers, consisting of 4-6 looks each were presented on the runway. While I’m happy that the student-run FADS provides the medium and means for these students to take 10 weeks to create their Signature Fashion Collection at UC Davis Threads in Motion fashion show that expresses their own design aesthetics, I was underwhelmed with the overall results.

There are three mini-collections that I love, but I believe UC-Davis students have their work cut out for them if they’d like to be on similar level as AIC-San Francisco, California College of the Arts, or Academy of Arts students. The concepts and story behind their collections are beautiful, however the execution level leaves a lot to be desired.

Nevertheless, it does not take away the fact that UC-Davis FADS creates healthy medium that foster design talents, leadership, and production experience for the students. The show started on time, the setting was streamlined and clean, and the flow was minimal but very organized. Faye Lessler and Minh-Chau Nguyen were charming MCs and kept the show rolling without much fluff. I really appreciate that. Therefore, without further ado, here are the students’ collections.

Faye Lessler – “The Modern Counterculture”

This sustainable fashion collection mix organic, natural fabrics with upcycled materials. I like the patches detail on the pants of the 2nd look, but the one that stands out is the swinging A-line dress at the end. Now that’s eco chic.

Minh-Chau Nguyen – “Concentric”

I actually like Minh-Chau’s interpretation of Vietnamese national costume Ao Dai. The model styling, circle shapes that are present throughout, and the colors. However, I wonder if it’s too whimsical that it almost crosses the line of being clownish.

Jessica Xiong – “Traditionally Modern”

I’m not too fond of the silhouettes, especially the first look. Are they too sexy-looking and constricting for such youthful, summery fabrics? In addition, the colors are good, but they’re very shiny that any fit issues are apparent right away.

Brittany Nelson – “To Greece, Me Agape”

Brittany’s collection is easy, casual, and makes me want to Greece. Or just go to the beach on a warm summer day. I like the pants on the 1st look the most.

Jessica Dutt – “Sanskriti Ki Sanayojan”

I have a soft spot for Indian outfits; the silhouettes, fabrics, women….they’re beautiful creatures. I like the first pants the most, but was that a safety pin I saw at the center back side there?

Denise Tirado – “La Adelita”

This Adelita dress collection lifts up the mood. The vibrant colors, cute bow, the styling…..so cute! I like the last look the most; flowy and feminine, it’s just fun to watch.

Valeire Mores – “Emrys”

I wish I can say that this collection is stuff of legend. But in reality, it’s far from it. The silver “armor pieces” bring down the whole looks and make them look cheap. The sword at the end is too much and too gimmicky, I question its presence in a runway show.

Linda Nguyen – “Veiled Romance”

Since the models wore masks (and I could not see their eyes), I became more focused on the models’ walk. And I felt bad for the first model since she could hardly walk. Overall, I’m not really feeling this collection (the silk fabrics are beautiful, though).

Cassie Luetgens – “Lexington”

The architectural inspiration of the Chrysler building builds great shapes and concepts for this collection, however the metallic accents are really unforgiving in revealing construction problems. The last look of black illusion dress with metallic “stream” at the back is by far the standout of this Cassie’s collection.

Jasmine Scott – “Mid-Century Mystique”

My favorite collection of the bunch, hands down. Jasmine gets it right; the quirky, whimsical, youthful, fun, colorful, elegant, and even mystical qualities that beam from each and every outfit. Long after the day’s gone, Jasmine’s flowy collection is still fresh in my mind. And that oversize bubble skirt with high-low hem? Divine.

Stephanie Ang – “Anvengers, Suit Up!”

This is another collection I don’t get. I have nothing against being inspired with Avengers superheroes and imagining how they would look like in a business meeting, but these outfits did not seem to give the inspiration justice (no pun intended). They look forced and have this trying-too-hard-to-be-cool vibe; trapped between modern silhouettes with cartoonish concept / treatment. It never took off.

Alyssa Goldsmith – “Emphemeral Moon”

I love the ethereal but almost deconstructed quality of the outfits. The majority of the outfits is romantic (although I don’t particularly like the arm bell sleeves on the 2nd outfit) yet packs some toughness underneath. Alyssa herself walked the runway for the 3rd outfit. On a side note, I love the styling and music choices for this segment.

Annie Oakes & Moriah Agoustari – “Desert at Dusk”

This collection is OK overall. The fabrics are good and the silhouettes are clean. While the top part is looking cardboard-y, the fit of the bottom for the black/blue jumpsuit at the end is gorgeous.

Rachel Law – “Aloha Kau Wela”

I like Rachel’s leafy skirt on the first outfit (which she herself models). But I love the pineapple outfit (2nd look), I really do. The texture on those pants are gorgeous. This collection’s concept and execution result are clear and clean. The easy dresses and flowy outfits invite you to go Hawai’i or tropical beaches of your choice.

Faizan Dar – “Denizens of the Deep”

This collection has potential. Its story inspiration of marine life’s richness and degradation is solid. I wish I could say the same about the outfits. It’s strong, it’s mysterious, the fabrics are gorgeous….but I wished the shoulder horns are sturdier, because as visual points, they look quite flimsy (instead of menacing) and bring the outfits’ overall quality down. It looks like a distraction to an otherwise solid dress collection. Don’t get me wrong, Faizan clearly has the talent (just look at Melange 2012 Fashion Show history), this is just a bit of a misstep.

So there you have it, UC Davis Threads in Motion student designers’ work. I commend them on the fashion show production aspect of keeping it short, clean, and on-time. Bigger productions in the city can learn a thing or two from these younger producers. However, in terms of overall quality, UC Davis is not yet on the similar level as the other top fashion schools in the Bay Area.

The talents are promising, and it all boils down to individuals’ taste level. It is very subjective. I do however, think they need to work more in the presentation, especially the choice of models. I love seeing models of all sizes on the runway, but they need to walk in such a way that the audience see the clothes and not being distracted by some models’ wonky walk, swinging arms, shyness, or combination of all the above and beyond. More often than not, I found myself being distracted by the models. Thank God for Chris’ pictures above, otherwise I’ll be just writing about Jasmine Scott’s collection.

The models are crucial because they are the bridge of garment presentation from the internal design/production team to the outside world, to help you present and “sell” the clothes you design and construct. The first step to bring your garments to live outside the runway. I’m probably being too serious about this whole model/presentation topic. However, if you are interested to make a living (or at least make a business) out of fashion design work, I believe my feedback is basic tips to get buyers, stylists, or anybody interested in your garments and know more about you.

That being said, congratulations to the student designers and UC Davis FADS for the fashion show!

Until next time,
Musank