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Washington University Fashion Show Goes Virtual
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Washington University Fashion Show Goes Virtual

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The Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University has taken its students’ work to a digital stage. On May 9, fashion design program students hosted the annual fashion design show online.

In its 91st year, the fashion show has gone on through war and peace, boom economies and periods of recession, and more. The show now serves as a symbol of continuance and perseverance through today’s pandemic.

The participating students spent nine months working on their projects with faculty, alumni, industry friends and staff, according to an Instagram post containing a live stream of the show.

"We are proud that each student will graduate with a portfolio of work that shows a specific visual vocabulary and design aesthetic, thereby setting the stage for a career as a fashion designer," the post's caption reads.

Senior lecturer Claire Thomas-Morgan designed a website that showcases each senior student’s capstone collection.

Eric Li’s collection touches on elevating identity beyond racial and cultural constructs through minimalist and gender-ambiguous designs. Meredith Liu reflected the Japanese art of kintsugi in her designs, highlighting brokenness in form with laser-cut motifs and gold details as a symbol of strength.

Raelyn Browning launched an exploration of the unknown in her “Space Renaissance” collection, combining retro silhouettes with hyper-bright visuals and futuristic forms, in an ode to the vast range of emotions humans experience throughout a lifetime.

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Raelyn Browning's collection “Space Renaissance” is described as "an exploration of human emotion."

Chandler Marten reflects on the emotional response of the population enduring a pandemic in his collection, which explores the human being’s physical confines and innate fragility through textured silhouettes and symbolic red natural dyes. Matthew McLoughlin explores sensuality and carnal fetishes in his creations, aiming to highlight the savage quality of humans through high-neck silhouettes and animal-print textures.

In Lina Willey’s collection, the designer portrays the psychology behind “the American dream,” bringing forth suburbia’s subconscious and spotlighting laborers who make privatization possible through monochromatic designs and absurdist accessories.

The virtual event involved a display of these capstone collections and also the announcement of community awards.

Award winners include:

  • The Saks Fifth Avenue Honorary Designer Award, given to Eric Li whose collection was deemed the most marketable
  • The Dominic Michael Silver Scissors Designer of the Year Award, given to Lina Willey for showing compelling creativity and exceptional skill in conception and execution
  • The Susan Sanders Block Silver Ripper Award, given to junior Sasha Bash who has shown substantial growth, both conceptually and in her craft
  • The Riverbend Textiles Sustainable Design Leadership Award, given to junior Genna Torgan for demonstrating exceptional thought and practice toward sustainable fashion

Watch the entire fashion show and awards ceremony via The Sam Fox School, YouTube or Instagram at IGTV.

Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University, St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, 314-935-9300 (office of the dean), 314-935-6500 (office of student services), samfoxschool.wustl.edu

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