Student designs at Dress Code | Bleader

Student designs at Dress Code


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A look from Carly Hamer
As high winds buffeted the tent outside the Chicago History Museum—where the runway show "Dress Code" was held Wednesday night—causing the fabric walls to ripple and lighting rigs to sway, I couldn’t help but wonder how the headlines would read if everything were to collapse onto the assembled audience of fashion students, instructors, journalists, models, and designers. “Local fashion industry decimated” sounded good, if a bit dramatic. But this show—devoted to the work of students at the International Academy of Design & Technology, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College, and the Illinois Institute of Art—is all about drama. As students, the designers don’t have to worry about marketability, hanger appeal, or target audiences. If they go on to work in the industry, they’ll probably never again have the opportunity to be more purely creative in their work.

Not everything worked, of course, but these are young people who are learning, and as recent thought has suggested, failure may be more important to success than previously understood. Still, there were several admirable pieces. Carly Hamer of Columbia College created pieces with swoops of beige and taupe-colored material to offer contemporary designs that look simultaneously contemporary and art deco. I also liked the floaty desert-wear dresses by Columbia’s Nicole Johnson.

Nicole Johnson

Sadly I didn’t get any good pictures of SAIC student Bonnie Alayne’s sumptuous dresses, including some gowns with voluminous, exaggerated empire-waist skirts of textured material that looked like wool, topped with lace bodices—medieval peasant chic. (You can see them toward the middle of the page here.) Marta Cebrat, who also makes jewelry, showed Egyptian-inspired column dresses shot through with panels of bright color.

Marta Cebrat

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