What does the future hold for Indy Fashion Talent?

Many people within the fashion industry of Indianapolis have heard of Midwest Fashion Week. “Midwest Fashion Week (MFW) began in 2006 when Catou fashion designer Berny Martin, saw a need for a Midwest outlet to showcase local, national, and international designers, models, stylists, and photographers”, states the Midwest Fashion Week website. Tuesday night I attended one of my favorite Midwest Fashion Week events, The New School Of Fashion: The student fashion show at the Madame Walker Theater. I like seeing the student organized show because it gives a glimpse of what the future talent looks like around Indy. Students and graduates from colleges across the state have the opportunity to participate in the show.

I took my front row seat between Antonio Fermin, who will be showing at Saturdays gala closing fundraising event, and a model walking in a future show. I clearly noticed a lot of friends and family in the audience, but there were a few of hidden gems of fashion insiders at the show. I was ready to see what the future looks like. Feel free to start singing “I believe the Children are our future”. I was ready to judge away until Martin, who introduced the show, half-joked for all press present to be nice to the talent. 🙂

My overall impression of the show was that the designers had a strong aesthetic with specific concepts in mind. The student designers were not afraid to use color, texture, and pattern. I noticed a lot of bold colors used in the collections. Kelsi Brown decided to use plum, tangerine, and yellow fabrics to create feminine baby doll dresses. Anastasia used a mix of neon yellow and orange balanced with a military inspired green. The colors were being used in very creative ways. The thing that caused my eyebrow to raise was the overuse of a diverse color palate in the designing. Many of the pieces were well constructed and thought out, however the color choices caused the looks to look messy and thrown together. It is important when designing or even styling, to make sure the look is balanced. A few of the designers were able to control their color palate. They balanced bold colors with deeper shades and neutrals. The use of a diverse and eccentric color palate, necessitates that the designs be flawless. Can’t half ass it. That aside, I was encouraging to see local talent take the risk with color combinations.

My biggest challenge with the student designs was the awkward use of fabrics. The construction and idea of the designs were really spot on, but then in certain instances, I felt like the wrong fabric was being used for the design. One designer made an intriguing floor length dress with a lot of layers. The dress was well designed but the fabric used looked like a thick couch fabric. This made the dress look too stiff and bulky. There were other designers who choose great fabrics that worked for the drape of their skirts and open front cardigans. Some designers hit the fabric choice nail right on the head, others made very awkward choices.

After the show was over, I wondered, what happens next? Where is the talent going? There were designers there that I wanted to see more of and to follow their evolution. Due to my interest in men’s fashion & style, I was especially interested in where Taylor Groft would end up post-graduation. I really enjoyed his creative vision for men’s wear. A futuristic aesthetic in which he mixed wool blend fabrics with a thick plastic to create a unique silhouette often found on the runways of Milan. I have to admit when I first saw the designs I shook my head. Then I looked at his construction and detail of his simple designs and saw a fantastic garment. I don’t think I was alone in finding a level of appreciation for his aesthetic. Groft tied for the winner of the show. (The winner will have to opportunity to show at the Emerge fashion show during New York Fashion Week.)

There was energy, passion, and risk in the designs of the show. Definitely a lot of potential, but my biggest concern as I drove home was how can Indianapolis keep the talent here in our city? How as a fashion community are we supporting and encouraging younger talent to invest in a culture many of us already believe in? What do you think?

Images courtesy of Esther Boston Photography.

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