Fashionably Early

Aspiring designers preview their work.
By Tristan Johnston
[staff writer]

On the Dec. 4, 35 fashion design students gathered in the foyer of KPU Richmond to show off their ideas. Every table had example materials for future clothing ideas, along with lookbooks and a concept. The event is a preview of a proper fashion show that will happen in April, when students have made a few pieces that are runway ready.

Most of the designs aren’t quite as extravagant as you may expect. Designers in the event emphasized that their work was more commercial than avant-garde. Among them was high-end technical denim wear, commuter wear for women and maternity clothing. Some lines were a little closer to the avant-garde line with some being much more minimalistic while others were unisex.

It makes a lot of sense in that regard, as KPU’s fashion program combines the actual creativity and skill of making clothing, but also the marketing and business end.

“[It’s] a preview of our collections, so students can actually practice presenting before the show,” says Sofia Fiorentino, one of the students presenting her line at the show.

“The collections [displayed at the event] are so-to-say a theory of what they would look like if you were to produce the whole collection, but for the show we just need to piece together three outfits. Usually an average between 13 and 15 pieces,” Fiorentino says.

Big industry names like Arc’teryx, Mountain Equipment Co-op and Lululemon sometimes show up for the main fashion show and possibly the preview as well. “Our program is known for having good connections with the fashion industry. That’s one of the big things that attracts people to the program, that you’re actual going to get placed in a real job. Instead of being left on your own when you’re done, the jobs look for you,” says Fiorentino.

Regardless, as with many “prestigious” professions, fashion hopefuls are typically expected to go through the internship gauntlet. One of the internships students partake in is done in their third year as part of the curriculum, where they get school credit, not money.

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