This Thursday, SF State will host its 28th annual Spring Fashion Show, Runway 2023: Kinetic. Design and merchandising students together created a show that showcases sustainability.
“Slow down,” Professor Stephanie Currie calls out to a runway model from across the room. Tuesday was the first day students rehearsed for the event at the facility, Annex I.
The dress rehearsal was crucial in fine-tuning the final details of the program. Local high school students stood as practice viewers for the show.
Although it took a long time to find a name for the series, “Kinetic” was chosen because of its association with the future. The program coordinators wanted to convey the message “thinking forward, moving forward”, as the slogan says.
Karina Alvarado, website merchandiser and model, explained the decision making process.
“We wanted something that wasn’t too fashion-focused, even though it’s a fashion show,” said Alvarado. “Seniors are moving forward in their careers, and they’re also moving forward as we move the fashion industry towards sustainability.”
The message of the designs is that there is no need to throw away garments, they can be upcycled to recreate and extend their life.
Fashion Network Association president Samantha Griswold says the name of the show is related to the energy they want to portray. He also mentions difficulties organizing an event in just one semester.
“Last week we were concerned about not having lights, pipes and curtains, so we were a bit frustrated, but it all worked out,” Griswold said.
This year it will be the first fashion show since the pandemic. Last year, a small version of the show was held at Malcolm X Plaza, where only 50 people were allowed to attend.
“Because this is the first fashion show we’ve done since COVID, it was a bit difficult to get everything back to how it was,” said junior designer Luca Panzarella. “They’re trying to do it the way they used to do it this time, and trying to bring everyone back to that has been difficult.
The performance consists of three parts. First, some items are displayed at the entrance. The main theme is zero waste, i.e. no fabric is wasted. There is no scrub and all clothes are reused.
Stephanie Currie, professor and event coordinator, explained the purpose of the projects done in the breakout.
“The whole idea [garments] there is the idea of doing something unique that is not common in the industry,” said Currie.
In this first part, before the show, viewers can vote which song they think is the most effective in terms of the zero waste concept. The winner with the best project will be awarded with cash scholarships.
Younger designers are responsible for the second part of the show. They gave a second life to the clothes they received from donations of Good Will. In addition, students invented and created new songs.
During the second act, a mood board with before and after snippets will be shown.
Junior designers and models Paris Choy and Alyssa Burtis created each other’s looks. They both felt happy with the original clothes they received for work. While Choy was inspired by kimonos and Victorian styles, Burtis opted for a 2000 style.
“The original clothing gave me a lot of inspiration for the work, so it’s like things are stacking on top of each other and adding more to make it more beautiful,” said Choy.
The third and final part is senior collections. Each collection contains three pieces.
One of the senior designers, Karina Saekow, explained how stressful the experience was, but she is proud of her work. Her “Verizon City” collection is inspired by natural, fairy-tale and feminine concepts.
“Searching for fabrics was difficult, I used a lot of different sources to find color palettes that I liked,” said Saekow. “I think I’ve been lucky in finding specific patterns on my fabrics and everything to make them really consistent.”
Merchandising is also an important element of the event. Students oversee the promotion as well as the decorations and composition of the event. The show was promoted in a variety of ways, from banners to them website to various social media platforms.
One of the most difficult challenges they faced during this process was the collaboration between the merchandising and design students.
“I think the designers are very focused on their design – that’s what they’re really good at, and we as retailers try to give them the best possible show so that the guys highlight everything they’ve been working on,” Alvarado said.
Clothing donations and funds for the show came from sponsors such as Goodwill, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the California Product Stewardship Program.
The fashion show did not receive much support from the university. Alvarado said this is a recurring problem from previous fashion shows and improves the way students are the ones doing it.
“The other thing is you don’t have much support from the university,” said Alvarado. “It was literally just our merchandising class of 30-40 students trying to put on a whole show, not only for the school but also for people in the city, people in the industry and without the support of groups outside of our class and our faculty are very difficult”.
Fundraising for the project began in autumn last year and continued in spring. Students participated by selling things for Valentine’s Day.
Typically, the participants are mostly family and friends, but will be joined by sponsors. There is also hope that people from the fashion industry will show up.
“Students promoted it in thrift stores and upcycling stores, in retail [stores]their co-workers, where they work and try [invite] anyone interested in fashion and anyone interested in sustainable fashion,” Currie said.
By Tuesday, around 250 to 300 tickets had been sold. They expect about 100 more guests at the door. According to Currie, the facility has a capacity of 600 people, which was filled during previous events.
The Runaway 2023: Kinetic will take place on Thursday, May 11 at 19:00 in Annex I. Gates open from 18:00. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at website.