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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

UC Davis on the runway

Funmilayo Alabi is one of the students from University of California, Davis showcasing her collection at the Picnic Day fashion show. Alabi, a design major, graduated from UC Davis in Winter quarter 2012.

“I don’t even know where I am at right now; I kind of want to go sit in on some classes,” said Alabi of her life after graduation. Amid this quarter-life crisis of sorts, Alabi prepares to present her collection later this month, even as she is busy searching for internships in the ruthless industry of fashion design.

Alabi, who dreams to work for Marc Jacobs, plans to study abroad in Japan over the coming summer. Her collection titled Milayo is designed with a flair reminiscent of the insouciant street style that is prevalent in Harajuku, Japan’s style capital. In fact, Alabi counts Harajuku as one of her many style inspirations.

Inspired by Alabi’s ancestral tribe, the Yorubas, and the Rio carnival, Milayo embodies an urban safari. “For the past few weeks, I have been adding new garments to the collection. It looks like a crazy, fun carnival,” Alabi said of the collection.

Alabi’s clothes contain elements made of hair and bright fabrics hand-painted with tribal motifs. The collection currently stands at five complete garments and she hopes to add another before the presentation to bring the total to six finished pieces.

In addition to the clothes, the presentation itself promises to be an elaborate affair with tribal face-painted masks, hair embellishments and body paint. “I never want to stop; I like crazy and bizarre things when it comes to fashion,” Alabi said.

She plans to add a vibe of the jungle with her accessories such as beads and shells in the models’ hair. The makeup is inspired by the women of the Yoruba tribe, in which these face masks are considered powerful symbols of femininity.

However, Alabi is concerned that extravagant accessories might make the looks overwhelming, as the garments themselves are dyed in ostensibly bright golds and reds.

Alabi initially planned on creating her own shoes akin to Alexander Wang’s pony hair booties circa 2011. “Well at first I wanted to have my models in no shoes at all, barefoot even — but I need them to be taller than they are now,” Alabi said. ”I’m still debating on adding hair onto the shoe.”

With the fashion show mere weeks away, Alabi seemed more than aware of the time constraint. “I’m freaking out. Where did all the time go?” Alabi said.  Alabi is currently buying more hair for her garments as she experiments with brighter colors and new motifs.

Perhaps the biggest change to be commended is in Alabi’s outlook towards her work itself, which has shifted perceptibly from critical to pride in the collection. “I thought I had a favorite piece from the collection but it keeps changing. I love all of my garments.”

SASHA SHARMA can be contacted at arts@theaggie.org.


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