Boasting a wide variety of fashion designs by student designers and local clothing boutiques, an a cappella performance and a good cause, the UC Davis Student Fashion Association’s annual charity fashion show hit Davis on April 5.
Fully student-run, this year’s SFA fashion show was held at the UC Davis Conference Center, and featured original clothing and fashion pieces for over 150 community members to view.
“The SFA fashion show is not just a show that we put on for an audience,” said SFA president, and fourth-year textiles and clothing and communication double major Nicky Lei. “It’s also an opportunity for UC Davis students to learn how to put on a show and experience all of the hard work that goes into creating a fashion show. It’s a chance for them to work with other students who have the same interests and to build up their connections and skills.”
Not only did the event serve as a showcase for aspiring student designers, but all proceeds were donated to Project Night Night, a non-profit organization that donates childhood essentials to homeless children.
“The fashion show is an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” Lei said.
This year’s show theme was “Utopia,” which attempted to showcase an idealistic view of the fashion field.
“We wanted to choose a theme that was broad and abstract enough for designers to design their collection towards,” Lei said. “Utopia is the designer’s vision of their ideal world, their favorite personal style or styles or even the reflection of their biggest inspirations as a designer.”
This year’s theme was somewhat inspired by the recent relevance of utopian and dystopian societies in popular culture.
“Utopia was kind of a play on all the movies coming out right now, like Divergent, Hunger Games and all those,” said third-year communication and sociology organizational studies double major, and SFA Public Relations and Marketing officer Bella Ly. “They’re more of a dystopia, but we were thinking of what the designers would see as their utopia fashion-wise and just community-wise.”
After the theme was decided, designers began to interpret and portray their ideal Utopia through their designs.
Third-year design major Shreya Carey has designed for the show since her freshman year, and created a total of four designs for this year’s show.
“I’ve always made it a priority to help SFA,” Carey said. “One because it’s for charity, and two because SFA is so open to the interpretation of what fashion is. My outfits are on the borderline of being costumes and they’re totally cool with it.”
When trying to come up with design ideas, Carey said she drew from fairy tales such as “Peter Pan” and his adventures in Neverland.
“Most of the time I look to time periods or stories of some sort for my inspiration,” Carey said. “To me the concept of not growing up, and living in a place where there’s still a fair amount of adventure and danger but magic — that’s my zone. So I thought ‘okay, how can I portray this concept of Neverland to the audience?’”
From the designer standpoint, Carey said seeing the final outcome of the design can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.
“Most of the time you don’t really know how it turns out until right before because you don’t get to see your fully completed look with hair and makeup until right before the show,” Carey said. “But hopefully it all worked out and what you’re showing people is something really exciting. It’s kind of tense but it’s also really cool.”
Every Winter Quarter, SFA offers a fashion show planning class dedicated to the spring event. All class members are involved in one of five committees that include responsibilities in fundraising, public relations/marketing, recruiting, decorations and stage production.
Although most of the planners took the class, it was not a requirement in order to participate in the event. Many members simply participated in the course to gain skill and knowledge in the fashion field.
“I took the fashion planning class to gain some experience,” said first-year communication major Alison Louie. “I was interested in the marketing committee in particular because I was trying to see if that was something I’d be into pursuing in the future.”
SFA held tryouts and casting for any prospective students who wish to participate as models in the event. A separate application process was required to become a student designer for the fashion show.
“When I was a freshman I applied for [the fashion show],” Carey said. “SFA has open model tryouts for UC Davis students as well — they’re really organized about that.”
As a result of the months of planning, SFA’s charity show has consistently proven to be a great success for the participants.
“It’s amazing and somewhat unreal seeing something you’ve been planning for so long finally come together,” Louie said.
ELLIE DIERKING can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.