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Creativity Without Commercial Restraints at SCAD’s Annual Student Fashion Show

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SCAD

The Savannah College of Art and Design has acquired some eighty buildings since its inception in 1978—many of which are historic, and so spread out that a campus tour requires a car—and the development is showing no signs of slowing down. The facilities are even more impressive. Fashion students are trained on state-of-the-art laser cutters, 3-D printers, and every type of textile and fiber contraption the mind can imagine. All of that has made SCAD a hot spot of emerging fashion talent, which the school proudly displayed at Saturday night’s annual student fashion show.

Beverly Sung’s pleated, asymmetrical dresses (above, left) were a respectable nod to Issey Miyake. Sculptural, digital printed dresses from Wenxia Wang and Zenobia Duncan (below, left) were equally impressive. Elaine Lui, a former Alexander Wang intern, drew creativity from her native Hong Kong, with mesh-overlaid streetwear covered with prints of electric wiring and light-up LCD details built into the clothes (above, right). Across the board, fabric innovation was the big story here—burned Lycra, hand-plisséd skirts, digitally printed boiled wool. Dean of Fashion Michael Fink told us, “What sets this year apart is that there is so much textile and fiber development. The fashion students are actually making their own textiles in collaboration with our Fibers students.”

SCAD

One-on-ones with the designers after the show afforded an opportunity to hear their stories and inspirations. Michael Mann’s conceptual menswear referenced football, a comment on the offense and defense he struggled between while being bullied as a teen. Wesley Berryman’s parents drove eight hours from rural Tennessee to come see him show androgynous creations that might feel at home on a rack beside Rick Owens and Gareth Pugh (above, right). Berryman’s mother told us, “I don’t know where he got his fashion sense—definitely not from me! When we used to go to Walmart [to buy clothes], I was always worried he would put up a fight! But really, I just want to support my son.”

The real joy in seeing a student fashion show like SCAD’s is the opportunity to witness creativity without the commercial restraints many professional designers face. Free from the pressure of having to “sell” anything, and enabled by a supportive faculty and cutting-edge facilities, SCAD’s runway served as a rare, unfettered fashion moment.

Photos: Courtesy of SCAD