Expectations were high for the 2012 SCAD Fashion Show.
New social media tools such as Instagram were utilized to create more hype than ever before. Tickets were fought over and people from all over the world watched the live stream online. The senior class was under pressure to top the previous year, which was the most publicized show in SCAD’s history.
Not surprisingly, the 2012 show fell a bit short, failing to evoke the euphoric feelings of years past. The designs are not to blame. With unique choices for inspiration, innovative interpretations of trend direction, and sheer talent and craftsmanship, it’s obvious that these students created work the school can be proud of. Factors relating to the production of the show itself were really what lead it astray.
The value of presentation is drilled into the curriculum at art school. A brilliant design in any field can come across as mediocre if it isn’t displayed in a format that is complementary.
In this case, the runway’s stage is crucial.
This year there was simply the skeleton of an archway. When preview photos of the stage leaked to students, there was hope that it was unfinished. Disappointment hit many when they walked into the theater on the night of the show to see a static, bleak set.
Another factor contributing to the watering down of the excitement level was the styling. Yes, it is a challenge to take a wide range of collections and figure out hair and makeup that can be consistent, but Chris Benz, last year’s stylist, proved it wasn’t impossible. Boldly applying magenta lipstick to each model gave last year’s show the edge it was begging for.
This year, the makeup was unremarkable and the poorly straightened hair felt dated in a world where current high-fashion runways are experimenting with hair coloring, braiding and plaiting, and hair jewelry. The only fashion-forward styling decision was choosing to put Kali Luna Lague’s backless dress on a model who had obvious back tattoos.
The show lost a few more points when it decided not to do a lookbook at all this year. Last year the physical lookbooks were switched to an online PDF format, which at first seemed like a cheap move, but it was generally accepted on the basis of saving trees. With many talented fashion photographers, it is a shame that SCAD chose to entirely omit their skills from the show this year. The collaboration between the fashion design and photography departments are mutually vital to portfolio building and produce stunning imagery and lookbooks often turn out to be just as engaging as the show itself. Eliminating it killed half of the experience and will make referencing the looks from this year more of a challenge.
On the subject of collaborations, one of the highlights of the show was the work of fashion design student Sam Shanks and fibers student Zachary Sauer. No two majors have ever been more closely related, and the marriage of their skill-sets produced a beautifully balanced Doris Eaton-inspired collection. It would be very forward-thinking of the school to encourage more cross-major collections in the future. One of the perks to being at this institution is that students are constantly surrounded by a variety of talent and resources, but sadly this often goes untapped. It is shocking how many fashion students are not even aware of the dye labs in Pepe Hall.
Other notable designs included Hannah Goff’s print-driven pieces, Alexis Asplundh’s neoprene garments, and Derek Clarkson’s Scandinavian whaling industry inspired menswear. If only the presentation had been as dynamic as these looks, spectators might have gone home feeling moved and inspired.
Was the absence of Elle magazine the reason SCAD put less effort into producing this year’s show? There are too many people rooting for the SCAD fashion program for it to have peaked already. Hopefully the show will make a comeback in 2013.Contact Jaquelin Gasc .