The Clarion

Students flaunt skills, ‘Embrace’ fashion

Students Model clothing in the Embrace Fashion Show held on Friday, Nov. 17, in the Truax Campus cafeteria.

Students Model clothing in the Embrace Fashion Show held on Friday, Nov. 17, in the Truax Campus cafeteria.

Jessica Pokrandt / Clarion

Jessica Pokrandt / Clarion

Students Model clothing in the Embrace Fashion Show held on Friday, Nov. 17, in the Truax Campus cafeteria.

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Mason Flanagan
Staff Writer

How do bright and industrious fashion students from a small city college get hands on experience in an exclusive and complex garment industry? How do conscious creative types reconcile the large artistic potential of fashion design with the ecological damage done by the trade?

Madison College’s Fashion Marketing Program aims to answer these difficult questions with the Embrace Fashion Show. Embrace is the dream child of Betty Hurd, Madison College’s director of the Fashion Marketing Department, and Jacqueline Iribarren, the owner of a local downtown thrift shop named Rethreads.

“Embrace is all about collaboration and experience for our students,” Hurd said.

After seeing the show it’s clear that the Fashion Marketing Department has succeeded in that goal. Each of the 29 designers involved with the show hypothesized a look, recruited modeling talent, sustainably thrifted full outfits, and participated in the show. Every piece in the show was purchased used (thrifted) or found used in order to promote sustainability and moral fashion in contrast to many corporate fashion business models that severely damage the environment and abuse laborers.

The results of their work were stunning. Each outfit held significant merit for both the finished design itself as well as the grueling artistic process that observably went into them. The outfits truly stretched from head to toe and attained unique aesthetics. Diverse cliques from across the fashionista subculture were represented: adolescent femme and homme street style, Victorian youth, bohemian chique, business facing socialite, ’90s grunge, fashion conscious working man, urbanite artist, m4m club-wear, suave afrocentrist, and many more.

A few of my favorites were “The New Old” and “Afro-Bananza.” Designer and model of “The New Old,” Madison Annen, says, “I wanted something with a retro vibe but with a modern spin. This preppy casual outfit was the result.”

Her look features an old, checkered, schoolgirl’s blouse with classic prep buttons that was altered to function as a skirt.

Discussing her “Afro-Bananza” collection, designer Bernice Ayite says, “ My culture is extremely important to me, and I wanted to represent that in this look. I created matching outfits to tell the story of Togo’s fashion.”

Bernice’s collection is a two-piece of one male and one female outfit and the two play-off of each other marvelously. Both consist of classical Western white collar and denim pieces that have been hemmed with cloth brought from the Togo which embellish each with originality and culture.

Iribarren spoke about how she helped put the show together and why the show was important for her. She said that giving fashion students real world opportunities is what really inspires her. Iribarren decided to feature the collection of Nikki Martinez, a Madison College Fashion Marketing student, in the front window of her State Street store.

Iribarren is also passionate about introducing themes of sustainability and green design into the fashion world, evident in her avid support of thrift shops.

Most of my own closet is thrifted from a variety of stores around Madison including Rethreads, and my closet is surprisingly big given that I advocate against consumerism. But that’s what thrifting does. When a fashion observer thrifts for clothes in contrast to buying them at retail, no raw materials are harvested, no refining of raw materials is performed, no labor abuses are committed in the supply chain, and the carbon imprint is minimal.

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Students flaunt skills, ‘Embrace’ fashion