Senior Fashion Show Raises Tent, Builds Community

Photo by Stevan Nordström

Last week for CCA's Fashion Design Program's Senior Fashion Show, a gigantic circus-like tent was erected in front of the San Francisco campus, shutting off an entire block of Eighth Street. The scene mimicked what one would expect to see at, say, the Cannes Film Festival, and the payoff was just as grand.

The much-anticipated event marked the ninth annual fashion extravaganza—an exclusive, end-of-year fundraiser to showcase the fashion designs of the 2008 graduating class.

The sold-out apparel smorgasbord attracted hundreds of supportive and enthusiastic attendees, each of whom paid $25 (VIP ticket holders paid $100, which included a festive wine-tasting reception at Axis Café) to celebrate "the future of fashion" on a fierce asphalt runway encased by a portable, makeshift auditorium.

Fashionably and sustainably speaking, it was unadulterated fabricated entertainment.

With wall-flap-to-wall-flap bleachers and folding chairs, CCA President Steve Beal, flanked on either side by 10-foot-tall projection monitors, stood almost as tall himself in his new presidential shoes as he commended Amy Williams, chair of the Fashion Design Program, for her ingenious venue set up. The tent served to expand the exhibition hall, fostering a greater sense of CCA community and inclusiveness, as well as accentuating the Fashion Design Program's best work.

(Note: while the tent idea was definitely not Senior Fashion Show modus operandi, audience attendees and fashion models alike appreciated its protective warmth from San Francisco's chilly and hairdo-disassembling, garb-ruffling winds!)

Highlights included how truly humbled Jihye Kang appeared as she accepted the Surface magazine award, which earned her a detailed photo spread of her work slated for the magazine's October 8 issue—including an expense-paid trip to New York; and Zara Franks securing an internship with Marciano (a Guess division based in Los Angeles).

Additional trivia for the truly raiment-minded: Wray Serna's feathers were entirely hand-sewn and the antlers she used were sourced on Ebay; Lauren Devenney used actual mushrooms and berries to over dye her organic wools (from sheep raised and sheered in Vermont, no less); Andrew Hague's bicycle inspiration traces back to his messenger-bag designs for Chrome; Karina Michel screenprinted her cashmere panels, shibori'd her denim pieces, and hand-burned her velvet from a screen print she designed, and she used over 400 grommets in her collection. Amylou Bilodeau designed all her prints and jewelry, offset printing the fabrics and laser cutting the jewelry.

Kara Krauss deserves a special mention, too, because at between 5–7 years old, her models were the least likely to lie about their ages. Actually, the guise girls stem from CCA faculty and staff and they truly commandeered the catwalk as they twirled in vintage prints inspired by the tiles of Spain's coast while carrying Kara's handmade and embroidered Rufus dolls as accessories. (Look for these dolls in select San Francisco boutiques soon.)

Dozens of models, women and men alike, animated the various designs and onlookers took their cue, reveling more in an artistic spirit than, say, from a shopper's frenzy. After all, CCA's Senior Fashion Show is about pizzazz, not paparazzi; it's truly the future of fashion, no matter how you wear it.

Read local coverage: "Inside Bay Area" by Dino-Ray Ramos (contributor to the Oakland Tribune, Contra Costa Times, and other Bay Area News Group publications.)

Additional photos: CCAsnapshots