vote – Danier Design Challenge
Right now students from my old fashion school are competing in a design challenge sponsored by Danier. As a modern twist, their nerve-wracking design presentations are videoed and uploaded online for rating and commenting. Watching these videos fills me with nostalgia, embarrassment and relief that I was not videotaped as a fashion student. Fashion students have their own unique type of intensity, and the videos are a bit too revealing of the bathos of young fashion ambition.
Most of the designs do not live up to their breathless sales pitches. The cliches of student design – too many snaps, too many zippers, too many buttons, fussy buckle closures, funnel necks, detachable pieces with no practical purpose, mismatching sleeves, restricted mobility for the wearer – are all there. If you think I’m making fun – just wait until I show you some of my early “designs”. There is a very good reason why I know what a fashion student effort looks like. A few entries went above and beyond the rest though – here are four designers whose jackets piqued my interest.
John Hillifer (above) is not charismatic at the beginning, as he avoids making eye contact with the judge – but his conviction becomes apparent as he shows his design – it shows that he has thought of his design in three dimensions, it features a collar which looks terrific both open and closed, and a unique pocket concept including a hidden pocket. All on a muslin with exceptional finish. “Dark industrial” may not be very Danier and yet it is apparent that this designer will produce an excellent leather jacket.
Valerie Crisp was the only designer with the guts to go for less instead of more. While in a muslin this jacket may seem slightly unconvincing, the remarkable restraint for a fashion student shows that she has a working understanding of the Danier brand – and a burgeoning sense of taste.
Monica Kisielewicz has that peculiar intensity to her presentation that is bordering on overwhelming, stating an obsession with status with remarkable candour. Though her design borders on the obvious/clever interpretation of her inspiration – the zipper placket looks like a highway – it is saved by a sense of simplicity.
Eric Tong‘s jacket is so of the moment, and the finish is very confident as was the designer’s presentation – it could have fit in very well in any FW09 runway show, but somehow seems a stretch for Danier. But maybe a stretch in the right direction?
Right now all 15 finalists are hard at work on making the final leather version of their designs before Christmas. I can’t wait to see the results.