Home > Fashion Events, Reviews > When Students Compete: 3rd Annual Comcast Fashion Show

When Students Compete: 3rd Annual Comcast Fashion Show

April 11, 2011

Student fashion shows bring a mixture of different levels of style and standard to the runway. Be prepared to see at least a few designs attempting to push the limits only to come across as overworked, unpolished and costume-y. But along side those designs is the chance to find a visionary. And that’s the reason who’s who pay attention, or at least send someone to pay attention.

April 6th 2011, Club Sur, in the SoDo District, played host to the 3rd Annual Comcast Student Designer Competition part of the Seattle Fashion Week prelude. The competition was also sponsored by Gene Juarez (Psst, that link goes to their Spring 2011 style photo shoot page-it’s pretty cool). They happened to play a hand in judging the competition, well two hands actually… Is that a big deal? Should the sponsors judge? What do you think? On one hand they help make it possible, are very well versed in fashion & style, on the other hand they’re still a sponsor–though it’s very common for sponsors to judge events. After all  the winner will represent the sponsors and show their collection in Seattle’s Fashion Week main event and takes home $1000 to help start their own line (I swear those words have to be copyrighted).

The Event Begins

And of course, it wouldn’t have been a Wednesday in Seattle if it wasn’t raining and hailing with a dash of lightning and thunder just an hour before the doors open for the event. But what’s a girl going to do other than hope that the water repellent on her boots is working? So I get to Club Sur just in time to watch three ladies huddled under an umbrella rush across the street. I’m sure some day I’ll own.. no wait I’m a Seattleite, I’ll never own an umbrella. At least they looked cute from across the street, though the umbrella didn’t match. I wish I had a photo.

Inside the building was beautiful- dark rich woods, deep cozy booths, two bars (only one was open for the event) and this slightly out of place but ultra classy antique sofa. Club Sur has a very jazzy feel to it–maybe it was the music.

So essentially if you don’t know how one of these competitions goes it breaks down like this: the student designers show three outfits. Two from their collection and one inspired by Comcast. The first year when I first heard this I thought, “Oh you got to be kidding me. What are they going to do with that?” This year I knew it was coming so I was better prepared- the goal is to use Comcast as inspiration, so I could only hope they’d focus on that. Which is what Comcast wants, hell it’s what we all want.

The charismatic Bernard Butler Jr. hosted the competition.  He announced the judges as Gene Juarez Creative Directors Kim Lundien and James Todd; the Finerie owner Tanya Friberg;  Kiss 106.1 Fashion & Lifestyle Blog writer Carina Vanson and fashion designer Becky Sullivan. Becky Sullivan was the 2009 winner of Comcast’s Student Designer Competition you can read my articles on Becky here and here.

With small collections, such as those in this show, it’s important that the Comcast piece is designed and executed well but that it also fits smoothly with the other two pieces from your collection. It really has to look like it belongs. That was the struggle and for me three designers managed to pull that off: Christina Yi, Anna Dicklhuber and Jennifer M. Lamb.

So how did the judges vote? Do I agree with their choices?

Yes and no. Take a look at the designers’ Comcast inspired garment below (in order of appearance) and the results from the Judges. Check out it out or jump to see my opinions on the designers.

THE COMCAST DESIGNS:

Christina Yi – Columbia College (1st Runner Up)

Christina Yi's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Christina Yi's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Jamie Monsanto – Edmonds Community College
Jamie Monsanto's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Jamie Monsanto's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Jennifer M. Lamb – Seattle Pacific University

Jennifer M. Lamb's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Jennifer M. Lamb's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Cindy Wang – Mercer Island High School (Honorable Mention)

Cindy Wang's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Cindy Wang's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman


Michelle Gringas – Art Institute of Seattle

Michelle Gringa's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Michelle Gringa's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Anna Dicklhuber – New York Fashion Academy (Winner)

Anna Dicklhuber's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Anna Dicklhuber

Showing the inside and pocket detail of Anna Dicklhuber's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Showing the inside and pocket detail of Anna Dicklhuber's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

The back view of Anna Dicklhuber's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

The back view of Anna Dicklhuber's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

What I thought of the designers.

Designer Reviews

Anna Dicklhuber. Photo by Christopher Chapman.

Anna Dicklhuber. Photo by Christopher Chapman.

Anna Dicklhuber won the competition. Her designs were well constructed and the collection transitioned smoothly from one to the other. Her Comcast outfit was by far the best piece in the show. I wanted to take it off the model and wear it home!!! In shades of gray (love, always), Anna’s plunge neck flowing leaf dress was just amazingly beautiful from the back. The double rectangle cut out and the full train length skirt was red carpet ready.

The 1st Runner Up is where the judges and I differ. They determined Christina Yi deserved it, but as interesting as her collection was, I didn’t

Christina Yi's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Christina Yi's Comcast inspired design. Photo by Christopher Chapman

feel that way watching it walk by. I will say Christina had the most cohesive collection, but it felt too much like student work. I think she has room to grow as an artist and there’s no doubt at all in her construction ability, aspects of the garments were remarkable. The Comcast bodice was quite beautiful but the skirt looked like muslin. Overall Christina’s collection showed the needed design creativity and execution but there were aspects that lead me to say there’s something more needed that would have put her in that 1st runner up place.

The Honorable Mention went to Cindy Wang. Sitting in the audience I knew she would place but was a bit shocked, I thought she would get 1st Runner up. Even though semi-formal/formal collections tend to bore me, I thought Cindy had some unique shapes, asymmetrical aspects and shoulder action going on. The single shoulder

Cindy Wang. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Draped back asymetrical dress by Cindy Wang. Photo by Christopher Chapman

faux sling wrapped cape was my favorite. The contrast of main colors between her collection and the Comcast piece was so intense as to be disappointing. Especially because I enjoyed

Cindy Wang. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Cindy Wang. Photo by Christopher Chapman

the design so much. I wish I could give her slack because she’s in high school, but seeing the seams puckering, visible hems and a bulky waist band, were the major drawbacks on her designs. Those are hard materials to work with, but presentation is important. Cindy has the eye for design and being in high school only means she has the time to perfect the technical skills.

Jennifer M. Lamb. Oh, Jennifer, where do I begin? According to the judges, she didn’t place. Why? I don’t know. Should she have gotten 1st Runner Up or an Honorable Mention? I think so. First collection of the night that captivated me so intensely I forgot to take notes or photos. Her total collection was relaxed, fun, easy and completely wearable.

The velvet slink by Jennifer M. Lamb. Photo by Christopher Chapman

The velvet slink by Jennifer M. Lamb. Photo by Christopher Chapman

Okay so I probably wouldn’t be seen in velvet high waist sheer outfit straight off the runway– but the blouse and leggings were fun. (Did she screen print that herself or buy the fabric? Hmm.)

Jennifer’s Comcast piece was elegant and placed #2 on my list. The required inspiration was apparent without being shoved in your face.

In all student shows, there’s always room to grow:

While Christina might have struggled a little bit with her inspiration piece, these last two designers missed the design mark. They took things just a bit to literal. Jamie Monsanto gave us a basic black skirt with a poorly executed logo top completed with a silver jacket of scales that didn’t seem to fit in anywhere.Michelle Gringas’ basic cocktail dress failed to stand out and her attempt to show the inspiration cheapened the look.

The strongest piece from Jamie Monsanto was his amazon queen, for lack of a better term. She was like Xena on Easter Sunday.

Jamie Monsanto's design. Photo by FABTURN

Jamie Monsanto's design. Photo by FABTURN

It was lovely and had the right amount of strength and softness. The crisscross of leather straps studded down the front of the skirt combined with the what appeared to be vintage soft one shoulder blouse really melded well together. I love the detail he created on the shoulder. I’m not sure what’s going on under the shirt though, it looks like the leather straps of the skirt keep going up.
I was also happy to see that someone (thank you Jamie!) chose to do menswear.

Jamie Monsanto's menswear. Photo by Christopher Chapman.

Jamie Monsanto's menswear. Photo by Christopher Chapman.

The pants seemed to fit well, moved nicely and looked extremely comfortable. Sadly I don’t know what happened to the shirt. The silhouette was off and again with the finger painting. I wish this aspect found twice in his collection brought something to pull the pieces together but instead it felt rushed and I wonder if the best pieces were shown.

Michelle Gringas collection was evening wear ala Jessica McClintock. The short black dress with blue ruffle was her best piece. Even though I feel like I’ve seen it, it’s a dress I find flatters many body shapes.

The blue ruffle by Michelle Gringas. Photo by Christopher Chapman

The blue ruffle by Michelle Gringas. Photo by Christopher Chapman

The other two dresses were rather unremarkable and unfortunately as Cindy before her, Michelle had some problems with her seams. A good steam and a invisible hem would made a huge difference on these classic yet elegant designs.

Michelle Gringas Photo by Christopher Chapman

Michelle Gringas Photo by Christopher Chapman

..

Student shows are a great place to to see what the future holds for fashion and to get an idea of the designers out there in the community. It’s also a place where designers take risks, try new fabrics and ideas. Sometimes this turns out brilliantly and sometimes it ends up being a learning process.

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  1. April 12, 2011 at 11:40 pm

    Dear Bee for Manic Design,

    I must say this blog made my entire day.

    To answer your question concerning the print on the boat neck, silk shirt, I created the print myself. I used about 100 magazines to form a 37″ by 25″ collage using luxury adds. The image is of a city skyline of three cities (Seattle, Chicago, and New York). It symbolized the obsession our society has on luxury goods (good or bad). I took a photograph in high definition, uploaded it to spoonflower.com, mirrored the image, and had it printed.

    The show was an incredible experience for me. I’m very pleased to hear you enjoyed my work. If at the end of the day I’m able to capsule emotion(s) into my creations, I’m a happy designer.

    Enjoy the night,
    Jennifer M. Lamb

    • Bee
      April 27, 2011 at 2:35 am

      Hi Jennifer,
      I’m really glad that you enjoyed the post.
      Thank you for sharing with us how you made the print for the silk shirt and the meaning behind it. That’s quite a process!
      Putting a bit of yourself in your work is what it’s all about I think, so I know you’re on the right track. I’ll have an eye out, that’s for sure. 🙂
      ~Bee

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