Not So Seamless

Last week I attended Seattle Magazine’s Seamless in Seattle Fashion Show at the Seattle Art Museum. Each of the 12 design competition finalists  presented three looks from their collections as well as a special garment inspired by the color scheme of a vitaminwater flavor.

I was looking forward to the evening not only due to the fact that 6 of the finalist are from NYFA but more Seamless in Seattle’s new format. This time the annual competition jumped off the magazine pages and onto the runway. Unfortunately I was left sorely disappointed. What had previously been a venue for showcasing emerging and student designers turned into an all night advertisement for Vitamin water.  

For starters the tickets said 7:30. What they meant to say was doors open at 7:30. The show didn’t start till nearly 8:30. I realize late starts at fashion shows are commonplace but I prefer knowing when the show is actually taking place in order to plan my evening.  A portion of the proceeds from the show went to benefit The Ruby Room but their organization which donates special occasion dresses to low-income girls was lost in the evening’s fray.

The sound quality was poor even sitting directly across from the judges it was often indecipherable.  Kate Calalmusa announced each group prior to their decent down the runway, each time donning a new outfit. However the designers groups often came out in a different order than printed on the program and it was difficult to tell which designs belonged to which designer. Even knowing the designs of half the contestants I got lost.

The design groups themselves came off haphazardly as though randomly thrown together with no differentiation made between the emerging designers and the student designers. Perhaps the assumption was that most people had been following the competition on Facebook, read the competition requirements and therefore would be in the know.  

The competition consisted of three categories, Best emerging designers, Best student designers and Best bridal designers, each with their own requirements. All designers needed to present their original designs. The emerging and Bridal Designers had to have graduated from a fashion school and produce, sell up to 2,500 pieces a year. Where as the student designers need to be currently enrolled in school, not have their designs in any stores or have sold less than $2000 (wholesale) in the last two years.

The winners were predetermined by the panel of judges. Only the “People’s Choice Award”(through Facebook votes) and the “Challenge Winner” (via the judges) were decided the evening of the show.  So for me some of the critique came off as unnecessary. The predetermined Winner of the Bridal category could feel free to venture into the arena of costume for her vitaminwater challenge.  And the Winner of Emerging Designer could do an edgy rendition for her Vitaminwater design without effect.

Ultimately the student designers seemed lost by an overemphasis on the emerging designers in both time and ultimately awards given. All seven emerging designers received awards, “Best bridal Designer”, “Best Menswear designer”, “People’s Choice”, “Emerging Designer”, etc.  I would love to give you the full list of the final winners but I can’t.  It wasn’t easy to follow who won what.  I don’t even know who would be considered the overall winner. Would that award be the Winner of “Emerging Designer”, “People’s Choice” or as many people believed the winner of the “Vitaminwater challenge”.

In the end I still look forward to the magazine’s spread of this year’s winners and hope that next year they do a better job organizing the Runway event.

The 2011 Finalists:

Best Emerging Designers

      Kate Burt           Banchong Douangphrachanh       Kristine Hawthorne 

         Malia Peoples               Emily Riordan-Roche                  Bri Seeley

Best Student Designers

Angela Allen                     Timothy Campbell                 Gina Moorehead


Caitlyn Peticlerc                      Kathy Sabin-Mensah     

Best Bridal Designers


Kim McCormick

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