Student shows get a bad rap for, well, "student work." (You know you've heard Tim Gunn disdainfully utter that phrase more than once on Project Runway.) But student shows often provide a glimpse into the future of the local fashion industry. The University of Minnesota has the biggest apparel design program in the state, and often has some talented designers come out of it (Calpurnia Peach and Tender Cuts' Emily Bryngelson, to name a couple). Here is a glimpse of what's to come in the February 19 show:
Niki English is, by comparison, a longtime player in the local fashion community, having sold her line at Cliché and participating in its runway shows for a few years now, as well as last summer's "Calamity" group show. An adept leatherworker, she also created a handbag line for Voltage 2009 for Maritza Ramirez. She describes her aesthetic as "futuristic, dark, intense, black, textural, aggressive" and says it "plays with power, proportion and structure."
Hilary Hubanks also appears to be an up-and-comer, both aspiring to the fields of fashion design as well as visual art and design. She says her inspiration "comes from her travels to places such as England, Norway, Czech Republic, and Japan."
Elise Diebel works with hand dyed and custom printed fabrics and "classic silhouettes enhanced through the use of bright colors and unique patterns that play with the juxtaposition of geometric and organic shapes."
Kayla Frazier "focuses on creating high quality clothing for the street savvy, ardent, & ultra feminine woman."
Autumn Kirchman's "unique surface fabric designs, imaginative silhouettes, use of non-traditional materials, and small details that add a sense of dramatic personality to each garment."
Carol Lee is "inspired by modern architecture and everyday life experiences."
Amanda Matrejek's designs focus on "simplicity using strong lines, sleek silhouettes and a timeless color palette."
Alix Nettnay's work incorporates layered fine beading and silk ribbon and is inspired by the Arizona sunrise.
Tierra Oliver incorporates hand dying, screen printing and distressing techniques her trendy, wearable garments.
Leslie Randall "utilizes inspirations from past and present to create a balance between retro and modern."
Eco-conscious designer Nick Ruffalo "often draws inspiration from the natural settings around him as well as various ancient cultures," including the "dyeing of textiles using methods of Shibori and Batik."
Shannon Smith focuses on "designing apparel that is active and comfortable but also feminine and versatile."
Jessica St. George "blends the classic silhouettes that women love to wear with a fresh bohemian feel."
The lone menswear line in the show, by Kelly VerDuin, is inspired by "the rustic feel of the Scottish Highlands melded with the modern and forward-thinking young man's wardrobe."
View more designer garments, sketches and inspiration (and ticket information) at fashionshow.design.umn.edu.
[All photos: Erin Johnson]