Thursday, 8 November 2012

First Year RMIT Students Flaunt Their Stuff at runway_1 presented by 100_collective

There's a wonderful sense of energy when you're backstage at a fashion show, and there was no exception when the first year students of  100_collective sent their pieces down the runway at the runway_1 fashion show held at RMIT's new Design Hub. As a student-run initiative, the runway showcased pieces from the first year RMIT Bachelor of Design (Fashion) students, with seventy five designers in total. The whole event went without a hitch (or stitch, if you're into puns) and each design was showcased spectacularly.

The group 100_collective is a creative platform that was formed in 2012 and includes all the first year fashion students from RMIT University. The group was formed to encourage students to work together and share their creative passion and inspiration with other students. It also allowed for much collaboration to occur amongst other creative students at RMIT, such as journalism and photography students, who were present at the runway and aided in the event's success. On the day, as an outsider, this sense of collaboration was highly apparent as I watched the students support and encourage each other through the general stresses of the day. And trust me, there are a lot of stresses. Missing models, minimum facilities, lost make up artists...It's like trying to organise a room full of wild wildebeest into a height ordered line. No wait, it's much harder. The project for the first year designers was not an easy one. For the end of year assessment they had to design a ten piece collection that showcased the skills they had learned from their Semester two classes; Using woven textiles, understanding the relationship between 2D and 3D forms, interpreting design ideas into patterns and utilizing these relevent techniques to then create a Prototype Outfit to be showcased at runway_1. Each student could select from either a 100% linen fabric or a linen blend in one of the allocated colours; cream, white, taupe, black, red or navy.

None of the well dressed and champagne sipping guests could have guessed the constraints that were placed upon the students. Each piece was unique (even though the same fabrics were used by many) and it was clear that each student had followed their own paths of inspiration. I was lucky enough to interview designer Jacinta Raquel, who created a stunning strapless 'origami dress'. "I was really inspired by the whole concept of paper form and how the manipulation of paper, or in this case fabric, in a two dimensional shape can become something in a three dimensional form. I loved working with paper in the early stages of the design process and I was really inspired by architecture and origami." The whole idea of creating something three dimensional from the original designs seemed to be something that each designer cherished most highly about the whole design process and, as a viewer, it was a to see these pieces come to life in the form of the student's Prototypes.

The general look for the models, many of whom were provided by Model Academy or else were volunteers, had to be one of uniformity in order for it to work with the huge range of versatility seen on the runway. Hair was clean and slicked back in simple pony tails thanks to the team at BIBA Academy. Make up artist, Ollie Savage, described how make up had to be kept simple in order to be easily translated to any outfit.

As the models cascaded down the runway on their nude or black high heels provided by Windsor Smith (I won't lie, for me to be sitting in the allocated 'media' section had me on a high that was better than buying a new pair of Jimmy Choo heels. Not that I've ever actually bought a pair...but I've dreamed about it so much that I can imagine what such an experience might feel like), the guests were greeted with a huge and varied range of amazing pieces. The show began with paler colours of creams and taupes, floaty pieces that reflected femininity and had a somewhat ethereal feel. As the show progressed the colour scheme changed to one of a darker palate, including blacks, blood red and navy, whilst shapes juxtaposed (wow, I haven't used that word since my year 12 English exam) against those shown earlier, becoming structured and masculine. Some could have been described as classic and 'ready to wear' whilst others were unpredictable and refreshing. Rather than being one monotonous line of trends traipsing down the runway, the audience was greeted by a sense of individuality liveliness that each designer imbued into their piece. As we stood transfixed, I couldn't help but feel as though I could see the time and effort that went into every inch and aspect of the designs. Everything seemed to move perfectly smoothly from the guests' perspective, though having been backstage earlier, I could only guess at the mayhem that was occurring behind the curtain.

The sense of collaboration and capability  that I felt whilst watching these students working together really was a wonderful experience. Designer and co-organizer of the event Sunday Cutbush agreed on the talent of her fellow students, "It is incredible to see how many different ideas can develop from one brief, and it is wonderful to be able to watch your peers' concepts and designs grow. I feel privileged to be in this dynamic space...for all those involved in 100_collective, we've developed enriching relationships both inside and outside of Fashion that will help us to grow and develop new opportunities for future projects." It was touching to see the connection that was formed amongst all who were involved in the runway_1 event with Cutbush agreeing, "We share a second home and family through the program. It's really inspiring to see what your classmates come up with. You know it's an incredible space and you know that these people are going to be the designers of tomorrow."

Congratulations to to all those involved in organizing this fantastic runway_1 event, in particular the managers; William Duan, Rosaana Hall, Sunday Cutbush and Tess Gangitano and the seventy one other designers who worked so hard to create their spectacular pieces.

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