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Wildcats take over the catwalk

TREND Fashion Club hosted University of Arizona Fashion Week for the second year. This year's theme was “Expect The Unexpected," and the Runway Show featured student and local designers. Video by Marissa Heffernan

Bright purple lights, a glimmering swimming pool and a tangerine sunset overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains set the scene for the second annual University of Arizona Fashion Show, showcasing the most trendy, new looks for the Tucson community.  

Collections from seven different designers were presented on the Luna rooftop on April 28 as part of UA Fashion Week, hosted by TREND Fashion Club. The club was created through the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing in order to provide students in any major with experience in the fashion industry. The club holds weekly meeting, as well as fundraising events each year to prepare for fashion week. 

“We want to show what we do with this side of the school and show how creative we are and what we can put on as a club,” club member Sarah Garcia said.  

The week consisted of meetings with designers and models, fittings, a designer meet and greet, and of course the main event, a rooftop runway show.  

“For a whole week, we've tried to influence students and the whole Tucson community more about fashion, which lacks at this school,” Jenna DeMaio, director and founder of UA Fashion Week, said.

Seven designers, 60 models and 50 hair-and-makeup artists were needed for the event, as well as set design artists, a master of ceremonies and a DJ. 

“Our event, the runway show, was the major event,” DeMaio said, “The theme was ‘expect the unexpected’ and was a huge, crucial part to the show because people did not expect some of the things they saw.”

One of the models who walked the runway was UA student Michael Gil.

“I am super excited to be doing something new and to see how the whole show and the whole industry works,” Gil said. “I've done various shoots in the past, but this is my first time doing an actual runway.”

Gil will be wearing collections from Always Live Care Free and Last Ones Left Apparel in the show. Both lines are street style inspired and include graphic tees, hoodies and jean jackets.

Jordan Sebastian, designer of Last Ones Left Apparel, came from Denver, Colorado to participate in the show. His inspiration for the brand is 90s-style clothing.

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Another street style designer, Quinlan Wilhite from Qmulative, showcased his latest collection in the show.

“My brand is a lifestyle brand rooted in the automotive, skateboarding, music and art scenes,” Wilhite said.

The line included Wilhite’s signature Arizona pocket tee, with an Arizona-shaped pocket with a variety of desert-inspired patterns.

Wilhite started out sewing clothes with his grandma in order to express himself to the world and has since been featured in many shows, including Phoenix Fashion Week.  

“It was cool to have something from my imagination to hold at the end of the day,” Wilhite said.  

Like Wilhite, DaMaio wanted to bring fashion to the UA because of her “passion for fashion.”

“Fashion is my getaway; it helps me escape all the issues going on in life,” DeMaio said.

Other TREND members, like next year’s social media manager and model Hannah Rapp, share a love for fashion as well.

“My whole life I've had a passion for fashion. It’s made me who I am today, and it's given me so much confidence,” Rapp said. “I stick out like a sore thumb amidst all the Lululemon on campus because I’m in an outfit that inspires me to get up in the morning,” Rapp said.

Dorota Zglobicka, designer of Theo Doro, is no stranger to standing out. Her line has whimsical and playful silhouettes dressed in bright colors. At the show, she premiered her children's clothing line.

“The kids were so cute! They were adorable. The theme was ‘expect the unexpected,’ and I definitely didn't expect that,” said audience member Dora Sterling.

According to Zglobicka, the idea behind this line was to have matching outfits for mothers and daughters, as well as for siblings.

“I create whimsical clothing for modern people. I started doing women’s clothes, but since it's so whimsical and flowy, kids liked it too, or mothers liked it for their kids, “ Zglobicka said.

Zglobicka is from Russia and has been designing clothes ever since she got to America. Her brand aims to bring back comfortable, elegant style to a modern woman’s life. 

“This is a tough world out there. You need to find your own voice, and if you have passion for this, go for it. I think this is the toughest thing: to find uniqueness,” Zglobicka said.

Her fairy-inspired line can be found at her store in Vail, Arizona. In addition to casual clothing, Zglobicka creates cocktail dresses, evening gowns, as well as unique wedding dresses, according to her website. All of her items are one of a kind.

“Find the whole that is missing out there in the market and fill it,” Zglobicka said.

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Elizabeth Villasenor, another designer at the show, presented her denim collection. She creates one of a kind, handmade jackets. Her street style jackets were influenced by McQueen.

“One of his collections got me inspired. It was spring 2016, and it was all denim with embroidery and embellishments,” Villasenor said.

Her line, Chaos in Denim, is made sustainably by using vintage jackets and redesigning them to fit a more modern style.

“If I start on one jacket and like it; the collection follows,” Villasenor said.

Villasenor graduated from the UA. She buys her materials from consignment stores and sells her clothes locally. Audience member Paige Gniffke said the jackets from Chaos in Denim were her favorite.

“I loved the denim jackets. I loved the different designs and some of the hand-written and hand-painted stuff,” Gniffke said.

The other two lines that appeared at the show were Outcharmed, a jewelry line by Samara Rosenthal, and Bourgeoisie, a luxury swim and street clothes line by Jay Russell and MIcah Francois.

One special guest of the evening was Tommy Lynn Calhoun, also known as Miss Arizona 2017. She is no stranger to the world of glam.

“Everywhere we go, we are expected to look good, so this definitely relates to the pageant world,” Calhoun said.

Calhoun was invited to attend the event by TREND and said she was really excited to see what the students could do with the show.

Another star at the event was model Jessie West, who was supporting friends working the show. He also wanted to see the new trends coming out of Tucson.

“People need to see the new looks, the new trends and the new designers that are coming out,” West said.

TREND Fashion Club has created a website to view photos from the show, as well as upcoming information. There are also links to each designer’s website so visitors can check out their brands and unique styles.

“Fashion is always evolving and moving, and it’s important to see different trends and how people express themselves through fashion,” West said.


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