The rooms in the McClelland Park building may seem like typical classrooms, with their florescent lights and concrete floors, but the TREND Fashion Club took Room 103 and spiced it up for University of Arizona Fashion Week.
About 30 fashionistas converged in Room 103 for a Q&A session with several clothing designers who will be showcasing their work at the upcoming UA Runway show on Saturday, April 27. Designers from Chaos In Denim, J’adore Noir and QMULATIVE shared with students their experiences in the fashion industry.
Elizabeth Villasenor of Chaos in Denim said she got into fashion because she wanted to do something different without compromising her principles.
“I decided to pursue sustainable fashion,” Villasenor said. “In doing so, I’m able to reduce energy, water waste and the carbon footprint.”
Many of her custom denim clothes came from recycled material, which she called “upcycling.” Upcycling is recycling discarded material into products of higher quality, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary website.
Villasenor allocates a portion of her sales to various charities that advocate for ocean cleanup, clean air and wilderness preservation.
“I do encourage the public to be a conscious consumer more collectively,” Villasenor said.
Quinlan Wilhite of QMULATIVE said his brand has its roots with his grandmother.
“I had a simpler pocket tee idea, and I brought it to my grandma,” Wilhite said. “I figured grandma’s going to make this, ‘cause grandmas are good, and that’ll be it.”
Then she taught him to sew and changed his life. Wilhite started selling his wares at farmer’s markets until he worked his way up to winning in his category at Phoenix Fashion Week in 2017. Wilhite said he is eager to share his designs from his Spring and Summer ’19 collection.
“I previewed it all at Phoenix Fashion Week in October, and then I expanded it, tweaked some silhouettes,” Wilhite said. “I’m happy to share and keep it young with the students.”
Mika Legaspi, creative director of TREND Fashion Club, said organizing UA Fashion Week takes an entire year.
“I have been working on the show and planning all the logistics that go behind the scenes,” Legaspi said.
The club follows business trends in the fashion industry and participates in fundraising, clothing drives and fashion events in Southern Arizona, according to its Facebook page. The fashion industry may look fleeting to outsiders, but working within the industry is more complex and takes dedication.
Jared Swedelson of J’adore Noir said working as an unpaid intern for designer Daniel Patrick in Los Angeles was “probably the worst and best three months” of his life. Swedelson learned about the intricacies of designing and producing clothes.
“I think that gave me the opportunity and motivation to wake up every day to work my ass off to figure out this industry and know how to make clothing,” Swedelson said.
Wilhite added that making clothing has its moments, but it pays off in the end.
“I'm still learning so much,” Wilhite said. “We're super stoked on where we're at, but it's fun.”
UA Runway Show is Saturday, April 27, at 4:30 p.m. in the ENR2 building on campus. Tickets are available on Eventbrite for $10 to $12. VIP is sold out.
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