I haven’t been out to a social engagement as spector in probably 2 1/2 years, and possibly missing newly established post Covid social cues, I was overwhelmed by the promptness of Denver Unique Week of Fashion and their final wrap event, April 8 2022. Doors opened to the Broadway staple Mirus gallery at 6pm. The normally well appointed walls were cleared as expected for a clean backdrop. I was reminded of pier and off site NYFW venues. Meanwhile, I was on Texas time picking my date up for the show oblivious that our 7:20 arrival was decidedly late. While missing the first designers at this showcase, I owe a more than nominal amount of my lateness in researching the show. The event organizers’ website displayed September 2021 information and no current lineup could be located. Generally speaking this would be a big red flag for seasoned designers looking to expand their market, or newlings relying on the digital event footprint for recognition (the mostly gaslightly ‘exposure’ hook). Once at the event there was a marked missing presence of identifying participant information too. It was revealed post show that a designer had been asked to leave for showing up ‘overly self medicated’ (red flag two, there were child models there). Upon arrival we see our seats were given to attendees on time, as is appropriate in NY shows, mea culpa. One of our favorite models was finishing a flood walk with her designer’s team as we found our places.
Digging further this Colorado native designer that we just missed, I believe, was Destiny Selina. Post show review item of note was the 80’s UNITS reminiscent knit tube dress and knit obi style waist accessory. Other pieces from her showing were poorly embellished off the rack items. As a side note, ideally one would not call themselves a designer if the start to finished conception and construction did not originate from them, it’s untoward.
The next designer, that I can’t seem to find credit for, was the most well constructed pieces of the night. The crisp eyelet lace was a surprising textile choice for a typically fall showing. The head pieces on initial reaction felt very Grey Gardens (IMDB, 1975), but gave me pause as I began to process they were lamb ears. Without being able to hear the back story on the lamb ear head pieces I was at a loss for their well sewn presence.
I finally had my keen ears open enough to hear the intro barking from our MC of the night. Anton laRosa, billed as a classical violinist turned emerging designer I expected student level work, and was unsurprised at structure or silhouette. We again spot one of our favorite models and burlesque consummate professional Bella. I spied safety pin closures on her make shift strapping, and I’d be lying if I said it was a design element. Anton’s outstanding piece from this collection really had to be the window pane button down shirt dress. The model looked confident and the garment itself was well conceived and finished. I was able to interview Anton post show, and learned that this was his 5th season with DUFW.
The next designer was introduced as Miss Linen boutique, featuring a body con capsule collection of knit looks. While more mainstream and timely, my lingerie discipline wanted a skim of shape wear for maximum confidence in the looks. Fabric selection could be this designer’s signature aspect, and I’d like to see what they would do with a bolt of Missoni knit.
Our MC then told us that all designers links could be found on their website, and should guests desire purchasing , to follow them there. As of this writing there are past attendees’ and sponsors’ links but nothing current. And, for designers keeping count, this is red flag three. Perceived is one thing, but having receipts(audio recording will be available on After Care) on pervasive lack of follow through on the digital data team for this event is another.
Darleen Ritz, former RMCAD instructor, showed pieces from a bohemian inspired set of looks. I’m enamored with the positive merch aspect of her screened tee’s displaying ‘Every Body is beautiful’ . I would love to see what several of the pieces looked like when all finished, but I was left wanting more from this seasoned professional.
Missy Caldwell wrapped with the finale of DUWF. Her best pieces of the night were the kids looks. Surprising as this was her finale look on Genevieve Sweets-Sanchez was what I was really hoping to see more of the entire night. The lace blocking and insertion feels forced and dated throughout the balance of her collection.
All of the models from the show flooded the clean walled Mirus gallery space, and we were able to get a closer look at the items shown. I was able to reduce and articulate quickly that in it’s 11th season DUFW wrap finale show mostly closely resembled a student show. The pervasive ‘discovery phase’ of designing was apparent in all collections shown with many having fit, finishing, and conception hiccups. I can say I expected more from everyone involved, save for the models, hair and mua. As unfinished or ill fitting many things were, models did their best to flow through the circumstances. I am 100% supportive of student shows, and would critique it as such. My over all take away was that a designer of mid level accomplishment would dominate, and be the darling of this event. The number of mentioned oversized red flags would lend advice to apply caution showing with this pay-to-play runway show.
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