The annual VCUarts Fashion Show is catwalking into its 50th year.
This dean’s-level event is well-attended, not only by students but by members of the community and esteemed guests as well. It will be held at the Train Shed at Main Street Station on Wednesday, May 8 for the second year in a row, according to Patricia Brown, chair of the VCUarts department of fashion design and merchandising.
The show has been hosted at a variety of venues over the years, both big and small. Most recently the VCUarts Fashion Show was hosted at the VMFA, but in the last couple of years, the department developed a need for a larger space.
“This venue gives us more space,” Brown said. “We have more room, which creates its own challenges, but I think it’s a really great dramatic space to have it in.”
Among the guests filling the Train Shed will be design duo Abdul Abasi and Greg Rosborough, whose pieces, Brown said, have reinvented the men’s suit with a utilitarian take. VCUarts alum and fashion illustrator Richard Haines will also be flown in from New York to see the show.
In an effort to have a more straightforward show, the number of designs shown will be limited to around 125, as opposed to last year’s nearly 175. The department aims to keep the show around an hour, Brown said.
Of the approximately 125 designs to be shown, most junior and senior design students will be represented, along with the expertise of merchandising students, who comprise the majority of the 360-strong department. The show will feature women’s sportswear, dresses, menswear, denim, embellishment/luxury, and surface design, all created by hand or with the assistance of industry-standard machinery.
The VCUarts Fashion Show is juried, and garments are selected by a group of local fashion businesses and influencers. A mix of fashion industry people and retailers including Ledbury, Alton Lane, Frances Kahn, and Pam Reynolds are just a few members of the 12-person jury who will be judging the show. Working with their assessments, they will come down to final number of pieces for the show.
Not only is the show juried by local fashion icons, but it is also locally sponsored.
“The community is really supportive of our show,” Brown said. “We’re so thankful. We have a lot of gratitude for their support.”
To celebrate its 50th year, the show has been dubbed “Shimmer,” a title bearing a triple meaning.
“It was alluding to the celebratory feeling of it being the 50th anniversary,” Brown said. “But, it also has a little nod to modern shimmer technology, and just being more tech-forward. And also, the shimmering faces of graduating students who are showing their work.”
This dean’s-level event can be viewed in-person or by livestream this year. Tickets are available for purchase online starting at $30, with discounts available for fashion students and their families.
“For this year, we will have a much broader range of prices for show seats,” Brown said. “While we need to keep some of the higher cost front-row seats in order to cover our costs, attending the show can also be more affordable this year.”
The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at the Train Shed in Main Street Station. For more information, visit the VCUarts website.
Top Photo: Steven Casanova. Designer: Maryam Al-Majid