Aisles of antsy fashion hounds sported their best black-tie apparel with haute magazines and cellphone cameras in hand, decorating the expanse of Pauley Ballroom. Onstage, UC Berkeley’s Fashion and Student Trends, or FAST, introduced its 16th official fashion show, “INTERSECTION,” on Sunday.
The theme of the show centered on the beauty and importance of diversity, celebrating all forms of community through FAST’s high couture representations. This diversity was shown not only in the onstage creations but in the variety of subjects touched upon — ranging from race, culture and gender to the definition of art itself.
As a whole, this show celebrated the sharing of cultures and interests beyond the message of its designs, manifesting its mission in the true diversity of genders, skin colors and body types represented onstage.
FAST Marketing Director Zoe Randolph and FAST Co-president Jacqueline Holben opened the night with a shout-out to the group’s charity partner Together We Rise, which works to enrich the lives of children within the foster care system.
As the lights hit the lengthy runway and the vibrant music began, the first designs of the night by Co-president Grace Kim entered the view of eager spectators. Kim’s collection, called “Dream,” highlighted the interconnections of Korean and American culture. Matching white headpieces trimmed the crowns of the graceful models as some flaunted colorful hanboks and others sported iconic American denim. The stunner of this collection was a show-stopping, wine-colored gown, featured on the cover of the event’s program guide.
Lo-fi sounds filled the room as designer Sean Hollinshead’s “Painting Thread” collection emerged. The subdued styles and industrial edge matched the ethereal, electric beats perfectly. Whether through cubist renderings on jeans or full portraits painted on the backs of models’ shirts, the clothes redefined the idea of a canvas. These pieces challenged the division of art and fashion into separate domains, visually combining the two as one medium.
The flavors of Mexican-American heritage were brought to the stage by Yunuen Nava, who honored her parents’ native land through her collection “El Poder de las Flores,” which translates to “The Power of Flowers.” This designer’s models were draped in enchanting rose patterns and unique textures as they walked to the tune of “Como La Flor” by Selena.
A true mesh of diversity was found in the “TenderVice” collection by Lindsey Chung and Meili Wang, whose show featured designs that transcended gender norms with gorgeous floral patterns and structured looks. Chung and Meili aimed “to build a tender but fringe collection free of gender expectations,” as they stated in the program. They succeeded, utilizing unconventional model stagings and refusing to play by the gendered status quo.
The “Times Up” collection by Jacqueline Holben was designed to support the Time’s Up Movement that fights sexual harassment within the entertainment industry. Holben’s creations were formed out of magazines published during the peak of the movement’s exposure, though a more explicit statement of the magazines’ content would have heightened the collection’s impact. Nevertheless, the unconventional use of paper as dress wholly stunned through its powerful, central metaphor.
By far, one of the most memorable showcases was that of Jacklin Ha. As the first model approached the end of the runway in a sporty, tailored fit, the look was transformed by the removal of a jacket to reveal a full skirt that had been tucked away for a dramatic transition. The audience couldn’t help but gasp as this happened with nearly every flowy, regal outfit.
Through both the models onstage and the designers behind their outfits, FAST strove to demonstrate the beauty inherent in diversity and intersectionality. The “INTERSECTION” show elegantly and stylishly melded the worlds of art and fashion to make a statement toward inclusion — one desperately needed in the fashion industry.