San Francisco Fashion Community Week highlights unity and diversity

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San Francisco Fashion Community Week graced the Bay Area last weekend with a four-day celebration of what brings us together and what makes us unique on a local and global scale.

Marking its fifth year in San Francisco, the show highlighted some of the Bay Area’s proudest values: sustainability, culture and meaningful global artistry. Throughout the show, presenters promoted the idea of “we, women and world” — a community united.

Friday’s “International Couture Fashion show and Showroom” at the Fairmont Hotel attracted some of the Bay Area’s biggest sartorial arts appreciators, who basked in the atmosphere of booming runway music and camera flashes.

I.B. Bayo, a Nigerian designer who now resides in the greater Bay Area in Santa Cruz, presented his “Shining Gold” collection. These pieces featured a sophisticated shimmer that drenched the vibrantly colored gowns in firework-like patterns of light. His alluring patterns and heavy use of gold and black accents reflected his traditional African background, utilizing the structure of the clothes to represent his culture.

Another standout was Serbian designer George Styler, who won the award for best designer of the night. His outlandish looks gave off major Paris Hilton vibes — many of his designs sported unconventional photographs of designer dogs, bright pink colorings and highly structured, metropolistic cuts. The grand headpieces adorning the models reflected much of what was seen at the Met Gala this year, meshing the “Heavenly Bodies” theme with an intergalactic twist.

The models in this show walked the runway fresh-faced and natural, embracing their organic beauty. As one of the major themes of this show was global community, the event closed with a parade of every featured model wearing black and carrying the flag of their home country. This powerful display of cultural unity encouraged the applause of the audience and filled the ballroom with a pride in the connectedness of our communities through art.

The “Emerging Designs and Sustainable Fashion” show set the stage for Sunday afternoon’s outdoor event on the rooftop patio of Hotel Zelos. The swanky location offered a unique staging structure, as the models walked on the same level as the attendees in a square-shaped path.

Viktoria Tisza’s eccentric designs opened the show, introducing an assortment of bright, silicone rubber garments. The futuristic artist from Budapest created these pieces in an eco-friendly manner, as no waste was produced from her creations, and washing them requires little water compared to most other fabrics. While the patterns may have resembled Target-brand laundry baskets a little too closely, the designs were unique and interesting.

Blood of a Billionaire’s “SP19” streetwear collection embraced its hip-hop roots. The collection is described as inspired by “spicy and sweet city girls who hustle and grind all day and night.” Entirely made in the United States, the clothing choices ranged from stylish, cropped hoodies with fishnet sleeves to denim-patched miniskirts. This more everyday look was received well by the audience, as the pieces portrayed a more relaxed but chic vibe.

The most powerful collection of the evening was that of Marissa Britt Holt, a design student whose line was inspired by overcoming a past abusive relationship. The beautifully elegant tulle skirts with floral accenting wowed onlookers, who listened to the sounds of Kesha’s “Praying” as the models walked.

As she highlights in her foreword, the fashion industry is the second most polluting business in the world. Holt strives to make her brand eco-friendly by using fabrics free of toxic materials and animal products and by reducing overall waste.

The biggest takeaways from this weekend of haute couture are the following: Bell sleeves are back, dogs on clothing is weird but wins you awards and, finally, Marissa Britt Holt, who won best designer of the evening, is definitely someone to watch out for in the world of young fashion.

Contact Skylar De Paul at [email protected]. Tweet her at @skylardepaul.