Haute Mess: Fashion your seatbelts D.C.

As New York Fashion Week comes to a close, the 16th annual Spring/Summer D.C. Fashion Week is just kicking into high gear. At the ceremony’s opening this past Monday, Mayor Vincent Gray expressed his hopes for a more sartorial District. “When you think of Washington, D.C. the first thing that comes to mind is a government town,” said Gray.

He is determined to change this image to one of a “world-class city” where fashion and government go hand in hand. To add to D.C.’s cosmopolitanism, Gray has appointed a Fashion Council comprised of various members from the D.C. community to work to improve the industry’s presence here.

On that note, the kickoff to Fashion Week on Monday showcased Eco fashion, an alternative to the fur, leather, and lavishness that is characteristic of the industry. Five labels showcased their sustainable, recycled designs, affirming the old adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” By promoting the use of organic cotton, soy fabrics, and linen, each designer presented a variety of eco-friendly textiles that can be used in the production of more earth-conscious designs.

The show opened with Inova Health System’s original “bluewrap” designs. Although theirs is not a name one would expect at a fashion show, the healthcare company sponsored the crafting of flowing gowns, glitzy cocktail dresses, and sassy headpieces out of clean hospital waste. Made from plastic that is typically used to wrap surgical instruments, Bluewrap was recycled into runway garments that were not constructed by “professional designers,” but rather by members of the medical field. While innovative in theory, in execution the designs were rather stark; their conceptual nature overshadowed any chance at marketability.

Other participants included a local label, Heydari, who showed collages of ties and scarves as finished pieces, and used materials ranging from Alpaca, tulle, and organza to recycled denim. Her original creations were rather disjointed as a collection, but they too brought sustainability to the runway.

Most of the collections were consistent with last year’s spring trends in that bright hues and short hemlines were omnipresent. However, the integration of unconventional materials such as trash bags, rubber dishwashing gloves, and magazine covers made their garb unwearable and borderline absurd. If Candy Land characters are looking for a new wardrobe, Isagus Extraversions would be the place to go.

Despite being an absolute trainwreck, the msot memorable piece was a gown made entirely out of the heads of Barbie dolls—synthetic hair and all. Yes, runway presentations are often beyond the scope of a layperson’s wardrobe, but they ought to at least provide an artful aesthetic. This presentation missed the mark.

While Washington’s Eco Fashion Show was lacking in comparison to those of New York, Milan, or Paris, the designers showcased on Monday night do get an “E” for effort—as well as eco—in transforming regular household items into interesting, if impractical, clothing.


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