Each May, design schools across the country end the academic year with a show that highlights their top students and their hard work. It’s the place where companies recruit their newest employees, and someone like Rihanna might pluck you from obscurity. Last night, it was the Fashion Institute of Technology’s turn. The Future of Fashion, their annual showcase, is a selective process — students work on two to three submissions each, with industry mentors like Chris Gelinas and Sophie Theallet, for an entire semester before presenting before a judging panel. Of the 200 looks submitted, only 79 make it into the final show.
This year, I was among the judges who selected the top looks in the five different categories: children’s, sportswear, knits, lingerie, and evening. Going off the theme, “Innovation,” each student was critiqued on their point of view, use of creative technique, and how finished each garment was. Athleisure was a big source of inspiration for the sportswear group, while naked dresses were popular among the evening crowd. But it was the ones who did their own, strange thing that really caught my eye. Aravanh Ackharath created a creepy red gown, complete with veil, that could have been a contender on this year’s Met Gala carpet, while Marion Kunz’s sweaterdress featured a dramatic pannier skirt fit for a modern-day Marie Antoinette. And since kids’ clothes were also in the mix, there were a few little ones who couldn’t help but charm the audience.
Click ahead to see all of those looks, plus the winners of the critic awards, as selected by the mentors.