On Friday, in its fifth year, fashionSPARK fashion show delivered a stunning array of the best in Raleigh’s clothing and jewelery design. The event occurred squarely in the center of City Plaza, on the SPARKcon main stage with hundreds of attendees. The show featured twenty clothing designers, work by five jewelery designers, and ten local salons.
fashionSPARK and the spring, NCSU College of Design and the College of Textiles “Art to Wear”, have always been shows that were more about showcasing creative approaches to fashion than practical clothing. But as many of the designers have matured, more and more of the work is coming from legitimate clothing designers who sell their wares on the Internet and in retail environments, some like Raleigh Denim, are sold internationally.
This year defined that progress by exhibiting works more evolved and marketable than any we have seen previously from a wide array of designers.
The consistent leaders didn’t fail to impress. The show was defined by works from AHPeele, DRC ApeParel, Marie Cordella, Domino and Raleigh Denim. The professional designers clearly leading the pack with practical, fitted designs centered on real world markets and exemplifying the breadth of individual visions for fashion in Raleigh.
AHPeele and DRC ApeParel are both groups focused on the power of patterning in the urban environment and after years honing their craft, both presented their strongest most focused collections yet. AHPeele’s screen printed designs layered honeycomb patterns on contrasting fabrics to offer something urban but with hints of classic fashion staples.
DRC ApeParel has consistently offered African influenced urban looks that come with a political message. This year reminding attendees of the conflicts caused by the world’s constant pillaging of the continent’s resources. The message is grounding, and in stark contrast to the opulence of the fashion show experience.
Marie Cordella is a skilled dress maker who offered a small, focused collection of highly crafted dresses. The look is sophisticated, playful and form flattering. Cordella’s attention to detail and form are unparallelled in Raleigh and are the closest thing to formal evening wear in the show this year.
Domino is the brand lead by NCSU College of Design graduate Jessica Domino. The young designer relocated for post-graduate education in LA but has continued to mature with work that is rich in texture and pattern and offer a vintage appeal that works for great street wear. Her circus themed makeup played up the exhibitionist qualities of the designs. Watching Domino mature over the years has been a treat as she has continued to step up her work across the board.
Raleigh Denim presented a mature line which was highly crafted with strong forms. The brand is sold internationally and is on the verge of some new retail presence locally. With that in mind we thought the new designs were highly marketable and well put together. In the show we saw new jackets, jeans, dresses and shirts. The dresses represent a big departure from previous offerings from the budding brand but were striking in their full realization. We hope to see some of these new designs in stores this spring.
fashionSPARK’s fashion show continues to be the biggest single event of SPARKcon. Organizer Katie Little put together a tightly run event that was successful in every metric. The cultural highlight of the fall and a wonderful expression of creative talent in the Triangle- we are always excited to capture the event.
Photos by Jedidiah Gant and David Millsaps