Walk, walk, fashion baby – the District brought out its best and brightest new designers to strut down the runway at D.C. Fashion Week’s Metropolitan Emerging Designer’s & Indie Artists Showcase.
Saturday night’s sold-out show featured eight designers of all backgrounds, experience levels and styles at the Liaison Hotel on New Jersey Avenue. The designers were chosen for the show through an online application process.
The show started with an enthusiastic countdown from Ean Williams, the executive director of D.C. Fashion Week. Each designer showcased between 11 and 14 pieces and finished their time in the spotlight with a short speech on their collection.
Referencing the diversity of both the models and designers, Williams opened the show by saying “Welcome to the black Oscars.”
Identity as design
For the youngest designer Brittany McCoy, a current senior at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, D.C. fashion week has been a goal since her freshman year.
McCoy said a freshman-year internship at Syreeta C. Fashion, a custom women’s clothier, sparked her interest in the field of fashion and inspired her line “Dynasty.”
McCoy’s collection “Dynasty by Brittany” is inspired by her own style and is meant to be a representation of her personal identity, which she described as “involved” and “passionate.”
Her collection showcased pieces like cream cross-backed dresses, floor-length dusters paired with crop tops and leggings and cheetah print faux fur vests.
“It’s hard to do shows like this because this is my baby,” she said. “It’s hard to take the risk of a negative response.”
An eccentric masculine touch
Deontre Hancock, the show’s only male designer, said that although he has been involved with D.C. fashion week before, this is his first time showcasing his line, “Hoodlvm Clothing.” The self-taught designer described his collection as “eccentric” and “out of the box.”
“I wanted my personal style to stand out, so I bought a sewing machine, a lot of fabric, and just started making a lot of clothes,” Hancock said.
Hancock’s statements were black, black and more black (think Yeezy). The minimalist designer worked mainly with solid colors, preferring to add wildness to his pieces through texture. His gray shirts were paired with fur backpacks and his sweaters with leather sleeves.
Cozying up to cashmere
Designer Moogie Purevdorj showcased her line “District Cashmere” for the first time in the United States at the show. She said she wanted to bring her Mongolian culture into her designs.
“I just want to make sure that with every design I do, I’m sending a message to people,” she said. “You can be fashionable with one good piece that lasts years and years.”
Purevdorj’s line is entirely based in cashmere, and included pieces like white tunics paired with printed leggings and pink and gray cardigans over all-black ensembles.
“I just decided that I was going to do it my way, with my ideas,” she said.
The classic little black dress
Shruti Desai of Shruti’s Designs closed the show with a collection of bedazzled bodysuits, white flowy dresses and red fur-lined coats. She describes her designs as classic with a twist, noting that her most recent collection includes a variation of Coco Chanel’s little black dress.
This year was Desai’s first time at D.C. Fashion Week, and her second fashion week overall.
“I’m just testing the market over here, and D.C. Fashion Week is the place to be if you want to get your feet in as a designer on the East Coast,” she said.
Desai, who recently moved from Portland, Ore., chose a Bollywood song to accompany her collection, which is reminiscent of her Indian heritage.
Desai said that she plans for her next collection to have a theme of enchantment, and will draw inspiration from Disney characters. She said that as a lover of Disney, she wanted to create a line that would incorporate fairytale styles into modern trends.
“You don’t necessarily have to wear a blue gown to become a Cinderella,” she said.