Review: DC Fashion Week exploded onto the runway this September
Loud styles and diverse designers take center stage with three new shows
DC Fashion Week, which hosted three shows from Sept. 24-26, presented a unique set of designers who shared their crafts with the city.
The three nights featured the Menswear Show Collection, an Emerging Designers show and the International Couture Showcase. Here is a brief overview of each night and a few of the designers on the catwalk.
Menswear show collection
The menswear show collection kicked off fashion week featuring male designers. With six designers and one slogan being, “it’s his day too,” each fashion line brought a new conversation for what it means to be trendy.
Obioma Fashion is the intersection of West African prints and modern American fashion trends. Pure fun and elegance, the top and bottom sets for men are breathable, multicolored and loud. This collection also offers traditional Ankara pants, which are versatile, and the coolness and execution of each individual outfit are unmatched.
Jimmy Trendy stands out as a swimwear and underwear line for men. Not being afraid to push the norms for gendered presentation, Jimmy Trendy offers a variety of bathing suits like a bright bodysuit with a neon pattern and a matching tote to go with it or a speedo-style suit that is impossible to miss. Out-of-the-box ideas are the main attraction of this line, and the underwear gives a lot to look at, quite literally.
Emerging designers show
The second night hosted 12 up-and-coming designers to watch out for. These designers did a phenomenal job of marrying creative aesthetics and finding a balance between culture and contemporary style.
Phoebe Jacqueline promoted her line as a made-to-wear sustainability brand with awareness of fast fashion’s impact on global warming. Jaqueline’s clothes consisted of dresses, short pantsuits, and skirt-shirt combinations with design influence from Sweden. Simple yet effective silhouettes displayed the beautiful construction of her outfits. A youthful aesthetic is elevated and taken to a sophisticated level.
DJS Lifestyles appeared on the catwalk with an impossible-to-ignore collection inspired by cultural influences like 1980s Berlin. DJS Lifestyles pushed the androgynous look, incorporating a David Bowie-esque style, and embodying the concept of freedom. The collection seemed to be split into three different parts: part one was full of bootcut pants in jeweled colors — one suit was even bubblegum pink — and flowy haute couture sets. Part two featured reds and blacks with serious belting, like this silk Japanese kimono. Part three was futuristic and more sensual, with manipulated leather to create an armored look.
Rosemary Creations is a Latin-inspired brand, heavily influenced by Buenos Aires, Argentina, said designer Rosemary. These outfits were heavily accessorized with textiles like peacock feathers and satin adorning many outfits. One piece was a black and white Bouclé business dress with a matching plaid bucket hat and leather boots.
Diversity and representation were incredibly important to the message of DC Fashion Week, according to Ean Williams, a presenting designer and director of the fashion week.
“Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and there’s enough room at the table for everyone,” Williams said. “I’m just super excited that we can celebrate the true America with our diversity.”
International couture collection showcase
The grand finale celebrated the global fashion stage. Nine designers from Switzerland, Georgia, Nigeria, France, Egypt, Ukraine, Persia, and the U.S. brought brilliant craftsmanship.
Roksolana Bogutska of Ukraine offered an airy, bright, and floral collection. The designer primarily used linen and silk material with sewed floral patchwork and dresses as a primary focus of the designs. One Midi-Dress was exactly that, but others, like this long-sleeved linen blouse offered the opposite, with more neutral colors dominating the piece.
African Fiesta Café's runway collection was authentic modern culture, from both Switzerland and the Republic of the Congo. Bold traditional African patterns were matched with modern-styled clothing. Draping came into play in a big way and a menswear outfit had both African and Scottish roots.
“We all come together to celebrate the creative economy and we love being here in the District,” Williams said. “Mayor Bowser has made it really welcoming for designers to start their businesses and we are super excited to celebrate our 35th season of DC Fashion Week.”