Set in the eclectic, thought-provoking Monastery venue, New Orleans Fashion Week 2018 was an incredible event showcasing the work of many up-and-coming designers in the area. Our city’s funky, cultured, and unique vibe combined with the wide range of interesting clothing collections made for an incredibly intriguing affair. Now, New Orleans definitely isn’t the first city that comes to mind when it comes to fashion capitals, but after attending this event, we have a better understanding of the importance and meaning of fashion in NOLA.
For the past seven years, New Orleans Fashion Week has aimed to combine the influence of the city’s distinctive cuisine, music, and art with the rising presence of fashion professionals. NOFW boosts economic growth by highlighting the fashion arena through a creative New Orleans perspective. Their main event is the Top Design Competition, which is the one we will showcase in this article. This inspiring show gives new designers an opportunity to compete against other budding artists in front of experienced, well-versed judges. This year one of the judges was Law Roach, an America’s Next Top Model judge, with many connections in the fashion world. Both designers and models can gain incredible exposure in this competition; many have gone on to create their own successful lines or even sign with top agencies to walk in New York Fashion week.
NOFW has become the largest fashion event in the Gulf Coast area, gaining exposure from many recognized media outlets. This event is crucial for designers in the area to expose the beauty and exquisiteness of NOLA to the rest of the fashion world. All of the extraordinary elements of this city allow for a unique design point of view and NOFW allows these points of view to be showcased effortlessly.
Now, let’s get into the fun stuff: the fabulous designers and their collections. All 13 collections were significantly different, demonstrating different trends and central concepts. Before the competition started, Alexandra Bujan, only twelve years old, set the tone for the night with her geometrical, white outfits. This cohesive group of models all wore low ponytails and a combination of feathers, pom-poms, stars, and face paint. At such a young age, it was incredible to see the artistry of cohesion play out in this designer’s collection.
Of the competing designers, one of our favorites was Jacob Burkett. He took many risks in his collection. The harsh red, black, and silver lines combined with the large amount of skin shown by models made for a head-turning assortment of looks. All models walked with a purpose; their serious faces paired with everything from sleek hair to tight corsets to intense hoods to provocative mesh. Each piece in this collection could stand alone as a statement item, yet at the same time they all came together to create a simple, sexy, yet strong ensemble.
On the complete opposite end, Jaida Hunter, a charismatic designer who aims to change the look of fashion, presented us with a more feminine, scattered collection. As the items first came out, there seemed to be no connection among the pieces, but all together this collection really stood out as a funky, eclectic group of fun, fresh items. Complete with a fabulous sparkly jacket, a dramatic ruffled dress, and many creative uses of satin, this pastel colored group of items showcased the power of the “girly girl” fashionista with a modern twist.
Our final favorite screamed NOLA fashion with its many bright colors and wide array of styles. Jeanne Claire Benton’s mismatched collection featured a combination of completely different looks that somehow came together to create a vibrant, costume-like array. Bright blue tulle, red tassels, navy sparkles, and intense floral prints were all executed perfectly. To us, the spontaneity of this compilation truly represented the meaning of New Orleans culture and displayed to the audience the beauty in creativity, individuality, and imperfection.
Overall, NOFW was an incredible way for us fashion lovers to see the true meaning of fashion in the New Orleans community. It was inspiring to see the unique ideas of new designers and the wide variety of style influences. This event is a must see for all individuals interested in NOLA’s rich culture and the power of fashion in our world. Congrats to the top design winner, Jacob Burkett—we loved seeing your collection. Can’t wait for next year’s show!