This past weekend, Denver Fashion Week (DFW) gave seven designers the chance to showcase their collections at the Emerging Designer Challenge Runway Show. The winners of the event will present their work in DFW this coming fall.
On Saturday, August 20, two winning designers were selected. The inaugural winner was determined by a panel of six judges including two DFW executive producers Hailey Hodap and Abby Aharonian, DFW Creative Director David Rosa and three local designers: Rachel Marie Hurst, designer of the iconic brand. Mo Kisale, designer of Kilian; and Tristan Bego, owner of The Collective.
After a selection process, 7 designers were chosen to present collections that best represent their work, aesthetic and overall style. Vellu, Saint Destiny, Untamed Vanity, Crio’la, Furlow and runway winners, Kawesii and Hoohah presented their collections to the Denver audience.
The first to take the highway was Sainty Destiny. The “Showgirl” collection consisted of luxury pieces in black and white. Owner Jennifer St. Fort She describes her design aesthetic as “dark and moody, as well as feminine.” Attendees enjoyed well-constructed, chic and fitted rooms.
Next up was Crayola, the collection representing the designer’s rebranding process to create more couture pieces. Designer and owner Sandra W. Lopes She is from Germany and last weekend described her work as “seeing what lies ahead.” The collection consisted of high glam pieces in leather, silk and feather textures.
Furlow presented a collection that challenged the usual materials a designer would use for a runway show. Founder Carly Furlough Looks consist of recycled materials, so he’s done sunglasses-inspired dresses, flip flops and live goldfish. Furlo said of her collection of the night, “I Am the Sea, You,” “represents what is found and thrown into the ocean and what we see happen.” We make clothes from household items and garbage,” she said.
Unknown Vanity offered its audience a wide variety of late night prints. Ranging from cow print to cheetah print, the collection featured glamorous streetwear designed to make the models look confident, sensual and beautiful. “My desire to live ‘without thinking’ turned into a lifestyle. This collection represents empowering women to feel confident and why not look good doing it? “said the owner of the brand Training.
Beautifully fitted silk pieces came down the aisle to represent the works of Troy Bush and Velu by Kira Rehman. The collection consisted of high-end women’s dresses made from natural bamboo silk. Rehman gave some background on the collection, sharing that the duo “wanted to create a line that could be worn by anyone and any body shape that wanted to evoke femininity.”
Although all the designers submitted impressive works, only two of the seven will be selected to present at DFW later this fall.
Judge’s Choice Winner Kawesi presents unique African designs in practical yet stylish women’s workwear. The brand was born out of an inspiration to incorporate African prints into contemporary fashion designs. Owner Chloe Stephens She said, “After I found out about my race, the line started and I learned more about the different aspects and cultures of West Africa.” Stephen designs the pieces here in Denver, and the construction takes place in Nigeria.
The timeless construction and extravagant prints caught the eye of the judges, who ultimately decided that Stephens’ collection would be perfect for DFW this fall.
To close the show, the audience voted on their favorite designer of the night. The winner of the people’s choice was Huha. Taking the popular Colorado movement and combining it with high-end fashion is the foundation of the ski collection. Raised in Ville, owner Anna Tedstrom She expressed wanting to bring more fun and color to the ‘mountain wear’ she sees in the city and on the slopes. After experiencing a lack of fun on the slopes, “I wanted to show that skiing can be more fun when you’re wearing a brightly colored jumpsuit,” explains Tedström.
Models walked the runway in dusty hair, ’80s-inspired outerwear, and a subtle Dolly Parton tribute left the audience begging for more. So Hahah will continue to take home a crowd and present the Denver fashion scene with DFW’s fall-inspired looks.
The show was full of energy as each designer showcased their emerging businesses and designs to an audience of Denver residents excited to see the full future of DFW. Although there can only be two winners, the passion that resides in each designer should be highly recognized.
It’s also important to recognize the hard work and talent that goes into the show before it even starts. The hair and makeup team is committed to producing beautifully styled hair and stunning makeup.
Such a creative challenge has sparked excitement for Denver Fashion Week this fall. Be sure to stay updated on the latest DFW events and runway shows on the official Denver Fashion Week site.
All photography by Roxana Carrasco.