International Academy of Design & Technology’s Imagine Fashion Show

Written by: Amber C
The owner of Nashville Fashion Blog who highlights the local fashion industry with her well informed commentary

Saturday before last, February 26, 2011, I attended the International Academy of Design & Technology’s (IADT) 6th Annual Imagine Fashion Show. The event showcased the talents of senior student designers and featured pieces from juniors, sophomores, and freshmen. Hair and makeup was provided by Paul Mitchell – The Nashville School Design Team and a portion of proceeds benefited the Ronald McDonald House Charity.
I received a personal invite to attend this show from IADT and I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about going. I LOVE fashion shows, especially student-produced ones, but as an instructor in the Art Institute of Tennessee-Nashville’s Fashion & Retail Management department, I had to wonder if this was a conflict of interest. Ultimately, I decided it would be a great opportunity to see the talents of aspiring fashion designers while supporting Nashville students. Seriously, I’m a total sucker for anything student related.
The Imagine Fashion Show was held in a large space FiftyForward Knowles. Now, this location doesn’t exactly scream fashion.. FiftyForward Knowles, located near the fairgrounds, offers various programs and classes to “enrich the lives of adults 50+ by providing pathways to health, well-being and lifelong learning.” They also supplement their income by renting out rooms for various business meetings and local events. Now, I have two opinions about this location. First, this isn’t exactly the ideal venue to host a fashion show; the missions of FiftyForward and IADT don’t really mesh well. However, student-produced fashion shows, especially those directly connected to a higher educational institution, are often limited monetarily and have stricter guidelines. For example, when the Art Institute of Tennessee- Nashville produced our fashion show, we couldn’t have alcohol (legal reasons), and therefore could not produce the event at one of the thousand super hip bars in town. Perhaps the same held true for the Imagine Fashion Show. That being said, the room setups were well executed.
The event was to last from 6:00 until 10:00 PM, as detailed in the personal email sent to me. Not wanting to repeat my mistake from the Blush fashion show (see blog post here), I arrived on time. Apparently, I could have made my mistake again, as when I arrived, I was told, “Oh, well the show doesn’t start until 7:00.” Whaaaaaaat? That would have been nice to know in advance. So, I ended up waiting around for an hour. Fortunately, there was plenty to keep me busy; a plethora of student work from fashion, graphic design, interior design, and photography was displayed for browsing guests. I saw a couple of adorable fashion trend boards I had to snap some shots of, and I thought the displays were a nice touch to keep patrons busy while showcasing the talents of their students. 

LOVED these two boards!
While waiting for the show to start, I chatted with a few guests and even the campus president, who was mingling with the crowd.  I thought it both surprising and inspiring that the campus president was integrated so heavily into the event, and I admired his support for the students. There were no food or drinks for guests, who seemed to be a mix of parents, grandparents, and friends, but I assume the budget for the show was limited and no available funds could be allocated for refreshments.
I haven’t even mentioned my outfit yet! I finally had a reason to showcase my long sleeved beaded dress purchased at a Chicago H&M a few months back. I am in LOVE with this dress. I didn’t get a great shot of the back of this dress, so please excuse the myspace mirror shot and cat wrapping herself around my legs, but the dip in the back is ridiculously hot. Now, I did feel like the most dressed up person at the fashion show (I saw lots of jeans and tops), but it was adorable when a super cute little girl ran up to me and asked if she could take my picture because she thought I was beautiful and loved my dress. Cutie pie! And, later on in the evening, I did see the fashion show judges admiring my look. (And sorry for all the shotty pics.. I didn't bring my fancy camera with me.. it just didn't go with my outfit!)

As 7:00 finally rolled around, the ~100 guests made their way past a cute red carpet area with ropes that gave the event a high fashion feel, and into the fashion show room. The chair layout was strategically orchestrated so that there were many ‘front row’ seats for optimal viewing. (Of course, I picked the worst front row seat in the house that required me to twist my body and strain my neck to get a view of the runway looks.) One back wall of the room was lined with oversized fashion sketches by both students and faculty, which gave off a good “student fashion showcase” vibe. Another thing I have to comment on.. the lighting. The lighting was excellent; bright, vibrant, and pointed towards the runway. Lighting is key for fashion showcases and can often make or break the outfits.

As the show started, hypnotic beats filled the air, and models strutted down the runway, showcasing the collection of 100 student-made garments. Both menswear and womenswear were featured; common themes included boustiers, cropped tops, and 1950’s twist. Here are some of the looks from the show:

The show lasted around 35 minutes, and an additional 15 minutes were tacked on at the end as there was some confusion at the finale and how students were to exit with models. Overall, I enjoyed the event and had fun viewing the fashion collections of Nashville students.