One of the year's greatest annual fashion events goes down this weekend: The Art Institute's graduate show! This is the school's big fundraiser, wherein graduating students from the design program debut their senior collections in a show that—combined with a silent auction—raises money for the Creative Arts Scholarship Fund. Every year has a theme, and this time around it's "Fit 2 Print," featuring mutual inspiration between the fashion and graphic design departments, the results of which will make up the first act of the show. This is the best opportunity all year to discover up and coming talent in the ever-growing apparel scene here—it's virtually guaranteed that many of these names and faces will become familiar over the coming years (and that some of them will not be designing under their own names or whims, but rather those of a swoosh or set of stripes, for quite some time). I caught up with the Institute's Eden Dawn, fashion department instructor and a mega-force in making the event happen:
MERCURY: How is it that a school-wide fundraiser chose the fashion department to represent?
EDEN DAWN: Since [the Institute] bought Bassist College (which was a fashion school), the assumed logic was that the fashion department already had the most followers and name associated to it.
How was the theme of this year's edition conceived?
Every year we choose another major to highlight, and this year's was graphic design. [Apparel Design Department Director] Sue [Bonde] and I were out to dinner and brainstorming things related to graphics when I yelled, "Fit to Print!" and we pounced on that for the show. After that it made sense to bring in more text-related elements, which naturally led to the idea of paper-related dresses. For the first time, we combined departments and paired a graphic design student with a fashion student and charged them with the task of creating a garment that "said something."
What is the division of labor between staff and students for a show like this?
The staff takes the supervisory positions. Sue is executive producer, Melanie Risner is associate producer, and I am a co-chair. Kami Gray is the other co-chair and Chrissy Purcell is our scholarship coordinator. The fashion event production class is about 50 students that are separated into a variety of groups that all report to Sue, Kami, and me. They help us with all the nitty gritty of herding in girls for castings, organizing the looks on racks, and creating lineup sheets, brainstorming how to handle ticket check-in, things like that.
How many senior collections will be presented?
Seventeen! But with Act I we actually have 52 designers: the most designers ever.