When “Metamorphosis,” the theme of Fashion and Student Trends’, or FAST, Spring 2023 fashion show, was announced by the executive board, the concept seemed abstract, almost too abstract. After all, the concept of metamorphosis — “a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means” — is not exactly crystal clear.
It seemed like every look would either represent an insect going through metamorphosis or feature some sort of wing or cape. While that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, the show — FAST’s largest performance yet, without over 600 guest attendees — went beyond the predictable and offered distinct takes on what it means to grow and change. The show embodied evolution, spotlighting how designers transform themselves and others through their visionary creations.
Some designers took the theme quite literally, showcasing insect-inspired clothing through the “A Bug’s Life” collection. For instance, Gabrielle Barangan presented red ladybug, purple butterfly and yellow bumblebee two-piece sets, while Joey Huang created a crochet yarn spiderweb slip dress. However, others interpreted the concept on a much more personal level when it came to designing their own collections.
Take Landon Knipp’s spiky red latex unitard, for example. According to Knipp’s Instagram post, the look is meant to represent the idea that when people are emotionally undeveloped, they tend to put up a defensive and aggressive exterior, represented through the unexpected, oversized spikes.
Speaking of latex, Lucia Martin Lagunas utilized a similarly shiny and clingy fabric. Reminiscent of Bella Hadid’s viral spray-on dress from Coperni’s Spring 2023 fashion show last September, both of Lagunas’ looks featured strategically painted-on long sleeves, one in fiery red and the other in bone white. From afar, they gave the illusion of a custom mold around the body, opening conversations about made-to-fit garments and the endless possibilities of flexible textiles that can conform to the body in the future of fashion.
Similarly, Kode Delos Santos took a cue from the late Vivienne Westwood, crafting a corset that stayed true to both his masculine and feminine identity. Even as the designers embraced change, they also looked back to those who came before; after all, Westwood was known for breaking boundaries in fashion, and that is always something to learn from.
Interpreting “Metamorphosis” as rebirth through the “Short Circuit” collection, designer Nathaly Garcia decided to reuse materials that would have otherwise been discarded, connecting coffee pod filters with aluminum pop tabs to create a minidress. With sustainability becoming a major issue in fashion, perhaps the metamorphosis of the industry needs to revolve around the 3 Rs of the environment — reduce, reuse, recycle — as opposed to the production of new textiles.
Others decided to transform more classic garments, such as Alvaro Galindo’s unique take on the moto jacket. Complete with voluminous balloon sleeves, a high-low hem and oversized lapel collars, the leather jacket appeared punk yet romantic.
And then there was denim. A wardrobe classic since the 1970s, jeans have been reimagined in nearly every way possible. Evolving the look from ultra skinny to straight-legged and now to wide-legged jeans, it seems like the fashion industry has run out of new ideas and shapes to use. Designer Mark Verzhbinsky, however, still managed to bring something fresh to the table, creating a bubble effect down the pair of denim jeans.
In contrast, Maia Supple used tulle to craft a voluminous babydoll dress. Constructed using multiple layers of pleating and ruching, the garment was a creative yet ethereal take on the flowy summer staple.
Meanwhile, Kanta Eng designed and modeled for the “Rebellion” collection through a dragonfly printed kimono robe. Accessorized with a wagasa, or bamboo and paper parasols, and wooden geta, the designer reminded the audience of the importance of representation, tradition and imagination.
After showcasing all 12 collections through 60 designs, FAST’s Spring 2023 fashion show came to an official close amid tears and applause from friends and family. FAST aims to foster a space for all those aspiring to enter a fashion-related field — from design and modeling to photography and graphic arts. The Spring 2023 fashion show accomplished just this goal. As VIPs, staff and attendees made their way out of Pauley Ballroom, the centerpiece of the stage remained vibrant as ever.
It was crafted from green foliage and trees intertwined with neon lights, serving as a reminder that metamorphosis is not limited to biological processes or new renditions of classic garments. Instead, it is up to interpretation by anyone and everyone.