Dartmouth’s next top designers showcase

Apr 23, 2023

From ruffles to antennas and charging cords, no one could guess what look would strut down the runway next at UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts fashion show.

Saturday, April 22 saw the annual show’s return to the CVPA Auditorium where fashion students took risks and displayed exorbitant creativity.

New Bedford Festival Theater Executive Producer Wendy Hall, who served as master of ceremonies, was blown away by the looks.

“Hours and hours went into [the event], and obviously it shows because it was all really fabulous,” she said.

The show put a spotlight on the fashion design student’s work, but would have been left in the dark without interior architecture students who illuminated and coordinated the event’s lighting. This collaboration gives the show its name “Light + Fashion.”

Under the lights, models displayed outfits the fashion design students have worked on since September.

“Over the course of the last two semesters, our designers have developed their concepts through research and sample creation, illustration, color stories, surface design and target research,” said Hall. “All [of which] came together to create a collection that tells the story.”

Emily Aaron, a senior costume design student, took an intergalactic approach in her collection of drag attire titled “The Future of Drag,” where her models had pointed ears and wore charging cables.

“We all have that drawer in our residence that is filled with all of the broken and old electronics that we are hesitant to throw out. I wanted to create my collection around a creative use for these obsolete items,” she said. “I felt myself being drawn to the historic Vaudeville costumes I was researching. Naturally, I fell into the showgirl frame of mind and that is where my ideas blossomed.”

Brian Carta, a junior fashion design student, found inspiration in medieval Western European fantasy content like “The Legend of Zelda,” “Dungeon & Dragons” and “Game of Thrones” for his collection, “Slay or be Slain.”

From nearly 100 sketches he narrowed his collection down to five looks that featured leather details and were accessorized with swords and books.

Emily Monizm, a junior fashion design student, took inspiration from Naomi Campbell’s fall while walking in Vivienne Westwood’s Fall/Winter 93/94 Collection.

There is a clear connection between that moment and Monizm’s looks, from the colors to the whimsical yet rigid designs in her collection “Will to be Weird.”

“Naomi struck me as such a carefree, self-assured, joyful individual. Beauty radiates from this scene, pouring from the awkwardness of the fall and the abnormal choice to embrace it and find joy in it,” said Monizm. Naomi chose “to remain confident internally when the external environment is challenging that.”

Despite taking inspiration from a fall on the runway, every model in the 2023 Light + Fashion show stayed upright and received ample applause.

For more information on the students and their design process view the show's program.