I was honored to be one of the judges at the Autohaus LAUNCH 2016: Driving Fashion Forward event over the weekend benefiting the Glenview Women’s Club. It was a great North Shore event with all the best of the area and the guest list to match!
The most important part of the evening for me was the Emerging Designer Competition that granted one of six very talented Columbia College Students $5000 towards their collection. It is incredibly difficult and expensive to get started as a fashion designer. There are so many talented people out there, and many of them never get an opportunity to do what they love. Unless you are an Olson twin or Victoria Beckham that is! (JK love them!) Even someone as famous as Zac Posen did not have it easy at the beginning of his career. I remember back in the day, I went to see Zac Posen in a tiny showroom in TriBeCa. He could not afford models, and his mother brought me a diet coke during the appointment! He was talented and fortunate enough to catch the eye of Puff Daddy (that was at least his name at that time!) who was one of Zac Posen’s first big investors. Every little bit helps and hopefully this competition gave the young fashion designers exposure and boosted confidence.
I was impressed with all of the designers in the competition. I appreciated how unique their collections were and how well they managed to construct each garment with limited resources available to them. They all drew from designers who inspire them (McQueen was the most prominent source of inspiration) yet managed to make each piece their own. I was most blown away by the designer who won, Kelsey Kasom. Her model walked in a grey hand painted leather dress paired with a peacock colored topper that moved perfectly on the runway. The final touch was a crochet scarf cleverly wrapped around the neck to tie the look together. All three pieces looked great together on the runway but were also important on their own. Not everyone gets that.
Congratulations Kelsey! I know we will be seeing much more of your innovative designs. I know I would love to have that painted leather mini in my closet!