From students to budding entrepreneurs, fashion designers from all around Boston and the Northeast lined the Curry Ballroom Friday night, marketing their brands and selling merchandise at the Northeastern Fashion Society’s third annual Designer Showcase.
Through this event, the organization worked toward promoting sustainable fashion, in addition to expanding the fashion community. Part of the society’s mission is to spread awareness of this issue, encouraging students to shop or manufacture clothing locally.
“Part of my time as president, I have been a huge advocate for shifting the conversation toward sustainability in fashion,” said Aneri Shah, the co-president of the Fashion Society.
The showcase also served as a networking event as about 15 designers met, sparking potential collaborations for the future. Student designers and other Fashion Society members especially gained real experience and tangible skills for working in the fashion industry.
“[We looked for] students or young people who are starting a brand, who are passionate about it, who are looking to network with other designers and who are looking to reach an audience,” said Aneri Shah. “We were looking for designers with a story.”
Coming from different backgrounds and interests, the designers aimed to spread personal stories and messages to their audiences through fashion, ranging from their passion for clothing to hope and empowerment.
AJ Nichols, a third-year business student and Fashion Society vice president, presented a sneak peek of her new collection “Anthem” as part of her clothing line Avant-Garde Expression, or AGX. As a queer media and clothing brand, her business is dedicated to creating unisex fashion for LGBTQ+ youth. With purple — the color of royalty — as the main color of the collection, Anthem aims to truly empower queer youth.
“There is a running narrative that goes with the clothing, and it’s all about lifting up those kids and their voices,” Nichols said.
Another Boston-based fashion brand, Almighty Above All, sought to express their love for creative arts as well as their Christian faith through their fashion line, with the goal of spreading hope, love and peace.
“What we try to do is just pour out our faith through visuals, art and fashion as well,” said Fuji Acevedo, 25, co-owner of the brand. “Really, for us it speaks about our faith in a way that connects the people with the visuals and clothing.”
All the designers also demonstrated a wide variety of styles and design processes. Northeastern student John Lee, a third-year marketing design major, co-owns the company All Mankind is Stupid, which focuses on visual graphics and imagery rather than a logo on clothing. MassArt students Riley and Parker Halliday showed off their brand Unamused Apparel, a clothing line featuring upcycled clothing through screen printing.
Attendees of the event received a unique shopping experience, getting the opportunity to directly communicate with the designers and understand the passion and message behind their work. The Fashion Society intended for the showcase to counter the common difficulties in shopping local brands by learning about their backstories and purpose, Shah said.
“I really like this setup just having the designers at their tables selling their merchandise and talking about their vision and how they got where they were,” said first-year Petrina Danardatu, who shopped at the event. “It is much more of a personal, profound experience.”
Representing his own brand, Drip Drop, with his business partner Arran French, Fashion Society co-president Josh Levanos emphasized how he aims to maintain both sustainable practices and low costs for consumers. By heat-pressing and vinyl-cutting all the images on shirts and locally embroidering sweatshirts, they can have a sustainable mindset without overcharging customers for shopping sustainably, he said.
“A big part of what we tell our members to do is shop local brands,” Shah said. “By doing an event like this, we’re giving these students a platform to start doing that.”