The SCAD Savannah Runway Show is the crown jewel of SCAD FASHWKND and one of the university’s most anticipated fashion events of the year. It’s the culmination and celebration of fashion design senior and graduate students’ hard work from the Atlanta, Savannah and Hong Kong locations of SCAD.

The juried curation of original designs from the School of Fashion’s top senior and graduate students hit the runway on May 18 with two sold-out shows, one at 4 p.m. and then at 7 p.m., the latter of which was live-streamed from the Trustees Theater in Savannah.

Students gathered in the street outside the Trustees Theater where SCAD closed off the entire block. The scene was reminiscent of a block party, if your block parties come equipped with spotlights, media walls and eclectically dressed guests wearing garments they designed themselves.

Although not everyone was sporting a custom designed ensemble, the general feel was that it was a place to see and be seen. The mood of the scene was definitely one of celebration where seniors and friends gathered to commemorate their years of hard work, reminisce on their time at SCAD and, of course, take pictures for Instagram.

Once inside, attendees sat around an elevated stage with a giant closed eye at the helm of the runway. Some guests were seated on the elevated runway itself, privy to an up-close view of each garment.

Students waited in anticipation of seeing their peers’ work in the limelight. In particular, some students were looking forward to the rumored larger amount of streetwear and menswear designs this year. “I’m interested in seeing all the different styles,” fourth-year Savannah jewelry student Zerica Camel said before the show. “This year there is a lot of street wear. I’m interested in seeing how the designers played with that.”

Other students were more interested in spotting trends and perhaps spotting the next big thing in fashion. “I’m looking forward to seeing how our friends and peers are going to translate styles and the trends of what’s popular,” SCAD jewelry alumna Nicole West said.

Photo by Rebecca Gerhard

As the show began the enormous eye opened and became the entrance to which the models entered and exited the runway. The all-observing eye watched the onlooking crowd as attendees fixated their own eyes on each design.

The models, also SCAD students, all shared a cohesive look, keeping a uniform appearance despite the uniqueness of each design and different philosophies of each designer. Their hair was slicked back into a ponytail with multiple elastics banding the tail. Metallic foil painted on top of their heads gave an intense, yet somehow glamorous effect to the bold, rigid style. The makeup added to the intensity with bright, neon-colored, winged cat-eye shadow. The look was bold and intense, yet fresh and youthful and seemed to pair well with the broad range of garments.

The lighting was severe, mirroring the intensity of the models’ looks. The powerful, white light bounced off the models’ foiled hair creating a gleaming effect. The overall mood could be described as bold, fierce and forward.

Volume seemed to be a major trend this year. Many garments displayed layers upon layers of fabric to achieve this look. Other designers relied on the materials themselves along with construction to create a voluminous feel. Danica Deyanara Borges’ structured skirt held its shape, yet provided a slight bouncing movement and boing with every step the model took, feeling both voluminous and structured.

Sleeves were also a major focal point. Many designers chose to incorporate extreme sleeve length or volume into their designs. Catalina Robles San Martin’s extra-long, embellished sleeves were the focal point of her design, adding drama and flair.

A few designers chose to capitalize on gender neutral themes and showed designs on both male and female models. Sabrina Fortenberry, from SCAD Atlanta, showed three pieces in the show — two on male models and one on a female model. Her colorful, urban designs took streetwear to new heights, blurring the definition of gender codes.

The show closed with each designer walking out hand-in-hand with a model as students and attendees cheered them on.

Students, some of whom have waited a long time to see one of the fashion shows, were not disappointed. “It’s the first time I’ve been. I’m a senior,” said fourth-year Savannah fibers student Mary Fedele. “[The show] was incredibly impressive; the amount of time that went into each piece.”

Second-year Savannah fashion student Alli Surrette appreciated the curation of the show as a whole. “I really like the balance between the color, light and dark, the shapes and the movement,” she said. “I thought the show was really balanced. It flowed really well.”

Others were impressed by the sheer amount of work that went into each piece. “It was amazing,” said third-year Savannah fibers student Sarah Freeland. “So much time. So much work. So many layers!”

The party commenced on the street outside the theater once again where students, friends and family gathered to congratulate and celebrate while storm clouds began rolling in above them. Rain began to sprinkle down shortly after, beginning to break up the parade.

Photo by Rebecca Gerhard

The looks from this year’s runway show headed to Atlanta to be included in the SCAD Atlanta Fashion Showcase. The event was held at 3 p.m. on Sunday May 20 — a tableaux of vignettes in an immersive fashion show. To view more looks from the runway show, check out this article, also posted on The Connector.