By NHUNG NGUYEN
Three days constitute a week in Milwaukee when fashion is the center of the city. Milwaukee Fashion Week took place this past weekend, September 24-26 at three top-rated venues in downtown Milwaukee.
Of those three, I attended the finale show on Saturday, September 26. Walking into the venue that night I felt a state of madness—pure creative madness. The energy backstage was raw and everyone could feel the excitement as hems were being stitched, and hair spray flowed like fresh air.
Of all the talent that surrounds us in the Milwaukee area, I was especially excited to see the fashions that lurked right underneath my nose at Mount Mary University.
Four designers that represented Mount Mary were presenting their designs and I wanted to be the first to uncover the mystery behind each thread line.
Don’t Stop Dreaming
Jessika Jones, junior at Mount Mary, stands out in any hallway in her cotton candy colored braids and whimsical dresses. After beginning the fashion program, she noticed there was an excess of wasted materials being thrown out that could have been salvaged. Jones re-purposed these materials for several designs that took center stage Thursday evening.
Not only does Jones exude a fairytale persona, her designs showcase all the childhood memories I had when I was a kid. Her message to others is to never stop dreaming. Jones views the world through a childlike lens.
“I’ve seen people around me that seem to be stuck in this reality they are living in and forget the possibilities that are outside their current situation,” Jones said. “That is why I keep dreaming. Children believe anything can happen.”
Ana Mercado, junior at Mount Mary, knows the impact she can make as a designer who enriches the minds of others. Her mission is to broaden the beauty standard and celebrate people from all walks of life. Mercado’s designs speak to each person individually, giving a custom fit and custom feel. Diversity is what inspired her collection this fall and it was celebrated down the runway Thursday evening.
“I wanted models who have different body types and diverse ethnicities,” Mercado said. “Three of my models have Down’s syndrome. Their level of confidence just transcends above many people.”
Pakou Vang and Kelsey Garfoot, graduates of Mount Mary in May 2015, partnered up this summer to create P and K Collective. P and K Collective is a platform to inspire creativity while working with local talent and like-minded artists.
Their goal is to refine skills and perfect their craft together. The two design partners work collaboratively to construct pivotal pieces: Garfoot delivers conceptual inspiration and Vang is the mastermind behind the technical design.
As designers, they see life in a mathematical way. Everything that encourages their design has a geometric concept that is seen only by fine-tuned eyes.
Revealed on the final night, their collection was inspired by an unexpected placement of angles.
“Some designers are more dramatic with the overall appearance,” Vang said. “We are constructors fueled by quality made garments. Not everyone has the skills or eyes for it. That is how we want to set ourselves apart from the rest.”
Photographers: Hawk Photography for Jessika Jones Designs and Ana Mercado Designs
Bark River Photography for P and K Collective