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Rosa Keller Library (5:00-9:00 PM)
My House NOLA presents a rolling food vendor mini festival
The Antenna Gallery (7:00 PM)
A series of music-themed movies and documentaries, curated and hosted by DJ Soul Sister, and co-presented by Charitable Film Network, Press Street, and WWOZ
Jewish Community Center (7:30 PM)
The second evening of a chamber music festival that has something for classical aficionados and dilettantes alike
Circle Bar (10:00 PM)
Catch the Indie rockers on their North American tour
NOLA Fashion Week: Thursday Night Shows Feature Conscious, Cooperative Designs
by M.D. Dupuy
Fashion is often written off as one of the more shallow art forms, but two local designers prove that social responsibility and locally produced materials are just as much a part of NOLA fashion as high-waisted shorts and strappy wedges. Lisa Iacono and Kallen Forster, an established and emerging designer, respectively, are both showing tonight at NOLA Fashion Week, and both keep sustainability in mind when executing their artful garments.
Forster, a Louisiana-based designer, is currently completing her Master’s Degree at LSU. A central theme of her thesis is her use of a socially responsible business model in design production.
“Basically, my whole thesis was geared towards socially responsible apparel design and how I could incorporate different aspects of social responsibility into the collection,” explains Forster, who incorporated work from three different collectives into her Spring ’13 Collection.
Toto Knits, a Kenyan collective, did all of the hand beading on Forster’s pieces. The largest participating collective, Centers for Traditional Textiles of Cusco (CFTTC) took part in the sewing, and “Mica Sweaters,” of Libya completed some knitted accessories.
Forster hopes she can “train and empower women in our community through design techniques.” The young designer has no complaints about the recent shift towards conscious consumerism, and she hopes it grows from a trend to the norm.
“I really think it will appeal to a lot of consumers who are thinking about what they’re buying and where it’s coming from,” says Forster.
The designer didn’t sacrifice her aesthetic for ethics, and mainstream shoppers can find many pieces within her collection. “It has a lot of classic silhouettes, I wanted to find a good balance between overpowering the beautiful beading the Kenyan women did and keeping it on trend,” says Forster.
“Being a body conscious woman, fit is very important to me. I think I have that appeal as well,” says Forster. The collection is full of transitional pieces. “Casual, to work, to cocktails, that’s a very important aspect in my life,” says Forster.
Forster works with local designer Suzanne Perron, whom she credits with much of her growth as an artist. “I think that I was able to gain a tremendous amount of technical ability through my internship with Suzanne Perron,” says Forster. “Because of her, my collection looks like something you’d want to have in your closet.”
Since Forster’s collection is part of her thesis, she had to do all the work herself: designing, buying, draping, constructing, and sewing every single one of her eighteen different pieces.
“I have six looks, but they’re all separates. I think they can be put so many different ways,” explains Forster.
Forster thanks the people of NOLA Fashion Week and says they have provided an easy transition into her first big show. “This is definitely the biggest venue and show that I’ve done, and they helped so much from the media, to the venue, to the model casting,” says Forster.
Wild West of Fashion
Designer Lisa Iacono has been in the biz a little longer than Forster, but both artists are NOLA Fashion Week virgins until tonight’s show.
“It seems like a great way to network and it reinforces the amazing community spirit of the local fashion industry,” says Iacono.
Iacono, who refers to her personal style as “tomboy,” says her Spring ’13 Collection consists of 15 looks and ventures outside of her typical, highly structured aesthetic.
“This collection is softer and more feminine than the previous,” explains Iacono. “I want the wearer to feel confident and elegant, like a sexy princess.”
Iacono’s previous garments are full of elegant fabrics, sharp lines, and classic cuts.
“My design philosophy is ever-evolving, but I tend towards the clean and simple. I like things that appear complex, but are based on simple shapes,” she says.
Iacono’s pieces are highly wearable, but the designer doesn’t shy away from exploring the purely artistic side of fashion design.
“I like the idea of designing something that provides a beauty experience, something that gets an emotional reaction from the viewer, fashionista or not,” she says.
Iacono’s company, NOLA Sewn is the brainchild of co founders of her and Tam Huynh two fashion mavens who found themselves at a loss for production outlets in the city and joined forces to create their own. The cooperative has been a godsend for local emerging designers.
Despite the initial dearth of resources, the transplant was quick to call New Orleans home. NoDef asked her how the city sized up.
“For me, comparing any city to New Orleans is like comparing apples and oranges, because New Orleans is it's own animal in every way. Personally, I find it to be more inviting. There's a renegade, wild-west vibe here. With fashion, we're in uncharted territory. I can't get enough of it,” says Iacono.
The designer refers to her new city as a “cultural sanctuary,” and says she feels at home in New Orleans. In terms of Crescent City fashion, Iacono says “fashionable, smashionable,” and opts to stick it out rather than leaving for a more trend- conducive industry.
“You’ve got beachy, carefree, season-less dressing, and there’s fun irreverence to that,” says Iacono. “On the other hand, you have black tie galas, benefits, and parties pretty much year round. Add costume culture to the mix, and it’s all there,” says Iacono.
The designer and local business owner was quick to pick up on New Orleanians penchant for playing dress up, and she says a career here as a designer is “totally viable” for that very reason.
“Needless to say, this town loves a reason to get dressed, and that concept isn’t going anywhere,” says Iacono.
The shows will take place at the Saratoga (212 Loyola Avenue). First up is Iacono at 6:30pm, followed by Forster at 7:30pm.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Ian Hoch, Sarah Esenwein, Ryan Sparks, Will Dilella, Chris Rinaldi, Lianna Patch, Phil Yiannopoulos, Cate Czarnecki, Jonas Griffin, Jennifer Abbot, Mary Kilpatrick, Elaina Patton, Mike Horst, Devin Bambrick, Katherine McGuire, Norris Ortolano, Joe Shriner
Ryan Sparks, Kerem Ozkan
Michael Weber, B.A.
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