There is an air of infectious energy on the sidewalks outside of Lincoln Center, the main venue for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York City. Fashion bloggers pose for photographs on the steps, while huddles of chic-looking young people queue behind the tiny entrance to one of the most anticipated events in the fashion industry.This year, during the week of February 9th – 16th, top designers will showcase their Fall 2012 collections. On the roster as well is the Academy of the Arts University’s student fashion show, where seven outstanding students showcase their work alongside the professional designers they hope to one day become.
Contrasting, however, to the other shows held at Lincoln Center that week—Tory Burch, Vera Wang, and Dianne Von Furstenburg, to name a few—the audience had a more hip and youthful vibe, with the exception of the occasional proud parent. The nature of the show allowed for the style of the attendees to be more eclectic than the usual label-donning socialites scattered in the front rows of big name designers. You may not have found Mary-Kate and Ashley, but many seemed to be channeling their vintage-inspired style.
Sitting in the front row was UPenn sophomore and runway model Nick Hissom. Clad head to toe in Tommy Hilfiger casual sports wear, Nick came straight from the TH show earlier that evening. Unlike the University’s show, he said, the Tommy Hilfiger fashion show was complete with real trees and a simulated Parisian café.
So how does the Tommy Hilfiger brand ambassador find himself watching the Uni fashion show? Nick explained that he’s there as a “university student supporting other university students.” And as a runway model, he of course had many friends walking in the show.
Nick explained that he connects well with any students or new people trying to gain access to the industry.
“In all honesty I was sheltered growing up,” he said. “All of a sudden…your agents gives you a book and kicks you out the door to go to casting calls, saying ‘figure it out.’”
For Nick and other university students, the industry can indeed at times be lackluster. A history major in the College, he schedules all his classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, spending his weekends in New York City. In the city he stays with different friends each week, rotating on what his friends have labeled the “Nick Circuit.”
Given the sophisticated nature of the show, however, it was easy to forget you were watching fellow “suffering” college students. The looks that went down the runway combined creative edge and boldness not often found in student work. Prints and autumn-like jewel tones were replaced with blond fur, beige tweed and brocade. The boxier fits and shift dresses appealed almost to an adult demographic, rather than to the bohemians watching the show. Although the University show offers a small window into next fall’s trends, expect to add some pleated leather skirts, unique shimmery fur, and silk shift dresses to your fall wardrobe.