Independent Designer Runway Show - Bellevue Fashion Week

Another Bellevue Fashion Week come and gone, but not to fret...we can relive all its wonderful moments through photos! One of the best shows that I'm happy to say seems to be an ongoing annual event is the Independent Designer Runway Show (IDRS). It's like our very own Project Runway, featuring a panel of local fashion industry experts, like well known stylists and image consultants, industry professionals from companies like Amazon, and Seattle Met's style editor, Laura Cassidy, who are both mentors and final judges with a selected group of local designer finalists, who get to present a collection on the runway and compete for a final $5,000 cash prize. Let's make it work, shall we?

Last year's IDRS show was fantastic -- the designers featured were imaginative, passionate creatives who put together incredible collections that truly inspired. This year had just as imaginative, passionate designers, with the added plus of being able to buy the pieces from the collections, so while there were a mix of more theatrical, edgy looks, there were still plenty of pieces that were conceivable fits into a daily wardrobe. 

These aren't all the looks shown, just favorites that caught my eye -- I highly recommend looking these designers up and keeping an eye out for their names. Even though there could only be one ultimate winner, everyone was a rock star who had their work shown to a huge audience, who were dazzled by such local talent. 

Ozen Company by Aykut Ozen: founded in 2009, it's influenced by 60s and 70s rock and roll fashion, which is fitting, as designer Ozen is a musician who got into fashion when he started creating his own stage outfits. A lot of great material-mixing, with knits, fur, leather and decorative flourishes. Every piece makes a statement.

Wyatt Orr by Liise Wyatt and Karly Orr: modern, clean and very wearable styles by collaborative duo of designers. This collection was probably my personal favorite -- the mix of materials and simple elegance made this whole collection irresistible. I could see myself wearing any or all of their pieces. The dresses were a perfect balance of beauty and strength.

Benu Cashmere by Claire Kim: Incredible knitwear pieces, as they should be, from a designer with an MA in Fashion Knitwear Design from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The pieces really showcase versatility and an appreciation of texture and materials. And cozy. Oh my goodness, so cozy!

Trina Pierre by Trina Pierre: There's an element of flamboyance and performance in these pieces, as they come from a designer with an education from Parsons, time living in Paris, and a background as a professional skater. Big statement pieces, but also incredible attention to detail with zipper-decorated necklines and flourishes of ruffles and cutaway panels designed on the backs of pieces to make sure you make as much of a statement as you leave the room!

Michael Cepress by Michael Cepress: I saw this designer's work on display at the Bellevue Arts Museum High Fiber exhibit -- I was totally blown away by his skills with complex layering of materials. This collection felt like an American prairie homage; a sense of handmade/homemade with multicultural influences, which is very much the American experience.

Paychi Guh by Paychi Karen Guh: A beautiful combination of soft, drapey knitwear with architectural, modern sensibilities. This whole collection felt so very Seattle, appealing to a desire to be comfortable, but with structure in mind. The looks were fluid and easily imaginable in one's wardrobe.

Corban Harper: Already a hot name in the the region's fashion world, Harper's edgy, whimsical approach to fashion is perfect for Seattle. A quirky mix of materials and playing with layering, the collection is as much about how you put an outfit together as the pieces themselves. And a pair of sparkly cat ears never hurts!

Erin Roby by Erin Roby: Several pieces in this collection felt like taking the professional wardrobe and shaking things up. A lot of structured suiting materials that reexamined classic silhouettes. Ladylike with an appreciation that women want to feel beautiful and respected.

Lia Pal by Liuba Palancic: Feminine and edgy, this collection had great statement pieces. It's amazing what a dramatic angle or a bit of fur and sparkle can do. Any of these pieces worn separately would be eye-catching and worn together, you've got the outfit everyone's going to ask where you got it.

Sarsen by Heather Blanchard: This was the most dramatic runway presentation -- Little Red Riding Hood goes Goth-Metal. And it works perfectly! I would imagine someone like actress Tilda Swinton rocking these pieces -- bold, simple, yet with an air of mystery. Everything felt very Greta Garbo, and I loved it.

And the 2013 IDRS winner is...Ozen Company by Aykut Ozen! I loved all the collections and I loved that the panel chose someone who had a true independent, edgy spirit. There's just no way Aykut Ozen is going to make even the simplest garment into anything boring; his desire for clothing to be the spirit of a person will carry on into everything he does and I really look forward to seeing what's next for him. Seattle Met is going to be focusing more on the designers, so keep an eye out for their next issue, and keep your eye on the Magpie -- I'm still editing through my photos from the other Bellevue Fashion Week shows! More runway madness to come!!

Jaunty Fine Print: Photos by Denise Sakaki

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