At the 2023 SCAD Fashion Show, Students Played With Upcycling and Gender Fluidity

Every spring, graduating fashion design students show off their creations on highly-produced runways that rival what we might see in New York, London, Milan and Paris. And these shows have become ones to watch, given that they're where designers like Lee Alexander McQueenProenza Schouler and Christopher John Rogers got their start.

Over the weekend in Atlanta, 55 soon-to-be Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) grads had their moment, championing sustainability, social commentary and highly conceptual design in a runway presentation that felt like a pleasant exhale from today's typically highly-commercialized presentations. Leading up to the show, participants received mentorship from a jury of industry professionals — including LaQuan Smith, Vogue Runway director Nicole Phelps, photographer Tommy Ton and CFDA vice president Sara Kozlowski — through the school's Style Lab program.

There were 175 looks on the runway, ranging in aesthetic (from "Mad Max" edginess to neoclassicist regality) and in silhouette (from form-fitted corsetry to blown-up inflated shapes). Some obscured the face, seemingly as a way to comment on anonymity in the age of social media and Face ID. Yumi Li, for example, veiled one model's head in a full silver hood, while Kate Assismus had a white lace cover with a red lipstick stain superimposed. Others took utilitarian staples to the extreme, like how Haoran "Nathaniel" Zou added cargo pockets to trousers and tops in sheer excess.

There was clearly no shortage of fabric available to students, according to the long trains or carefully pleated pieces featured on the runway. Other highlights included corsets from designers Garren Hayes and Smith Megan, futuristic android-wear from Rainey Lowery and mashed-up denim from Torrion Reed.

All in all, students used SCAD's 2023 fashion show as an opportunity to explore possibility and expanse — apt for the next generation of industry leaders. See the stand-out looks from the graduating designers' collections below.

Disclosure: SCAD paid for Fashionista's travel and accommodations to attend the fashion show.

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