The second floor of Union South turned into a mecca of electronic beats, tailored suits, high heels and red lips. Designers, bloggers, photographers and reporters flowed around the room early Friday night in preparation for MODA Magazine’s University of Wisconsin Fashion Week.
UW Fashion Week was set to kick off its finale fashion show. The student-run lifestyle magazine took over the space to create an experience that brought culture, art and most importantly fashion to campus.
UW Fashion Week has been alive in Madison for four years now, developed to give the campus an event where students could celebrate local style and fashion. The team of almost entirely senior editors has worked every year to improve the entire week and make not only an artistic impact, but a community one too. Editor-in-chief of MODA Chloe Karaskiewicz explained the improvements in style of UW Fashion Week this year.
“This year we included local designers who really produced a great quality of couture work,” Karaskiewicz said.
The team of editors at MODA discussed another facet of UW Fashion Week this year that gave back to members of the community. Wednesday MODA held its first “Shop and Swap.” More than 165 students and members of the Madison community donated high fashion garments at Union South and created a makeshift store where people can trade items. The team at MODA was able to donate a collection of items to St. Vincent de Paul’s.
Karaskiewicz described how the event was significant for the community and the magazine.
“[It] is really nice for us because we really wanted to use the magazine as a platform to promote the ideals we feel are very important,” she said. “We’ve worked hard to expand not only the staff, but the content of our magazine to be more inclusive.”
UW Fashion Week’s finale show Friday night made it clear that fashion and couture are definitely alive and thriving in Madison. The room fell silent as the music swelled and the stage illuminated. Everyone eagerly anticipated what student and retail designers worked to bring to the finale show. They did not disappoint.
The show powered through over ten designers, keeping the energy and intensity at a maximum. The show was electric. The diverse group of models was confident and demanded attention as they strutted down the runway. The crowd cheered and screamed for looks they found particularly praise-worthy. The energy in the room was infectious, and it was clear that the designers, models and event planners worked hard to get the show to flow with this electricity.
However, the real stars of the night were the designers. Their couture looks obviously took creativity, time and an impeccable eye for detail. Although the pieces ranged from glamorous evening gowns to casual men’s jackets, all the looks stood as a symbol for the passion the designers put into their work. Madalyn Manzeck was a major voice in getting more student designers on the runway and advocating for their work.
“I was kind of flabbergasted that not more student designers were part of this,” Manzeck said when talking about UW Fashion Week in years past. “I really tried to push that because I knew people in MODA. I knew people in my major. I knew what designers would be good for different opportunities and events. So I just kind of tried to be the buffer and connect both of them.”
By including five student designers, compared to only one last year, the night was filled with youthful and fresh perspective. This event is a major opportunity for students to reach out and make long lasting networks with the retailers. By combining the student and retail designs, the experience was a perfect fit for the campus and community.
The show has paved the way for future years of a rapidly growing group of students interested in design and the power of fashion. Karaskiewicz said she wants this group to continue to expand and bring more people together. Karaskiewicz and her entire team of editors were humble and thankful for the support they received for the event.
“It is a fun event,” Karaskiewicz said. “It is work and play for us, but it should be a lot of fun for everybody else. I hope that they’re proud that we’re part of the campus. Over the past four years we’ve worked hard to make our mark on campus and it’s really rewarding to see people come out and support us like this.”
Meet the designers and retailers
The first looks to hit the catwalk were from local designer Lauren Lynch. Her pieces were centered on femininity and the use of floral patterns and flannel fabrics. Lynch’s designs ranged from beautiful evening wear to more edgy jumpsuits and leotards.
Caitlin Wagner’s designs were the next to take center stage. Her looks were classic, mostly showing black, white and red evening gowns. These pieces were clean and organized. Floral seemed to be a popular spring trend, with Wagner also featuring floral patterns.
Hailee von Haden
Hailee von Haden took a more modern and casual approach in her designs. They featured pastel colors and unique prints of illustrated women’s faces. The models swapped out high heels for casual flats to add to the overall calmness of the fashion.
Eleanor Finn’s pieces were feminine and spring-ready. With her light pink and beige tops and skirts, the models looked comfortable and beautiful.
Milwaukee-based Moda Muñeca had the most looks of the night. Their pieces featured pantsuits, gowns, tops, skirts and other garments. Trends among the pieces included stunning teal velvet fabrics and edgy black netting.
Twigs took a clean and elegant approach to their looks. With a variety of skirts, blazers and dresses, the looks were filled with pops of color.
Floral was in full bloom in Sarah Nasgowitz’s pieces for fashion week. She focused on black, white and beige to brighten glamorous gowns and pieces. The illusion of actual flowers on her looks created an interesting aesthetic.
Jazzman gave the fashion show a male perspective. Ranging from casual board shorts and graphic tees, to tailored suits and dress shoes, Jazzman showed the audience that male fashion is flourishing.
Student designer and UW Fashion Week planner Madalyn Manzeck gave her lovely take on women’s evening wear on the runway. Her appreciation of the feminine figure and neutral colors was apparent, especially on a beautifully crafted gold dress.
La vie Luchian
The show ended on the refreshing collection, La vie Luchian, by Sophia Luchianni. Featuring colorful anime prints, flowing kimonos and even male models with samurai-styled man buns, Luchianni drew inspiration from Japan to create her collection.
Eyewear from SEE accompanied many of the designers’ and retailers’ clothes.