Savannah College of Art and Design Holds 2023 Fashion Show

The Savannah College of Art and Design held its annual fashion show on Friday evening at the SCAD Atlanta campus, as well as virtually via the university’s website.

“The location is really stunning — the runway sort of curves around the courtyard of this brand new building they’ve just opened on the Atlanta campus. It really does look like the city of the future, which I think that somehow matches the energy of Atlanta,” Dirk Standen, dean of the SCAD Fashion School and former editor in chief of and founding editor of 23 Stories, Condé Nast’s creative agency, told WWD ahead of the show.

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The evening began with the premiere of the school’s third annual film, “Dimensions.” Directed by SCAD alum Chris Finn (of the award-winning creative production studio Scholar) and filmed on the university’s LED volume stage, the futuristic film features the works of more than 100 SCAD School of Fashion students (including garments, jewelry, footwear and accessories), as performed by SCAD student models and actors.

Coco Rocha on the runway at the Savannah College of Art and Design 2023 Fashion Show.

Following the film, SCAD Fashion began its live runway show featuring 55 senior and graduate students’ collections (noted to include more than 175 designs), with model Coco Rocha as runway coach, special guest and show opener. Throughout the show each student’s collection (comprising around three looks each, and spanning from conceptual and futuristic to texturally rich and artisanal) was amplified by SCAD’s show production and outdoor venue.

Each collection was critiqued by a panel of industry figures, spanning fields from design to public relations and editorial.

“We look at various factors: concept, construction, finish, all those things. We also have a jury of industry professionals to ensure that we get that sort of independent eye on it,” Standen said. “We really try to have a mix of people who are designers, who look at it from an editor’s point of view, or PR’s point of view to have as broad a spectrum of educated opinions as possible.”

The 2023 SCAD jury included designers LaQuan Smith, Italo Zucchelli, and Waris Ahluwalia; Nicole Phelps, global director of Vogue Runway; photographer and designer Tommy Ton; Sara Kozlowski, vice president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America; Pierre Rougier, founder of PR Consulting; stylist Paul Cavaco; Peter Arnold, executive director of the Fashion Scholarship Fund; Noah Johnson, global style director of GQ; David McKenzie, head of design at Puma; Hillary Taymour, creative director of Collina Strada, and more.

In addition, a group of industry experts (Frederic Tremblay, John Caruso, Camilla Stærk, Ben Chmura, Briana Danyele, and Amber Halford) served as SCAD’s StyleLab mentors and worked closely with select students throughout the 2022-2023 academic year.

The Savannah College of Art and Design 2023 Fashion Show 

The Savannah College of Art and Design 2023 fashion show.

“I think what’s really interesting is the kind of intense focus on fabric innovation, and I think that can take a lot of different forms. For example, you have a student like Maliki Gilbert, who designs all his collections and clothes in 3D and has these mesmerizing digital holographic prints,” Standen said of key ideas and standout collections from the 2023 show.

Standen also noted Nathan Barta’s intricate dresses made of laser cut leather and liquid metal polyester, as well as Torrion Reed’s upcycled denim works that “create these very powerful statements that play with volume and texture.”

Prior to the runway show, SCAD Fashion 2023 held its annual SCAD Jewelry Trunk Show. The university also presented the SCAD Étoile Award to photographer Ellen von Unwerth on Thursday for her contributions to film, fashion and photography.

The event included a conversation between von Unwerth and Stefano Tonchi discussing the photographer’s career and served as the opening of SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film’s exhibit “Ellen von Unwerth: This Side of Paradise.” The exhibit, open until Jan. 8, was curated by SCAD FASH creative director Rafael Gomez and presents more than 50 photographs and fashion films of her editorial and artistic works.

“I’m very excited and  proud to be receiving this SCAD étoile award. SCAD is such an open-minded institution that gives students amazing opportunities,” Von Unwerth told WWD. “I’m so happy to be appreciated for my work and to be an inspiration for the new generation.”

“I think someone like Ellen — the freedom and the exuberance that’s in her work, to me really is a wonderful match for SCAD and what the SCAD students are all about,” Standen said.

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