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Head of the class

Following in the footsteps of “Project Runway” alumni puts pressure on a new class of designers

By Nadine Kam

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 11:31 a.m. HST, Apr 21, 2011


With the recent successes of Honolulu Community College alumni Jay Sario and Andy South on "Project Runway," the current class of senior designers is feeling a lot of pressure to forge a name for itself in fashion lovers’ hearts.

While few of them would deign to compare themselves to the two designers, each class member is prepared to find success in her own way, and each finds the pressure to meet expectations has enhanced rather than hindered her work.

TRANSITOPIA

Honolulu Community College student fashion show
» When: 7 p.m. Saturday
» Where: HCC Automotive Depart-
ment, 445 Kokea St.
» Tickets: $25, includes heavy pupu (some standing-room-only tickets will be available at the door)
» Info: 845-9203
"I feel it's a good pressure. It's more of an inspiration to really excel in showing what we can do," says Randie Lunn, whose contemporary Hawaiian wear collection incorporates fabric from Manuheali‘i, where she works.

"Andy and Jay created a big expection for our little school. I think it's really heightened our performance," says Channelle Amberly Hillman, who created a Victorian-tinged, street-smart collection dubbed "Satire."

Some have found notoriety in their own right, like artist Remi Mead, who's known around town for her captivating canvasses of girls and bunnies. In the Year of the Rabbit, she’s created printed fabric of her artwork that she’s incorporated into adorable dresses worthy of her characters. In this case, art inspires life, as she says, "I wanted my girls to look like one of the girls in my paintings."

Karen Gay, who incorporated her Korean name, So Yeun Chun, in a silk-screen print that accents her designs, comes straight out and admits that three years into sewing she's no match for any of the “Project Runway” designers. But, she follows that statement with an unequivocal “yet.”

‘PROJECT RUNWAY’ AT CENTERSTAGE

Five Season 8 contestants reunite to show their latest designs
» When: Noon to 12:45 p.m. Saturday
» Where: Ala Moana Center Centerstage
» Cost: Free
“All my life I've been the best at what I do,” she says. “I cannot lose. I love a challenge. I want to do better than Andy or Jay or (Season 8 contestant) Mondo (Guerra), but I need bullets to fire back. I don't have the skills yet, but Andy better watch out,” she says with a laugh.

Given this confident bunch of eight designers, TRANSITOPIA, the school’s annual fashion show, is set to outdo last year’s strong showcase. And that’s without the added celebrity of four of South’s fellow Season 8 cast mates adding to the excitement.

Sharing the stage Saturday with South, who taught the HCC class in fashion show production this spring, will be Guerra, the single-monikered Casanova, Christopher Collins and Michael Drummond.

The designers will reunite at an event at 7 p.m. tonight at Waikiki Edition’s Lobby Bar. Tickets are $25. They’ll also be at Ala Moana Center’s Centerstage for the largest showcase of their latest designs in a free event from noon to 12:45 p.m. Saturday.

 

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KATIE EVANS
Collection: “Caged”
Her designs are marked by latticework accents that she says “remind me of a cage, but instead of the cage controlling you, you control the cage. I see a beautiful, strong woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants wearing my dresses.” Incidentally, Evans hails from Portland, Ore., which in eight seasons has produced two “Project Runway” winners.

JENNABEA GALTON
Collection: “Status”
The only designer to focus on swimwear, Galton brings chic to the beach in sophisticated suits and coverups that convey status and, though functional, “look too pretty to get wet,” she said. Her obsession with celebrity and “The Real Housewives” TV franchise fueled her collection.

 

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KAREN GAY
Collection: “You Are Beautiful”
If anyone’s “Project Runway”-ready, it might be this designer, who “made it work” though “everything went wrong” this semester. “My fabric didn't arrive, my design didn't suit the fabric I chose … I kept changing my mind. Can you believe I made the last five garments in two weeks?” What she came up with is ultra-womanly collection.

CHANNELLE AMBERLY HILLMAN
Collection: “Satire”
Hillman said her favorite holiday growing up was Halloween because her mom always indulged her costume choices. Her collection, with a mix of Victorian and contemporary street inspirations, is intended to get a person noticed, rather than fade into a sea of casual comfort. “When you take it together, it looks like costume, but when you look at the individual pieces, any of them could be part of a normal wardrobe,” she said.

 

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KIKI LEUNG
Collection: “Nomad”
Leung was born to create fashion. She was already receiving encouragement as a crafty child who fashioned little purses from socks and other items she could get her hands on. The colors, herringbone-style design and sense of flow and movement in her collection were inspired by the colors and graphic branches, or barbs, of a pheasant feather. “The girls I see wearing my line are those who are wanderers around the world, seeking out their muse,” she said.

RANDIE LUNN
Collection: “Ku‘ualoha”
Employed by the Hawaiian-inspired apparel company Manuheali‘i, Lunn appears to have a head start in having a venue for her designs, delivering a contemporary take on island separates for every occasion. But she makes it clear she has to earn her place. Using Manuheali‘i fabrics in her collection, she said she hopes “they appreciate the fusion of their artwork with mine.”

 

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REMI MEAD
Collection: “Ninja Bunny”
Through high school, Mead won numerous awards for her painting and drawings, which three years ago began to be populated with fashionable girls and bunnies in assorted shapes and sizes. The unique characters from her illustrations now come to entertaining life via her whimsical, girly punk meets Lolita designs.

CAITLIN SPRACKLEN
Collection: “Love and War”
Spracklen draws her inspiration from history, and after entering the world of cosplay (costume play inspired by Japanese manga and anime) about four years ago, found her way to steam-punk fashion that merges Victorian sensibilities with a modern, anachronistic twist. “It’s kind of costumey but for me that is perfect,” she says. She aims to make a career in costume design, planning to further her studies at the University of Arizona this fall.






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