Kimmy Kim ’16 (Painting B.F.A.), Skin collection for the Annual Benefit Fashion Show. Photo: Derek Blanks. Courtesy of MICA
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — Identity, fashion and societal labels are the focus of the 23rd Annual Benefit Fashion Show at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). For this highly anticipated fashion show to be held be held April 8 and 9, MICA student artists and designers considered societal labels that are often imposed from birth. Labels such as gay or straight, male or female, black or white, and rich or poor are creatively unpacked in this thought-provoking show.
Titled Donrose, the fashion show creators explained that the focus on societal labels help address the deficient conclusion that comes with judging people from external influences. “It is often the case that external influences are imposed upon individuals, like an automatic response, without a gray scale,” note the organizers.
The goal of the artists and designers in this fashion show is to use their works to explain that the world is constantly evolving and changing. Above all, that fashion is not static. “Donrose is about breaking norms,” notes the organizers of the event.
Breaking norms that make societal labels possible is at the core of this fascinating fashion show, which combines avant garde, conventional and contemporary styles. The narratives of the artworks contest the notion of black and white, emphasizing the gray area. The artists and designers through their works not only appeal to all senses, they also accentuate the middle ground where people can see all colors and possibilities.
The artworks in Donrose show a deep understanding of the faultiness that comes from judging people by outward appearance. The artists and designers channel their creativity to reinforcing that people should not be judged on outward appearances. With their artworks, they contend that fashion should be seen as an expression of emotions and not a means of labeling people. For them “Fashion can help people make bold expressions about how they feel on the inside.”
Donrose features artworks by more than 20 students, including sculptor, graphic designer, illustrator and art educators. One of the enterprising designs in this show is by Nikki Hendrick. Titled La Marine de l’Oshun, the design was inspired by Yoruba Orisha or deity of love and beauty named Oshun. Hendrick’s explores Dutch Wax Prints also known as African wax prints, to illuminate the power of this highly respected goddess of water.
Directed by London Zhang and assistant director Brandon Brooks, proceed from the Annual Benefit Fashion Show will go to supporting students involved in diversity programming and scholarly pursuits through the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Development, which sponsors the show.