Designers to Watch at MICA Spring Fashion Shows

Tess Wypkema, Fruition. Metal and fiber techniques. Image courtesy of MICA

Tess Wypkema, Fruition made from metal and fiber techniques shows how young designers are incorporating nature and design. Image courtesy of MICA

FASHION & STYLE: Amazing young designers at MICA break boundaries with their designs


Hannah Jeremiah, Sacs. Air bed, green zipper, flattened spoon. Image courtesy of MICA

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND There is great excitement at the Maryland Institute of College of Art (MICA) as preparations reach a crescendo for the April Fashion Shows.  The two shows: Hoi Polloi: An Experimental Fashion Event and Donrose: Annual Benefit Fashion Show, will feature non-traditional, provocative original designs by student artists and designers at the school.

Hoi Polloi features newly designed clothing by enterprising young artists and fashion designers who express their creative vision by pushing fashion design boundaries. Exploring materials like fiber, textile, and mixed media, the young designers take designs beyond conventional limits. The depth of experimentation is what makes this outing outstanding.

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Organized by the artists and designers from MICA’s Fiber Department’s  year-long Multi-Media Event class, Hoi Polloi is a must see for aspiring young fashion designers. The show combines innovative fashion styles with costume design, performance art and soft sculpture in unconventional ways. With a combination of individually crafted bodies of garment -based work, the young artists and fashion designers navigate the intersection of fashion and art to create unique pieces.

This year’s Experimental  Fashion Event uses Hoi Polloi, a Greek word meaning “the common people” as a spring board. Exploring diverse points of view, the participating artists and designers converge in a single collaboration that challenges the predictable notion of fashion and style. With themes highlighting human experiences such as sadness and happiness, the student artists and fashion designers show that fashion has the capacity to express deeper emotions.  Their works explore different genre of the arts,  fashion, theatre, and designs to create a uniqueness that is absolutely captivating.

In addition to Hoi Polloi: An Experiments Fashion Event, Donrose: Annual Benefit Fashion Show, is expected to bring great attention to MICA during the April fashion season. The students and artists in this fashion event break traditional norms with their designs. With their works, they reiterate that people should not be judged on outward appearance. But more importantly, that fashion can help people externalize their internal emotions.

Young Baltimore Designers

More than 60 artists and designers are part of the MICA’s April Fashion Shows which runs from April 1 through 8. This year’s MICA’s April Fashion Shows are full of enterprising artists and fashion designers, including Nikki Hendricks, Stevie Pniewski, Sarah Lo, Brit Kolich, and Alison Baskeville. Here are just five of the outstanding designers to watch out for during the fashion shows.

Tess Wypkema

Tess Wypkema is a unique artist who is captivated by the concept of the inside and the outside. The young South African artist currently pursuing a BFA in Fiber at Maryland Institute College of Art, is intrigued by the similarities between the design of internal structures in nature and the body.  Exploring various techniques, including knitting, dyeing and sewing, the artist not only attempts to actualize a fascinating design, but also establish their connected. For her, everything on earth is connected through design, and that is the understanding that drives Tess’s creations. She explains:  “I am interested in the unifying elements which connect all life on earth.”

Zach Snyder

Zach Snyder, Lost-Visage. Beading, knitting, digital print, draping, and pattern design. Image courtesy of MICA

Zach Snyder is one of the artists in this group that is gradually fostering a direction for himself in the fashion and costume design world. Influenced by costume in films and television shows, particularly those with medieval wear, Zach’s works questions the notion of visible and the invisible. “What happens when we are no longer able to see another person’s face? In retrospect, what happens when others cannot see our face?” he asks.  For this designer from Pennsylvania, clothes have the ability to express and communicate emotions. Clothes, Zach notes, can “evolve into something more powerful and protective, creating a tension among the viewers of feeling fear and admiration at the same time.”

Hannah Jeremiah

Hannah Jeremiah is one of the creative artists to watch during the MICA April fashion events. Hannah works with found objects and scrap materials, including old pool toy, strips of a salvaged air bed, a soggy green zipper, and a traffic flattened spoon. Her design titled Sacs shows the brilliance of this young designer. Sacs borrows from what looks like a South African doll to show how scraps can be used to create utilitarian designs. Hannah’s design puts her on the path to becoming one of the top fashion designers to watch in the future.

Robert Pen and Antonius Bui

The concept of death, fun and seriousness is at the core of the designs by the duo of Robert Pen and Antonius Bui. These designers explore mask and adornments  to explain that death should not be approached with fear and sadness, but  “as transformative hope.” With their design aptly titled Real Fun, the duo constructs ceremonies in which each model is presented as in a process of transmutation.

Robert Penn and Antonius-Bui, Real Fun. Image courtesy of MICA

Kimmy (Ye Ji) Kim

What should humans be and look like? This is one question that Kimmy (Ye Ji) Kimtries to answer with her design that is part of MICA’s fashion week. The young designers create designs that distort the shape of the wearer in a way that transforms the model into an unidentifiable creature. With her work, Kimmy challenges the viewer’s perception of the human body and “how much of our identities and perception of others are influenced by appearances.”

Kimmy (Ye Ji) Kim, Skin. Image courtesy of MICA

Alison Baskeville

Alison Baskeville’s designs can be described as fun. Perhaps this is because she sees herself as an outsider in the fashion world. Her design combines courage, humor, playfulness and femininity. For her,  “being silly and loud and outrageous is a-okay!”. While there is a great focus on materials and textures, her designs also strive for emotion. She calls her design Sharp Sugar.

Alison Baskerville, Sharp Sugar. Image courtesy of MICA. Designers

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