Photography by Vanessa Valdovinos

Jumping the gun tends to be bad for everyone. However, “Fashion Forward to 2060” night was an incredible study in what may or may not lie ahead in the world of fashion. The big prize went to Alexandre N. Chandoha, whose pieces were more art installation than wearable, but when it comes down to it, that was the idea. They were inspired by his easel and sheer writer’s block (or whatever kind of block artist’s tend to get).

The competition was held at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts, whose stage was very fitting for the intimacy of those in attendance. I’m pretty sure it was only media and some of the designers’ friends and family. That didn’t stop them from exhibiting some amazing looks that were equal parts daring and desirable. Chandoha really understood the point of this exercise and I was very thrilled once it was announced that he had won the ultimate prize: $300 and bragging rights.

The trouble with predicting the future is that you don’t really know how to go about it. It’s like predicting the end of the world; so far, no one’s been correct. What these pieces really sought to explain was the tantalizing threat of the future. The realization that you can’t undo what has happened and have no clue what will is as terrifyingly fun as a horror movie. The suspense of it all is killing me. Unfortunately, I really didn’t see much difference between the present and many of the pieces shown. It all seemed quite contemporary, something I might have seen before. However, as I say often, fashion is a cyclical sort of animal that returns to it’s place of birth to spawn and that road is always taken upstream.

I don’t know what lengths clothes shall go in the future but if worms aren’t crapping in my mouth just yet, I suspect there to be a bit of resistance to the appropriately outlandish element of the four designers. To be fair, I figure as much because of the fact that eras come and go, some sexier than others, but it’s always back and forth. Those pieces would have worked if we were on pristine stretch of highway and, as my previous salmon reference, you should know it never works out that way.

In the end though, what do I know? I write therefore I can’t. When you think about it, it never was about what was good and what was bad. Sure it was a competition and there were definite winners and losers, but in all reality, these student designers got to showcase their blood, sweat and tears. It was a visual feast before our eyes. I know it doesn’t mean much coming from a twenty year old fashion writer but seeing the warmth and integrity of the students gave me such a sense of pride. Like a space heater on full blast in winter, I felt a sense of comfort and mortality that I rarely divulge into. Tonight was not just about clothes or about what will be hot in fifty years. Tonight was about four young and incredibly talented designers cementing themselves in the local scene. I have a lot in common with these renegades, save for their shining faces.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the incredible makeup done by Hernan Rivera who I had a chance to speak with and is a swell guy. There were dark lips: black with purple, black with green and black with red (much like my photo shoot for Susan Elizabeth Designs) and very colorful and loud eyes. I don’t know if that’s how women would wear their makeup in 2060, but I wouldn’t mind them to wear like that in 2010.

The moral of the story that I went home with was that fashion comes and goes… and it always will.

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