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FAST at UCLA refashions annual spring showcase with catwalk videos, music

FAST at UCLA’s annual Spring Showcase stitched together various clips from designers and models alike to debut the organization’s first virtual event. (Chelsea Rose Westman/Daily Bruin)

By Zinnia Finn

May 29, 2021 11:03 a.m.

This post was updated May 31 at 6:24 p.m.

FAST at UCLA stitched together both clothing and videos for its annual spring showcase.

Marking its first remote event, the fashion club hosted a Zoom event that combined live introductions with a prerecorded fashion show. As opposed to having a traditional catwalk in Pauley Pavilion, designers instead filmed clips of models, which were later edited together and backed by student-produced music. The showcase began with a quick message from each club director that recognized members’ efforts and the theme of this year’s event: change. Model co-director and third-year psychobiology student Meghan He said the refashioning of FAST was catalyzed by the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

“I always say that restrictions bring more creativity,” He said. “If anything, FAST has really shown just how much that can be a fertile ground to make something completely new.”

Following a brief introduction from the current board, a group of FAST alumni commended the students and spoke on how the club shaped their UCLA experience. After a final round of thanks, the screen momentarily dimmed, and the pre-recorded catwalk went underway.

The show opened with club president and fourth-year political science student Hope Pham’s collection, which was shot in a vineyard at dusk and displayed models walking in a range of tailored dresses and sleek two-piece sets. Golden-hour lighting reflected off the pieces, with the clips incorporating the location’s foliage and a bundle of pink carnations. Pham’s designs carried a strong directive license for shooting and storylines — a quality FAST editorial director Magie Le said was partially afforded by the show’s remote setting.

“(We were) able to use this time to really get creative about the virtual shoots that we’ve been able to do, and really make the most out of them,” Le said.

[Related: FAST’s virtual catwalk brings new life to annual fashion show]

This creativity was evident throughout the runway, with designers and their peers occasionally modeling their own pieces. First-year business economics student Bisola Amudipe said she paired up with a fellow designer to model her collection, which is rooted in her Nigerian heritage and the fashion trends of the early 2000s. Amudipe said she modeled half her pieces herself, choosing a designer as her second model because of their shared beliefs on what the collection represents.

“We both have the same vision of how we don’t really like the (pop-culture) depiction of Africa,” Amudipe said. “People don’t really see the beauty behind Africa, specifically Nigeria, and how there’s so many different cultures and tribes (to) represent.”

Amudipe said she hoped to shift this portrayal through her collection, which combines wax print fabric and bold patterns with characteristic Y2K silhouettes. During her virtual catwalk, she paired crop tops with low rise pants, complete with hip straps that emulated a whale tail. Amudipe said she drew her inspiration from the Nollywood films her parents showed her as a child, which were heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the 2000s.

Second-year psychobiology student Caroline Hersman directly followed Amudipe’s collection with her own collection, titled “Adulthood.” Driven by the fast-forward feelings of the past year’s remote learning and introspection following her mother’s cancer diagnosis, Hersman said her designs aim to straddle the line between teenagerdom and adulthood.

“I’ve wanted the clothes to sort of show that transition period,” Hersman said. “Because I think (for) a lot of people, it’s like … that period of your 20s where you’re figuring yourself out.”

[Related: Fast Fashion]

Despite her appreciation for avant-garde, Hersman said her collection focuses on classic pieces she saw her mom wear growing up, with longer hems and more mature styles. Her models wore their hair in claw clip updos and low ponytail barrettes – styles also inspired by old photos of her mom in her 20s. Exuding a sense of place and structure for life after college, Hersman said “Adulthood” goes against the achievement narrative that everything in one’s life has to be revolutionary or novel.

“To be honest, I wanted to be like ‘screw that!’” she said. “I make clothes that you’ve seen before, that make you feel at home and make you feel comforted and that are fun and enjoyable.”

The showcase finished almost immediately after the prerecorded portion, but guests were invited to stick around and mingle if they desired. Though the plan for next year’s showcase remains unknown, Amudipe said she is excited to continue honing her skills and exploring new themes in collaboration with other members of FAST. Contrary to the idea of branding sold by the media, Hersman said she is looking forward to designing more as well, but most likely won’t stick to a specified category. Hersman said she identifies as an artist in nearly every context, and said it would be impossible for her – or anyone – to genuinely remain static.

“There’s this whole belief that we’re supposed to create a brand, that there’s something that we represent and that’s what draws people, and that’s what makes people feel connected to us,” Hersman said. “But people aren’t brands, that’s not how we work – we’re meant to evolve.”

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Zinnia Finn | Daily Bruin senior staff
Finn is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment and PRIME. She was previously the Lifestyle editor from 2021-2022, an Arts reporter from 2020-2021 and a member of PRIME’s first intern class from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and public health student from San Francisco, California.
Finn is a senior staff writer for Arts & Entertainment and PRIME. She was previously the Lifestyle editor from 2021-2022, an Arts reporter from 2020-2021 and a member of PRIME’s first intern class from 2019-2020. She is a fourth-year neuroscience and public health student from San Francisco, California.
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