Pink florals, rows of seating and a fashion runway embellished the Cleveland Museum of Art’s sunny atrium on June 19 for the Fashion Talks runway show.
The second annual event — in addition to giving Cleveland’s fashion community a chance to shop local vendors' work — celebrated a breadth of local, national and international fashion designers. Fashion students showcased freshly made garments, and Cleveland-based refugees Esperanza Threads told a distinct story through their collections. Featured works from designers out of New York and Los Angeles included a performance piece from Los Angeles designer Haus of Toussaint, which along with spoken word blended a celebration of Juneteenth into the event. A line of ready-to-wear styled outfits by local stylist Parrish Jamard Purnell was among the event’s showstoppers.
Among all the great work we saw at Sundays fashion show, here are three local designers who caught our eye.
1. Porshia Designs
After starting her clothing boutique, Sweet Nothings, Porshia Banks wanted to start making her own clothing to fill the gaps she was seeing in the fashion landscape.
The six pieces she showed on Sunday — such as her green, pink and zebra-print pink dresses, which are ready to be taken out on the town — expressed pure, genuine fun. All of the pieces felt wearable and approachable while providing a little twist, like a one shoulder corset or a long sleeve dress that seamlessly blended into gloves. This playfulness isn’t unintentional — as Banks’ looks urge the inner child in you to play dress-up through your everyday style.
“We try to live in the fun of your youth,” says Banks. “When you’re young, you play dress up and you want to have these moments, and maybe when you’re younger you don’t have the money to do that. But then you get older, and you’re able to create that moment you’ve been dreaming about,” says Banks.” sweetnothingsboutique.com
2. Miranda Marti
Featuring sheer materials, soft cottons and a gentle palette of neutral colors, Miranda Marti’s pieces are somewhere between a daydream and a permanent vacation. The collection welcomed lounging — but with style — such as a dark beige sheer dress with a black-and-white optical design, inspired by the art in the museum.
“I'd say that my style is pretty inspired by historic fashion,” says Marti. “This dress was inspired by a work of art that was at the [Cleveland Museum of Art] for its Jazz Age exposition in 2018. I didn't get to see it in person, but I was living in France when I made this dress, so I was kind of just doing my research on it.” mirandalynaemarti.com
Zahra Najafi, a junior fashion student at Kent State University, used layers of fabrics to tell not only a story of clothing but also how it’s made.
“I noticed that people are very far removed from their clothing,” Najafi says. “I was trying to figure out a way that people can actually mess with it and understand it.”
Najafi, who is a junior fashion student at Kent State University, did this through a very experimental approach, by leaving certain seams hanging out of her boldly made garments. Each piece also featured a wealth of layering and pleating — inspired by the designers’ own personal style.
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