Fashion week goes virtual

By Mary Nightingale-Grey1851 Contributor

Virtual fashion show showing off alumni Sam Bettencourt’s (‘20) senior collection via Zoom.
Photos by Mary Nightingale-Grey.

Due to the cancellation of Lasell’s fashion shows last spring amid COVID-19, Boston Fashion Week hosted a virtual runway on October 8, showcasing the work of Lasell’s recent fashion design graduates.

Boston Fashion Week has been a major part of Boston’s fashion community since 1995. Due to the ongoing pandemic, it went fully virtual this year, dedicating the week to the recent fashion design graduates of Massachusetts colleges and universities.

“Not one of the students that have dedicated themselves to learning the craft over several years will be seeing their work included in what has become a right of passage at these schools, the annual fashion show” according to the Boston FashionWeek website.

Following Boston Arts Academy and School of Fashion Design, Lasell University took over the virtual stage. “The Lasell team was the first to sign in to this project. Their enthusiasm helped move fashion school night forward,” said Jay Calderin, Founder and Executive Director of Boston Fashion Week during the event.

The night started off with the virtual Red Carpet at 6 p.m. The event included celebrity guests such as Fashion Designer and Icon, David Joseph and Munjeet Geyer, as well as Calderin, TV/Film/Fashion Producer & Fashion Model Extraordinaire, who hosted the Red Carpet over Zoom. During the event, they asked faculty and celebrity guests questions about the production behind Lasell Runway 2020.

Professor of Fashion and Curator of the Lasell Fashion Collection Jill Carey said, “In our hearts we knew that this work had to have a platform, because the heart and soul of the designer in four years of development is part of this extraordinary process. I felt very brave moving forward because of Jay, because of Fashion Week, because of our long friendship and our real respect for our discipline and what we are trying to do in our field.”

The Lasell Runway 2020 was presented as a 49-minute film. The work of fashion design graduates was split into three categories – Street Smarts, Transitional Elegance and Teasing the Edge, depending on the style and elements of the collection.

Sarah Rudker, Stephanie Amato, Sarah Kelly, Sarah Reese, Alexandra Doyle, Sabrina Ashley, Kathleen Politica, Amanda Wagreich, Kaitlin Olivia Johnson, Elizabeth Sarah Witherell, Cassandra Greeley, My Nguyen, Cass Starling, Hannah Bowerman-Buan and the winner of the Christy Proctor award, Sam Bettencourt, were all fashion design graduates of 2020 who were able to showcase their work.

Each collection was filmed by the designers themselves, with or without models, in various styles of storytelling and editing.

Associate Professor of Fashion at Lasell, Catherine Weiss said after viewing Runway 2020, “I was so incredibly impressed with the editing of the video. It gave you a different lens in appreciating the creativity from each of the students.” Weiss went on to say, “I feel like traditionally we have done theshow where the students would do a little recap of who they are and what their inspiration is and then the garments would come out, but I felt like this was just different. I feel like I got an inside glimpse of how they chose to express themselves in an entirelydifferent way and it is very interesting.”

Senior fashion merchandising major Victoria Capone said, “My favorite part of runway 2020 was seeing the creativity and innovative problem solving by the designers, as well as the fashion show production class. Between the designers completing their looks and creating their videos, to production working on researching new ways to put on a show, I’m so glad to see both teams working to execute a new legacy.”

The virtual afterparty began right after the Runway 2020 viewing. Current and former faculty, fashion graduates of 2020, and underclassmen got together on a Zoom call to discuss the show and interview the designers. The Zoom chat was filled with compliments and comments about the Runway and the collections. Interviewed designers shared their plans for the future, discussing the struggles of working on their collections from home last spring, and were asked to give three words of advice to the underclassmen.

Boston Fashion Week 2020 implemented the “new normal” into every aspect of the Thursday night show. Even from afar, students, graduates and faculty were able to create and connect on a new virtual level. Lasell Runway 2020 can be viewed on the Boston Fashion Week website under Boston Fashion Week 2020 – Day Five.

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