Students compete in apparel design contest

Students compete in apparel design contest

Valerie King, a junior from Atlanta, will be one of the rising stars presenting their garments at Birmingham Fashion Week. CW | Amy Sullivan

Bailey Shoenberger

Each year in the city of Birmingham, the world of fashion comes together to celebrate Southern fashion and to promote its local stars.

During the fifth annual Birmingham Fashion Week, 10 undergraduate UA students and one graduate student will hold 11 of the 16 positions in the 2015 Emerging Designer Competition. These students were chosen after submitting eight sketches, creating a digital mood board describing the information for each design and participating in interviews with a panel of judges.

Leslie Beattie, a senior majoring in marketing and apparel design, was introduced to fashion in middle school.

“A woman who owned a local boutique where I shopped regularly gave me the first season of Project Runway episodes,” she said. “From then on, it was more than just clothing.”

Her collection is named ‘Aesthete,’ which means someone with deep sensitivity to the beauty of art or nature.

“I tried to channel inspiration from the works of J.M.W. Turner and Picasso’s Blue Period,” she said.

Seline Meisler, a junior majoring in apparel design, said she sees the 2015 Emerging Designers Competition as an introduction into the fashion industry.

“I’ve always loved flipping through magazines and walking through stores, seeing beautiful high-end garments and thinking about what I could create,” Meisler said.

Meisler said styling always came naturally to her.

“I think this was due to my grandmother, who has always had an amazing fashion sense,” she said. “She would wear all of the most amazing high fashion designers along with her beautiful jewelry, looking chic and sophisticated at all times.”

In her collection, Meisler said she combines flirty elegance with edginess.

“[The collection has] a soft, feminine, yet an industrial feel that has athletic wear and lingerie influences to make for a unique collection of gowns,” she said.

Valerie King, a junior majoring in journalism and apparel textile design, used a painting called “Love Story 2” by Anna Razumovskaya as the inspiration for her collection.

“The painting is a mix between these very light airy colors and these deep dark rich ones,” King said. “Plus, ballet is the same juxtaposition as fashion is. As an art, it’s very fluid and graceful but as a discipline it very structured and strong.”

King said she has always loved clothes and the idea of dressing people for major life moments, but it wasn’t until she came to college that she began to explore fashion as a career choice.

“After my first sewing class sophomore year, I fell in love and knew I’d have to spend the rest of my life behind a machine,” she said. “If I could do anything, I would buy myself a little store in an old town square somewhere in the deep South and custom design wedding gowns for the rest of my life.”

The semi-finalists will display their collections on the runway May 7-8. The winner of the 2015 Emerging Designer Competition will be announced during the May 9 runway finale. The winner will receive a guaranteed spot in the Birmingham Fashion Week 2016 runway show, an editorial piece, a television appearance, a professional photo shoot and a $1,000 scholarship.

For more information or to purchase tickets to the show, visit bhamfashionweek.com.