Monday, October 29, 2012

Fresh Traditions 2012

Back on September 29th, I was invited to part of Minnesota Fashion Week to see Fresh Traditions, the annual fashion show put on by CHAT (Center for Hmong Arts & Talent). The night showcased five different local Hmong designers who made culturally inspired fashions. I was so excited to be able to attend the event and get a deeper taste of the Hmong culture which is so prevelant here in Minnesota. I took some photos at the event but accidentally deleted them all because I'm horrible with technology. So all photos being shared are courtesy of Huenha.
Khou Chang
Chang's collection "La Sirena" incorporated traditional patterns, rich colours, and "alluring feminie silhouettes." She used a lot of velvet, which is a traditional fabric in Hmong culture. I loved this collection because of the rich colours and the daring cut-outs. It reminded me of chic '90s grunge and I fell in love with many of the pieces, wishing to own them myself. Although Chang designs for "women who need more than jeans and t-shirts" I think that her pieces are easily wearable for any girl.

These two looks were probably my favourites! I loved how sleek and feminine the look on the left is, especially the skirt (not to mention the girl is gorgeous - I had a class with her last semester!). But obviously I'm head over heels for the shorts on the right, not to mention the edgy top (see what I mean when I say '90s grunge?), and the beautiful flower crown.

I love this dress! I definitely wanted it on my body as soon as this model took the runway.

Pahoua Vue
Vue's collection for the programme was called "Trou" and was inspired by her mother and is representative of a young girl's journey to break out of the norm and achieve anything that she wants to do, as long as she keeps a positive attitude. Vue was inspired by the vibrant colours that are such a huge part of the Hmong culture.

This was my favourite look of Vue's collection. The silhouette was reminscent of the '50s, and the blouse had a Spanish influence to it. I loved the colours of this collection. It seemed to be geared towards a more mature crowd and incorporated a lot of very chic, classic silhouettes.

N3 is a design team consisting of Linda Lee, Hiyana Lee, and May Yang. Their collection was based off of Walt Disney's "The Little Mermaid" including Ariel, her sisters, and Ursula. This collection was edgy, original, and the gowns were breathtaking. (Oh, also, the makeup was amazing!)

N3 seemed to appeal to both young and mature clientele. The above look reminded me of a super edgy prom dress, and I love the seafoam green roses on her shoulders!

This dress was breathtaking, and even more amazing when the model walked. To be honest, I definitely got more of a Pocahontas vibe from it, but remarkable all the same.

This one, too, was breathtaking when the model swept down the runway. It is more than clear that this look was mermaid-inspired. What a stunner!

Hy & Pachia
Both apparel students at Saint Catherine University, the designer pair made their debut at Fresh Traditions with a collection of elegant gowns. Many of the pieces featured brocade , satin, and mesh and very conciously highlighted the feminine figure. I definitely wanted to wear one of these beautiful pieces to the opera!

Feather shoulder pads? Yes please!

I love how the mesh cascades down from the back of the dress. It's so elegant.

Oskar Ly
Ly's collection was the only one to feature both men's and women's looks, "embracing the hard and soft edges of femininity/masculinity with a little spice of androgyny." Right now in Minnesota, an amendment is on this year's election ballot which would change the consitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. By using LBGTQ models and couples on the runway, and even ending her collection by walking down the catwalk with her own girlfriend, Ly raised positive awareness of the political issue and resoundedly encouraged everyone to VOTE NO!

This was probably the comfiest look of the night, but also so elegant and edgy!

This dress itself earned a standing ovation. The use of colour and high-low skirt was stunning and offset the relatively simple silhouette.

I just wanted to extend my thanks to CHAT and to Linda Thao for inviting me to the programme. I was completely speechless afterwards. The work was beautiful and the effort of the organisation is beautiful in itself. Nothing could have prepared me for all of the culture, personal style, and pride that I absorbed that evening. And again, thanks so much to Elmo Lee of Huenha for letting me use his wonderful photos - they do so much more justice to the intricate art and fashions than mine ever could have. 


Milex said...


Priya said...

ssooo cool that you got to be a part of this! the models ARE gorgeous and the clothes are stunning. I think my favorite (or at least the most wearable one) is that first set. Loved looking at these pictures!

perfectly priya

Ginela Gonzalez said...

Oh my goodness, that is a wicked sounding organization indeed, I adore the sirena/mermaid inspiration too, and I especially dig the mesh and velvet pieces. Thanks for letting us know about this. I bid them good luck and hope you have amazing adventures with them :)

-Ginela Gonzalez