Anna Reinherz | Photo by Alex J. Berliner/AB Images

Anna Reinherz | Photo by Alex J. Berliner/AB Images


FIDM Debut 2019 Showcases the Future of Fashion for New Designers

Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, Calif., was the setting for FIDM Debut 2019, the annual showcase produced by the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, headquartered in downtown Los Angeles.

The show provides an opportunity for select graduating students to unveil their design talents during a professionally produced runway show in front of an audience comprising some of the industry’s most influential players.

Starting the night with Chairing Styles, this segment of the April 6 event showcased collaborative projects created by students who are pursuing design degrees in textiles, interiors and fashion.

Five groups of students were each tasked with developing one chair and a complementary fashion design. With the help of Ana Maria Designs, which manufactured the chairs; embroidery business Royal Maye Chie Enterprises, Inc.; and fabric-printing provider Textile XPress, five student groups developed designs to reflect four different countries: Japan, Russia, China and India.

For this year’s presentation of Advanced Theatre Costume Design, students Audrey Anna Cook, Lorraine Ely, Shannon Farkas, Hannah Smith, Emily Stipcak and Jessica Swanson took inspiration from Mozart’s opera “The Magic Flute.”Working with this theme, the students channeled the composer’s work to create whimsical costumes that relayed the tale of the opera’s characters—the Queen of Night, Prince Tamino and Pamina.


2019 FIDM Debut Designers (from left, back to front) Heewon Moon, Jason Tirtorahardjo, Mitchell Carr, Anna Reinherz, Adam James, Sofia Elin, Emi Ishizeki, Kyle Denman, Kai Erven and Andrea Isaza | Photo by Alex J. Berliner/AB Images


Barbara Bundy | Photo by Alex J. Berliner/AB Images

A new addition to this year’s show was also included on the runway—a segment dedicated exclusively to denim. After FIDM started its Business of Denim program in 2017, the second class of students representing the program—Bianca Betdashtoo, Edith Baeza, Isabella Barreiro Seiden, Joseph Gonzalez, Shannon Reddy and Xinyu Liu—will graduate this June. In addition to traditional washes in indigo hues, these Advanced Business of Denim students featured on-trend denim in patchwork, tie-dye, neon colors and bright white.

“The Advanced Study Program in the Business of Denim is designed to facilitate a unique education for students in the areas of denim design and development, product application, industry sustainability, and denim finishing and production,” Barbara Bundy, FIDM’s vice president of education, said in a statement. “Students are prepared to enter and succeed in the international world of denim from fiber origin through product life.”

The school’s Advanced Fashion Design students created collections in categories from formalwear to swimwear and streetwear. They also channeled personal trials, family connections and science as inspiration for their collections.

The Guess Scholarship recipient, Andrea Isaza, presented clothes that would allow her target audience to experience the power she feels from fashion. The colorful collection featured a faux-fur white coat with red-and-black accents with the message “Pray for fashion” written on the back. Isaza was also chosen as the recipient of a scholarship to Accademia Koefia Roma.

Using Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival and designer Oscar de la Renta as her inspirations, Sofia Elin, the recipient of the Jack and Joan Bonholtzer Scholarship, created a full line of swimsuits, cover-ups, light jackets, skirts, pants and blouses. Taking her inspirations to heart, the designer created a cyan swimsuit with pink-and-yellow accents, a floor-length, blue-and-pink open-front skirt and a feathery Brazilian Carnival­–style costeiro worn on the back of the outfit.

As inspiration for his men’s and women’s pieces, the Nolan Miller Scholarship recipient Jason Tirtorahardjo looked to the legacy of Italian fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. The hand-painted and hand-dyedapproach to his designs elevated basic T-shirts, pants and shorts but also added unique details to a white trench coat–style dress and a light-pink spaghetti-strap baby-doll dress.

Kneeling down to meet her little models as they started down the runway, Emi Ishizeki designed childrenswear inspired by French fashion designer Coco Chanel. The Rose Morbit Bolognone Scholarship winner created tailored jumpers and slacks in addition to more feminine, bouncy dresses adorned with bows, tulle and ruffles.

Inspired by work he performed with the Scripps Center regarding the effects of art on patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, Kyle Denman presented fashions that included a black avant-garde piece with a cylindrical face-covering headpiece and matching top, worn with a floor-length bubble skirt. The winner of the FIDM Debut and Jerry Epstein Scholarships, Denman also created edgy but wearable looks such as black straight-leg pants with dramatic red hip-to-shin embellishments.

As a Guess Scholarship winner, Kai Erven was inspired by space and technology, particularly Elon Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX. With a collection that relied on a lot of black and brown, in addition to metallic touches and hardware embellishments, Erven created utilitarian men’s and women’s pieces in slim pants, hoodies, jackets and a brown knee-length skirt whose fabric zipped off in two places, creating two additional, shorter lengths.

For the John and Victoria Hill Scholarship winner, Anna Reinherz was inspired by icons from the 1980s, such as Grace Jones and Joan Collins, for her collection of trench-coat dresses, pencil skirts, slim-leg pants and blazers with strong shoulders in fuchsia and mustard tones. One below-the-knee trench dress in a striking pink hue was complemented by a leopard-print belt to cinch the waist.

Taught to sew by his grandmother, Adam James was inspired by his family’s machinery business to create pieces that were strong yet feminine. In addition to evening gowns and military-style coats, the FIDM Merit Scholarship winner unveiled a long-sleeve, high-neck, black faux-leather mini-dress embossed with metal nailhead details.

Creating high-end mens- and womenswear, the Karen Kane Scholarship winner Heewon Moon favored asymmetrical design details, such as a sleeveless little black dress that featured pieces of fabric folded into fan shapes that overlapped for a ruffle effect. A men’s coat in white featured dropped lapels and an asymmetrical hem.

For Bob Mackie Scholarship winner Mitchell Carr, the resilience of bumblebees and his own strength to overcome injuries sustained in a car accident inspired his collection of womenswear. Featuring skirts in lace and tulle, loose styles in pants and romantic off-the-shoulder tops with ruffle details, Carr also designed a yellow ball gown with a corset top; a shiny, black-beaded, fringe off-the-shoulder detail; and a black tulle overlay.