As some of you may already be aware, the galleries and shops in Old City have recently come together to expand the neighborhood’s iconic First Friday festivities to include an entire weekend of art, shopping and dining.
What you probably weren’t aware of is that they have something extra special in store for the May edition of First Friday Weekends.
Marking the 100th anniversary of the patenting of the zipper, this Saturday, 12 of the neighborhood’s best design and fashion destinations are taking part in a free, zipper-centric fashion show dubbed “ZIP 19106.”
Students from Philadelphia University, along with a few local boutique staffers, will be modeling a variety of clothing, objects and accessories—all featuring zippers—during an energetic runway show narrated by Snyderman-Works Galleries Director Frank Hopson and set to the live tunes of DJ Adub.
Afterwards, the models will mingle with the crowd to give you a closer look at their fashions and answer any questions you may have about where you can find them. Chances are you’re going to be particularly intrigued by Kate Cusack’s intricate, sculptural and surprisingly chic zipper jewelry (see right).
Meanwhile, food and drinks will be provided by several local restaurants, including Art in the Age, Cuba Libre, Wedge + Fig and Pinot. As for the boutiques and stores participating in the show—all of which will all remain open during the event, some offering special sales and spirits—that list includes Franklin Square, Smak Parlour, More Than Old, Three Sirens Boutique, The Geisha House, Sugarcube and US* U.S. Boutique.
Despite having only just graduated from Philadelphia University last year, the talented fashioneer has already managed to build a pretty impressive resume. In addition to taking first place at the Independent Handbag Designer Awards and winning the Young Spirit Award for “Excellence in Childrenswear” at Philly U’s annual spring fashion show, Kaitlyn’s “Springtime in Paris Dress” was featured in the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts fashion show at the Kimmel Center (then later displayed at the Philadelphia International Flower Show).
Yet, her proudest achievement to date remains being chosen to represent Philadelphia University in Project OR, a competition held in Salt Lake City, where she scored the People’s Choice Award and named 1st Runner Up for her “Easy Rider” jacket.
After spending some time abroad, traveling all over Italy, Kaitlyn finally decided it was time to launch her self-titled company in her hometown of Horsham, PA.
So anyway, without further adieu, here’s my interview with the accomplished young designer:
How long have you been designing?
I’ve had my business for one year, but I have been designing for many years. I began sewing around age 10, when my mom taught me how to use the sewing machine.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Structural, strong, clean lines.
What do you take inspiration from?
Mostly from architecture I see while traveling.
What would say is your biggest fashion pet peeve?
Lack of a good fit.
What’s one thing you think every woman should have in her wardrobe?
Something that makes her feel like a million bucks!
What’s your favorite piece of clothing in your closet?
The sari dress I wore on the March 1st opening of the Incubator.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, being a local gal, does Philly influence your work at all?
Absolutely! Especially the Wannamaker building that our studio is in. I feel as though I’ve stepped back in time when I am standing in front of the door. Even though Philadelphia has many modern skyscrapers, you can still find traces of an earlier time, which I love.
For newly graduated designers, the fashion industry is harder to break into the State Dinner, but the Center City Macy’s collaborated with the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, a non-profit organization designed to help foster creative talent in the city of brotherly love.
In December, the PFI panel began its search for the four greatest fledgling Philly designers to take part in the year long program. Philadelphia University, Moore College of Art and Design, and Drexel nominated their top design alumni for consideration. In addition to the top Philly design schools, the Incubator had a wild card spot open to almost anyone in the Philadelphia area.
On March 1st, at 10:45 a.m., the incubator officially opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting. The space is essentially a blank canvass for the designers to do whatever they want. One designer joked that Macy’s is giving them a job, and Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren said, “I’m going to guarantee you an opportunity.”
The Incubator program selected Moore graduate Melissa D’Agostino, Philadelphia University alumna Kaitlyn Doherty, former Drexel University student Autumn Kietponglert, and wild cards Latifat Obajinmi and Moriamo Johnson as the 2012 inaugural class. In addition to retail and design space for a year, the program will also instruct the designers on how to conduct themselves with buyers, clients and retailers. Basically, they’re being groomed to be the next Chanel, Christian Louboutin, or Prada.
While the designers just got their space, they hope to have their lines completed by the fall, and have a fashion show to display the latest and greatest Philly talent.
Mayor Michael Nutter hopes to use the incubator program to foster Philly’s fashion industry by grooming our fashion students and, ultimately, give them a retail space on Chestnut Street. Nutter said, “[With the Incubator,] We’re growing our own fashion industry.”
—Locally made Eco-Logic, it looks good enough to eat…but don’t, we’re talking about bath soaps, lotions and salts here. Handmade in PA
—Net-a-Porter launched their new Mr. Porter today. Essentials for men, suggested by men. Mr. Porter
—Looks like sandblasting jeans is a serious matter. Levi’s and H&M lead a movement against a process that has killed many workers. The Cut
—Philadelphia University fashion design students got creative last night in Runway X, a runway show focused on recycled materials. Newsworks
—Need your London Fashion Week fix? Videos of the runways abound. Drapers
—How about a NYFW trend list? Here’s a video listing the top five trends from the runways. Chic.tv
Neat piece by Caroline Tiger, who incidentally has an ideal superhero name, for the Inquirer today about BUILD Studio, a sophomore-year course in Philadelphia University’s industrial design major. In it, students get real-life experience by working with a local company to come up with some product within parameters; the best design actually gets produced. A past challenge, for example, involved working with mass production, designing something that can be produced for very little and sold for more than $20. This year, it was Urban Outfitters:
The Urban Outfitters challenge was more about understanding the demographics the company targets (predominantly women in college or in their first apartment who use housewares as a means to showcase their individuality), and the subcategories of those types (the feminine girl, the bohemian girl, the dude), plus working within three specific themes the Home team had already hatched for the Holiday 2010 collection.
Hey! I use housewares as a means to showcase my individuality! It doesn’t sound that great when you put it like that.
Anyway, say what you may about Urban Outfitters, but Kristen Mathas, who’s in the picture above with her winning ‘Stache Flask, gets an A+ in nailing the aesthetic:
“My ‘Stache Flask combines two of your best-sellers: mustaches and flasks,” Mathas pointed out.
I kind of want to see the other 30-odd designs, in a “What do students come up with when they analyze all the crap in Urban Outfitters and try to come up with something that fits the pattern” way.
Philly U recently held a fashion show featuring designs by graduating seniors. Check out the up and coming talent.
While the First Lady likes to wear the designs of up and coming designers, and might even rock something created by a Philly U designer, apparently she committed a faux pas yesterday. Michelle wore a dress that she had previously worn! While I understand that she isn’t a cartoon character and isn’t meant to wear the same thing everyday, I also think she is allowed to have some repeats. I mean, the woman has been the First Lady for over 100 days, and in the spotlight for much longer. It’s only realistic that she’ll have some repeats.
However, there is an outfit that I think shouldn’t be repeated for a while. That would be the lack of attire sported by radio personality Michael Smerconish. Smerconish posed nude in Philadelphia Weekly in order to promote his new book. I mean, his bum isn’t bad. It’s just that if he continues to be naked, it’ll lose it’s effectiveness.
Lastly, I came across the photos of a Swedish artist, Erik Johansson. He seems to specialize in photo manipulation, and while he’s not local his photos are intriguing anyway.