Earlier this year, 18 students in the University of Cincinnati DAAP program were given $45 dollars to spend at St. Vincent de Paul’s Cincinnati thrift stores. They weren’t shopping for themselves, though. They were shopping for a fashion show called RetroFittings, held on Thursday, October 18 at Music Hall.
Presented by Protective Life Insurance, the show is one of Cincinnati's most unique charity events. A live auction and raffle will run through the evening, as will a fashion boutique featuring items plucked from St. Vincent de Paul's shelves and given a polish. The polished items include designer clothes and accessories you won't be able to tell were ever "upcycled" in the first place—and at prices that'll have your jaw on the floor. Proceeds from the auction, raffle, and boutique go to St. Vincent de Paul Cincinnati and its mission of serving those in need.
Like the boutique, the fashion show demonstrates the value of the nonprofit it serves. Each of the DAAP students mentioned above is tasked with creating a fashion collection that's been re-purposed from their thrift store hauls. A collection might contain three or four outfits. You’ll see head-turning examples of runway couture. You’ll also see sensible things you might actually want to wear day-to-day.
If you’ve been to RetroFittings before, you’ll notice this represents something of a departure. Prior years had a theme—superheroes, rock stars, blockbuster movies—that tied all the designs together. Individual students produced just one garment, and it often represented the avante-gardiest of high fashion. Rarely was it something the students would actually go on to design in their professional lives. It was art pour l'art, an exercise in the fantastic.
This year, RetroFittings has shifted emphasis. The point of the show remains the same, to remind us that capital-F Fashion is about much more than clothes worn on the body. Indeed, it’s an enormous food chain in which the St. Vincent de Pauls of the world can play just as pivotal a role as the industry’s biggest names. What the show’s new format does is allows us to explore that world through the viewpoint of the designer rather than as members of the audience issuing passive oohs and aahs.
That is how we come to the so-called mood boards. Mood boards are a fashion designer’s first step and best friend. Designers pin colors, fabric, and photos to the boards in search of that moment of inspiration. The boards paint a fascinating picture of the designer’s thought process while offering new insights into the finished products.
At RetroFittings, images of the students’ mood boards will be on display. So not only will you be able to admire the garments on the runway, you’ll also be able to trace their creation from second-hand treasures to fully realized fashion.
And, lest we forget, you’ll be supporting a great cause in the process.
What: RetroFittings Fashion Event
Where: Music Hall, Over-The-Rhine
When: 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 18, 2018
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For more information about RetroFittings, check out their website.