Hundreds of fashionistas, technology and fashion industry leaders, reporters and guests attended the opening New York Fashion Week event featuring the work of Philadelphia University students. At the Epson Digital Couture Project, held Feb. 7 in the IAC building, the PhilaU team presented the only student collection at the influential industry event.
Their collection of skirts, dresses, short pants and jackets featured vibrant shades of blue and mauve in the digitally printed fabrics. Even digitally printed matching socks were included in the four complete head-to-toe looks.
PhilaU’s two lead senior fashion design students, Maria Balestino and Huyen Doan, designed and developed the pieces over six months, collaborating with seven M.S. surface imaging students–Natasa Kovacevic, Veronica Christiansen, Saeideh Gilani, Shweta Pant, Yi Chun Liu, Xiujia Wang and Taylor Weckerly–on custom digital prints.
The PhilaU students joined 12 other professional design teams from North and Latin America to leverage Epson’s textile printing solutions in the unique fashion presentation, using textiles created with dye-sublimation and direct-to-fabric printing technology.
The ground floor of the IAC building in Chelsea was packed with people invited to the New York Fashion Week’s kickoff event. Models were perched on platforms throughout the venue as a high-energy crowd mingled throughout, taking photos, zooming in for closer looks at the handiwork and generally oohing and aahing over the stunning designs.
The PhilaU “Second Skin” collection explores layering of printed textiles inspired by nature’s perplexing and changing beauty, Balestino said. Hand-painted abstract florals paired with photo-manipulated prints craft a surreal story of vivid colors and distinct textures. Beneath the surface of each print lies a story of advanced textile innovation and performance fabrics, which forges emerging complexities in a disruptive collection with imaginative silhouettes.
Earlier that day, PhilaU textile expert Mark Sunderland participated in a fashion and technology forum, sharing his thoughts on the future of the industry.
“In an integrated and circular supply chain, with PhilaU’s expertise in performance materials and textiles and Epson’s global presence in digital textile printing, the industry is going to sense a seismic shift,” said Sunderland, director of PhilaU’s global fashion enterprise and textile materials technology programs and the Robert J. Reichlin High-Performance Apparel Chair.
“From this event at New York Fashion Week, Epson should be excited and motivated about pushing advanced textile platforms that will enhance digital textile printing,” he noted. “They’re igniting untapped markets, leading to exciting collaborations and opportunities across textiles and fashion. It’s a great time to be a part of it.”
Read more about the students’ work here, and click below to see additional photos from the event.