The University of Wisconsin-Madison is known for its diverse specialization options for students, and the university’s Fashion Design program is no exception. On April 22, Fashion Design majors and fashion lovers alike met at the Wisconsin Masonic Center for Moda Magazine’s 11th annual fashion show, capping off another successful UW Fashion Week.
Moda Magazine, founded in 2013, is UW’s only life and style publication. Run by students of the University, the magazine covers arts, culture, lifestyle and most importantly fashion. Besides an exceptional presence on social media and in print, the organization dedicates much of its time toward its annual student-led fashion show. They began hosting the annual event in 2011.
The event — featuring a number of talented student designers in cohort with seven local retailers — had an aura of sophistication. Upon entering the grand building, ticket holders were met with amiable staff members leading the lot to the auditorium. To the right of the entrance stood a red carpet-esque backdrop in front of which designers and audience members posed for lively photographers.
The majority of individuals in the audience had remarkable taste in style, paying homage to the unapologetic flair that surrounds Moda. Featuring unique outfits complete with chunky boots and thick coats, attendees took their seats around a rectangular catwalk surrounded by equally eager staff members and photographers.
The magazine’s directors began the show with a few remarks regarding Moda’s mission and the steps it took to get to that very moment. They placed particular emphasis upon the tremendous impact of the fast fashion industry on climate change and other challenges our environment continues to face.
Additionally, they assured the audience that each of the pieces used in the show were sustainably sourced — either collected from secondhand clothing stores or manufactured efficiently. The show took place on Earth Day, after all.
Beginning with a video projected on a small screen, Moda introduced their pieces and collections to the audience, beginning with “La Vie Luchian,” a vogue-inspired drone shoot featuring shots of models posing on the steps of the Capitol.
The delightfully busy 1970s-inspired “ReThreads” video took on a very different approach. It involved a number of done-up models showing off their art in front of the full racks of ReThreads, a second-hand clothing store located on State Street.
The fashion show itself exhibited a diverse cast of models. Individuals of all ages and demographics walked the floor with expert precision. Of these, the most talented model of kindergarten age worked the catwalk like a pro, displaying her polka-dot coat and fuzzy slippers for the audience while the speakers blared the 1990s rock song “Something to Talk About” by Bonnie Raitt.
During this leg of the show, models let their personalities show through their vintage-inspired outfits. They pulled accessories out of shopping bags, took polaroid pictures of one another and danced along to the beat of the music.
Later, the music took a mellow turn as the next round began. Out of the shadowy corner of the great room, models waltzed onto the catwalk on platform shoes and gladiator sandals. Each one seemed to be transported from a medieval time period. One-by-one, the models, clad in corsets, gifted gifts and bouquets of flowers to a princess atop a throne.
At a pinnacle moment in the show, local hip hop artist FTBK performed his most popular songs, including “Icarus” and “American Dream.” The performance granted an appropriate break between sections of the fashion show and warranted a positive reaction from the audience..
As the show continued, models transported the audience to a vast variety of time periods and places including the Wild West, an alien planet and the audacious 2000s. The skilled designers behind the production utilized notable clothing pieces and accessories including chunky white sandals, loud flared pants and bedazzled cowboy boots, cohesively forming an impressive fashion show considering the diversity on display.
Moda Magazine’s fashion show has been successful since the first in 2011; however, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed their accomplishments to a firm halt. Despite this, directors of the magazine have made immense efforts toward virtual fashion shows and print publications. Nothing, however, compares to the creative and expressive environment that accompanies a fashion show happening right before your eyes. This year, Moda yet again proved their place as an innovative and professional student-made triumph in the fashion world.