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Culture and Clothing Meet at ‘Views From the 860’

by Analisa Novak

Central Connecticut’s Fashion Design Club held a fashion show properly titled “Views From The 860,” Friday in Welte Theater.

“This is a different type of fashion show. This is a fashion show for the 860,” host and emcee Nigel “SwizzySuede” Jessamy said at the start of the show. Welte Theater was almost at capacity for this event as many CCSU students and alumni showed their support for these up-and-coming designers.

“It’s not about what you wear. It’s about how you wear it,” emcee Jesselica Rodriguez said, pumping up the crowd. The show opened up with designer Taj Mirage which brought an artistic view of the four elements. Models were painted with body paint and dressed to depict either earth, fire, air or water.

The show had a couple of musical acts to accompany the models. Rapper and designer Sogni performed an opening rap about how he is following his dreams. Popular local artist DJ Meechie from “Hot 93.7,” provided the music for the models to walk the runway.

The fashion show brought a combination of casual street wear and high-end couture pieces. One of the more multicultural collections was CCSU student Dillon Milardo’s “First Twelve,” which was influenced by his life and love of sports. “Our collection is based more on experience of life. It’s not just one genre. I like to say it’s the journey of life and different experiences and different cultures we come across. We merge them into one to create our own world,” said Milardo.

“First Twelve” brings an athletic look with a modern twist. “A lot of our influences are soccer and sportswear because there is a lot of international influence in soccer. It’s a worldwide sport so we like to use cues for that,”said Milardo. His collection is named after Milardo’s suite number at James Hall. It was started in 2011 and has been featured in Complex magazine and Soccer Bible.

Bringing elegance to the show was designer Dominick Daniels, a photographer and designer who emphasized the beauty of all shapes and sizes. The design featured a variety of pant suites, coats and dresses with a high-end material.

A natural and holistic approach to fashion was the stylish “Cleansing Moon Crotchet.” All “Cleansing Moon Crotchet” pieces are handmade and prepared with ethically sourced natural fibers. It featured an assortment of bohemian pieces, which included bell bottoms, scarves, leg warmers and skirts. The crowd’s favorite was the crocheted halter top that flattered the models.

Incorporating African culture to the program was “Touch Of Africa.” The line had a mix of tribal hats, dresses and backpacks and showcased unique prints and vibrant colors that are not common in the fashion world.

Overall, “Views From The 860” delivered in showing us that fashion is more than what we see at the mall. There are so many ways you can find your own sense of style by looking within yourself just as these designers did.