Unconventional catwalk presented underwater
Melis Alphan - Hürriyet Daily News
Instead of a red carpet, the models swim in Atlantis Hotel’s 11 million-liter Ambassador Lagoon, where several hundred species of marine life are accommodated.There are no limits on how creative one can be as far as fashion school students are concerned. Most of the time, students are much better at thinking outside the box compared to the industry’s routine-fatigued designers.
A few weeks ago, the American University in the Emirates (AUE) organized a fashion show at Dubai’s Atlantis Hotel. The outfits were designed by first-year students from the AUE’s New School of Fashion.
It sounds all so ordinary up to this point. But what made this fashion show differ from the others was that it was underwater.
Instead of a red carpet, the models swam in Atlantis Hotel’s 11 million-liter Ambassador Lagoon, where several hundred species of marine life are accommodated.
This time the models that showcased the fashion students’ designs were professional scuba divers instead of size-six models. The designs were, as expected, inspired by the ocean.
Dr. Franziska Apprich, assistant professor of media at AUE, was the brains behind the event, which aimed to open up the students’ minds to new ideas.
Speaking to Gulf News, Apprich said she had been to a fashion show recently but was not inspired at all. “The gowns were beautiful but the surroundings were really unimaginative,” she said.
So, Apprich thought about doing something exceptional at Atlantis and underwater to get students to be more imaginative.
The show lasted 30 minutes, which is much longer than the fashion industry’s conventional 15-minute shows. The clothes were decorated with frills, ribbons and tails. They took their inspiration from mermaids; the bridal wear was dramatic and the accessories were very much marine-inspired. The colorful leggings were received well.
“We wanted to create art and sell it – but simplified versions of them, because underwater they look great like jellyfish but if you wear it in public, it would look bizarre,” she said.
According to Gulf News, the designs were created by a team of 70 students within a month under the supervision of AUE fashion design program coordinator Sana Abbasi.
Light fabrics, such as twill and nylon, were used so that they would not suck up all the water as that would have made it hard for the models to swim. If you have ever tried to swim with your clothes on, you would know that any dress weighs more, 10 times more to be exact, in water, so they had to use very light fabric.
Online private shopping club Sukar.com teamed up with the AUE for the collection to be available for sale, with all sales proceeds being donated toward the Blue Flag Program, a non-profit organization run by the Foundation for Environmental Education, which is fighting for the sustainable development of beaches and marinas globally. The prices ranged between Dh 300 and Dh 5,000 (80-1,300 dollars). The website had been making waves with the recent announcement that their member base had hit 1 million.
“We are a proud supporter of independent designers and our portfolio of highly sought-after fashion brands features several up-and-coming labels from across the world. We are very keen to support the community we operate and live in, and this event seemed a great way to raise the profile of young AUE-based designers while raising funds to support a good cause,” said Muhammad Chbib, CEO of the site.