Identities, Harvard’s annual student-run fashion show, looks to use fashion as a medium for championing diversity on campus. This year’s show, which took place on April 15 at Northwest Science Building, was titled Fashion + Tech. The program’s website promised “a glimpse into the future of fashion.” The garments were still recognizable to the present-day viewer, but the show did incorporate a healthy amount of innovation in the wide range of materials presented. Identities successfully executed its mission with the diversity of both its clothing and models’ backgrounds and poses.
At the beginning of the show, Google Project Jacquard’s Ivan Poupyrev, winner of the Annual Identities Fashion Innovator of the Year award, spoke about the project. Speaking about his idea to mix fashion and technology—the project worked with LEVI’s to create a jacket with wired sleeves that can play music, make a call, and look up directions—Poupyrev fit in with the show’s theme well. The speech, though impressive, could have been shorter, as the audience eventually seemed to grow a bit restless. To keep the show stimulating, the music varied from loud, upbeat, full-of-bass songs to tense, syncopated music. The reaction from the audience was often synced to the potency of the playlist, and the music did a good job of keeping engagement high.
The clothing shown on student models included a variety of fashions: from activewear to business attire, from floor-length gowns to dresses made up of plastic bags. A garment made to look like a fan (which opened as a fan would) was extremely creative. Additionally, there were garments made of all kinds of materials: lace, velvet, linen, cotton, plastic bags, wood, and computer chips. No material was off the table in the designing process.
Other features of the show added to its innovation. Fragments of text made frequent appearance on the clothes in the first segment. Phrases on the dresses included “My Planet or Yours” and “Finally Slipped Out of Reality”. Gender-bending was also at play, with a few male models wearing dresses and skirts. Identities mission to “champion diversity” was well-executed in its commitment to exhibiting a range of ethnicities in its models. The models themselves had differing identities in this way.
It was also fun to watch the models showcase their personalities through their poses. Some blew kisses or winked. Others showed off full-toothed smiles. Some models had fierce faces, but “smized”in true Tyra Banks fashion. These subtle changes in motion did a nice job of maintaining the audience’s attention.
Overall, the show achieved its goal of showcasing fashion in a cutting-edge manner, offering variation through music and model poses. Identities promised diversity and expressed it well through its clothing and model selection. Identities 2017 offered a well-engineered look at futuristic fashion.