On Saturday, the PAC Pavillion transformed into a runway for the annual Fashion and Student Trends (FAST) x Sustainable Fashion Club (SFC) spring fashion show. The evening was filled with colorful lighting, upbeat music and 47 models strutting in the work of student designers. 

While FAST held a virtual creator showcase last year, the event was the club’s first runway show in person. The show’s theme was “self-expression” and featured collections from 15 student designers. 

“We really wanted to see art and designs that reflected personal identities to create a sense of movement and empathy with the audience and allow our designers to express themselves,” FAST co-president Advaitha Bhavanasi said.

The show’s theme allowed designers to connect to their personal identities. For example, Bhavanasi was able to incorporate her South Asian identity in her collection “MADYA” by using cultural fabrics in her designs. 

“If you look at the inspirations behind each designer’s collection, they tie into who they are in some way, whether it be their personal interests or cultural background,” FAST co-president Kaitlyn Alforque said. “There is so much freedom and so many directions you can go with fashion, and we did not want to set restrictions on designers’ creative capacities.”

The event was open to anyone who wanted to sign up, regardless of experience level. Alforque said the runway show was an all-inclusive, supportive space for people to showcase their creativity. 

Statistics junior Caitlin Lota signed up for the spring runway show and designed the collection “diamante.” Lota was only familiar with making jewelry previously, so the runway show pushed her to create more, she said.

“Being in school full time as a statistics major, I do not get much of a chance to express my creativity day-to-day, so this fashion show has given me a reason to create and experiment more with sewing and creating pieces outside of my comfort zone,” Lota said.

Graphic Communications senior Mallory Browne attended the fashion show and called the event a “celebration of talent.”

“I left the event really inspired to repurpose clothes and be more inventive with how I use fashion,” Browne said.

According to Bhavanasi, there are very few events related to fashion and art at Cal Poly, so they created the spring runway show as a platform for student artists, musicians, designers and models. 

“We really needed an outlet [like] this show to help students here express themselves because the stuff they have come up with is revolutionary,” Bhavanasi said. “[It] has allowed us to also bring in a diverse set of voices and people to both model and design for the show and, at large, create a strong sense of creative community with those who are interested in fashion at Cal Poly.”

The FAST x SFC spring runway show was also the first event put on by a team of primarily women of color (WOC), Bhavanasi said. 

“Fashion has long been capable of making historical and political statements, and I think this being one of the first large runway shows [put on by a WOC team] in SLO in many years is a statement,” Bhavanasi said.

More photos from the event can be found on KCPR.org, the blog for Cal Poly’s radio station KCPR 91.3 FM.