On Saturday, May 20 and in the middle of SCAD FASHWKND, student club United Reaction (UR) hosted a distinct fashion gala showcase called URLegacy. The showcase took place in the courtyard of Norris Hall, SCAD’s International Student Services Office located at the end of Broughton St. featured renown international guests and was open to the general public.
The line of special guests included: Kelly Talamas, Editor in Chief for Vogue Latin America and Mexico, Lisette Trepaud Johnson, fashionista and fashion influencer from Mexico, Dalia Pascal, influential accessory designer in Mexico and middleman for local artisans and their government, and Jennifer DeLaurentis, diplomat for the United Nations and wife to the current United States Ambassador to Cuba.
The club defines themselves as a “student network created to propose innovative ideas and concrete projects for Latin America and the Caribbean”. In accordance with their mission, URLegacy is an initiative that aims to become a part of SCAD FASHWKND where Latin American and Caribbean accessory and jewelry designers can exhibit their best pieces.
This is the first edition,” announced United Reaction president and architecture major Nicolas Barrera, “but we want it to become an annual tradition and a legacy for the new generation of designers… and be able to not only show [these works] to our friends and our family but also to the people who have no connections to the region.”
The showcase featured 62 works from 11 different SCAD designers who come from different majors, including fashion, fashion marketing and management, jewelry, accessory design, and industrial design. To be featured in the showcase, United Reaction made a call for submissions of designs. The final pieces were selected and curated by local Savannah fashion designer and entrepreneur Zia Sachedina, owner of ZIA Boutique on Broughton St, and Mariu Lacayo, SCAD Advisor for UR.
Instead of the static show that SCAD itself hosted for jewelry and accessory designers, UR came up with the idea of a showcase where the models were free to interact with the guests.
“Typically when you’re showcasing [designs] it’s either on a fashion runway or in a static show, but we wanted… the connections to the pieces to be a lot more personal,” said Barrera.
Six empty white platforms were arranged in the middle of the courtyard; every few minutes, models paraded through the crowd of guests to stand on the platforms, in rotations, whilst wearing the pieces. They would rotate, bend down to talk to the guests, show the insides of the purses, and pose with the works. Near the end of the night, models stood down from the platforms and mingled with the guests, danced to the music by DJ Miles Whitworth, and posed for photographs and Boomerangs.
UR’s special guests also interacted with the crowd. They talked one-on-one with the designers, organizers, and students.
This is a hidden gem… [I’m overwhelmed by] the past three days, the organization, and the power of the Latin American community, who I see moves in an important way… to push forth and [get others] to recognize what us, Latinos, really are capable of,” said Trepaud Johnson. “Our countries deserve it because there are incredible young people like [students at SCAD] who are in search of a present and a future for our communities.”
The showcase was the first of its kind in SCAD history. Vivian Sredni, an accessory designer who exhibited three pieces and is also the Events Coordinator for UR, claimed that: “This event is everything to me, absolutely everything… not only are my pieces exhibited and shown, but we also could reach out to international names in the world of fashion and everyone here tonight has the opportunity to [talk to] them.”
But it also aims to extend its reach and impact more than the designers and students that participated. DeLaurentis highlighted the focus of UR, which is to take forth endeavors like URLegacy to positively impact the home countries of the designers.
“It’s extremely important to keep in mind the connection between art and culture, including economic, social, and environmental development, which are critical to the well-being of our world, but that are so closely related to what all of the students here are doing,” said DeLaurentis. “They’re not only environmentally conscious with the materials that they use and how they work these materials… but also how [these designs] will impact economically and socially their countries back home and their customer base.”
“There’s a lot of talent that has not been showcased. [Fashion focuses] mostly in America, Asia, and Europe, but there’s not much spotlight on Latin America. And we have a lot of talent here at SCAD. There is a lot of value that is not being showcased, so we plan to be that platform that showcases these designers,” says Francisco Betancourt, motion media student and marketing director for UR.
UR plans to do another of installment of URLegacy during next year’s SCAD FASHWKND.
Written by Ximena Blanco
Photography by Javier Asturias, courtesy of United Reaction