A mix of plaid mod skirts and jackets, bright tunics, floral midi skirts and elegant gowns adorned the diverse selection of models walking at the UNITY Fashion Show.

In a gallery with Picasso and Haring’s colorful work displayed on the walls, 12 designers unveiled their recent designs at the fashion show on Dec. 13 at the Christopher Clark Fine Art Gallery in downtown San Francisco. SF State students took part in the show and sourced their designs based off the art in the gallery.

Turning the gallery into a runway, models walked along rows of people starting from the back room on the second floor down to the bottom floor. 

When choosing the location for the show, chair of the event and president of the Fashion Network Association (FNA) Natalie Green said, “I wanted to host the fashion show off campus in hopes to unify the community from education to industry, which is why the show is called ‘Unity.’”

Madeline Seri (left), a model in the fashion show, walks the runway with other models during the Unity fashion show at the Cristopher Clark Fine Art gallery in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Aaron Levy-Wolins/Golden Gate Xpress)

According to Green, a week ago the only tickets purchased for the event were the eight bought by her family members. By the day of the event, however, the event was over its limit for tickets. With 100 tickets available for the show, more than 50 were sold in the last hours leading up to the event. Since they didn’t want to turn anyone away, they sold an extra 25 tickets over the allotted.

Inspired by artists Fernandez, Haring and Motherwell, SF State fashion design students Katy Wong, Rita Chow and SF State alumna Annmarie Bustamante showcased their new designs like an oversized black corduroy jacket, floral skirt prints and bright, colorful tunics. 

Bustamante used reclaimed fabrics form SCRAP, a San Francisco store full of fabric and accessories to be upcycled, in her designs. Bustamante was inspired by her travels in El Salvador as well as her family to create the collection she showcased.

“The mood of the collection is bittersweet because it’s dedicated to my cousin Ryan who we lost suddenly this summer,” Bustamante said.

Bustamante said that this news changed the scope of her collection.

“I started the collection off with a feeling of ethereal, goddess-like other-worldliness and when I heard the news, I knew we would need to capture the happiness [my family] all shared as 19 cousins who camped together every single summer of our childhood,” Bustamante said. “So, the bright colors, and floaty, angelic feel were all meant to speak on the good times we were all so lucky to share.”

Bustamante thanks the apparel design and merchandising program at SF State for teaching her the value of reusing and up-cycling fabrics.

“In college, we spent a large amount of time learning how to design sustainably, whether that means sourcing materials that don’t require a lot of energy to create, designing in a manner where we don’t waste much fabric and repurposing,” Bustamante said.

Her education as a fashion student at SF State taught her how we live in a “throw-away society.”

“Fast fashion is destroying this industry and our planet and it is our job as creators and consumers to counter that,” Bustamante said, emphasizing that her collection is a force to preserve the environment.

Kanina Thomas, the co-vice president of FNA, said the association asked apparel design and merchandising students to participate but welcomed anyone who wanted to showcase a garment. 

Inspired by the singer Selena, her mom and her aunt, designer Margarita Ayala showcased her designs in the UNITY Fashion Show. 

“Would Selena wear this today?” the designer asks herself as she executes her designs. She went to the Selena Museum in Texas where Selena’s outfits are displayed. According to Ayala, a majority of her designs are based off the singer’s aesthetic.

Taking after the name of the event, the show displayed how fine art and fashion can mix and unite a community. 

“With the political climate we are in, I feel that it is very important for the community to lean on each other,” Green said. “I think art is a great way to express yourself and with fashion.”

Karina Escoto (right), 22, a senior fashion student, shows Margarita Ayala (left), 30, a senior apparel design and merchandising major, the runway for models at the Unity fashion show at the Cristopher Clark Fine Art gallery in San Francisco, Calif. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. Escoto modeled for Ayala during the show.

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