The inspiration behind the 2014 School of the Art Institute (SAIC) annual Fashion Show was the celebration of 80 years of fashion innovation. This progressively defining muse took form not only in the fashions, but also in the design of the runway. For the first time, the SAIC Fashion Design students collaborated with students in the Department of Architecture, Interior Architecture and Design Objectives to develop the look for the runway show.
The collaboration between these highly creative groups of fashion and architectural students led to the design of a voluminous, sculptural fabric art solution. Extending roughly 72ft down the center of the runway, the fabric installation showcased the innovative and artistic nature of the show while reflecting the SAIC personality.
Partnering with Fabric Images, Inc., the fabric sculpture was created using a 10 foot wide Sheer fabric with the gradated color applied using a dye sublimation print process. To account for the horizontal looping nature, the total fabric length was nearly 200 feet when laid flat. The looping was held in place with a semi-rigid upper cording that was clamped to the support truss.
The design and fabrication allowed for two things. First, the Sheer fabric offered a mysterious translucency that, while visually interesting, did not distract from the fashions. Also, the undulating height helped to reduce obstruction of the models as they made their way around the U-shaped runway. Secondly, the fabric had the perfect surface for the integration of lighting. As the fashions changed from one designer to the next, the lighting morphed in conjunction with the music, causing variations in color to the surface of the fabric.