Now in its fifth year, the Independent Designers Runway Show at Bellevue Fashion Week set the stage for eight local designers to dazzle industry professionals and the PNW’s best dressed. The sold-out event served as the culmination of a six-month mentorship program, and the announcement of a $5,000 cash prize. This year’s panel of judges awarded the top prize to Devonation by Devon Yan.
A successful watercolorist and son of an opera singer, Yan embraces his appreciation for art, beauty, and drama in every piece. Yan’s collection opened the show with full force, featuring a rainbow motif and dramatic 1960’s inspired silhouettes. The collection walked a fine line between artwork and elaborate clown wear, and thankfully, artwork prevailed. Structured, white fabric functioned as the perfect canvas for explosive touches of psychedelic color. Even with my typical Northwest affinity for monochrome palettes, I wanted to wear one of his eye-catching dresses.
While every collection dazzled on the runway, only one designer could receive the fan favorite award. This year’s audience chose Valentina Valentia by Milena Natanov as the winner of a $1,000 prize. Worthy of any fairytale, Natanov’s pastel silk dresses gracefully floated across the runway in a delicate, feminine vision. Her collection ended with a black, floor-length number, channeling every storybook witch but in the most elegant way possible.
Some highlights from the show included Gina Moorhead’s ready-to-wear ensembles which balanced style, fit, and comfort for today’s woman on-the-go. Another notable designer, Elma Miza, effortlessly blended masculine structures with lighter, feminine materials in man.tis.
This year’s Independent Designers Runway Show made it clear that Northwest designers are demanding attention and for good reason. Bruce Pflaumer, one of the panelists, also noted the all-around influence of culture and identity amongst the designers. Whether it be in New York, Paris, or the Pacific Northwest, our local designers are bringing forth their unique perspectives and ready to share with the rest of the world.