As soon as Raingurl by Yaeji started blasting out of the speakers during the first category I knew this was going to be a fun show. The Telstra Perth Fashion Festival’s Future Runway event is a showcase of pieces by fashion design students from across WA. There’s a lot of colour and ingenuity on display from these young artists.

The show was split up into multiple categories, these were: ready to wear women’s, ready to wear men’s, eveningwear, eco design, wearable technology, and costume.

This was the first runway show I’d ever been to, so, as a fellow design student I was quite excited to see what was on display. My anticipation was matched by some of the artist’s concerns as I overheard one of them say, ‘I’m worried for my models,’ before the show commenced.

A thumping electronic and pop soundtrack was provided by artists like Rufus and ZHU; as the models strutted their stuff to the BPM. You could feel the bass through the seats.

A sizzle reel at the start preached diversity and cultural authenticity, and it was good to see this shown rather than just talked about. The models represented an array of different ethnicities; on par with the diversity of looks produced by the students.

Hair and makeup choices were kept consistent stylistically; seemingly to draw attention to the pieces themselves. And the collections were quite amazing. It would be almost impossible to draw a consistent theme across them; but there was plenty of florals and floral embellishments; frilled edging; colours from every point across the RGB spectrum and inspiration taken from recycling and upcycling of materials.


Categories

Ready to wear women’s

Looks in this category included reinterpretations of power fashion looks, with black jackets and business-inspired style spiced up by frilled edging and denim. The more traditional side of things was held up by pastels, coral colours and a crop top with particularly long cord detailing (trailing on the runway!). Re-use inspired pieces popped up with crunchy foil and green-eco items with a handmade shabby chic feel.

Favourite piece: recycled foil-and-packaging jacket

Winner: Genevieve Page, Edith Cowan University, dress with orange ruffle sleeves

Ready to Wear Men’s

A point of similarity across this category was the use of plain colours as a base with bright highlights. This included floral detailing and a blazer with neon 80’s inspired print panels. Some more androgynous looks were also present as per the fantastic winning design below, which looked like you could curl up and have a cosy night’s sleep in it.

Favourite & Winning piece: Maree Aldred, South Metro Tafe, Calf-length sleeping bag jacket

Eco Design

Likely to be key to the runways of the future; and in curing our fast fashion addiction, it was great to see several intriguing eco design pieces. These included up-cycled denim, chopped-up and reutilised fabrics and a wedding dress made from found and recycled parts. The winner was a pleated, trailing dress with embroidered marine detailing – jellyfish and other undersea critters.

Favourite & Winning Piece: Annabelle Russo, North Metro Tafe, Pleaded jellyfish dress

Evening-wear

Evening-wear was dominated by lace embellishments, bodices and corsets. One particular outfit had an impressively enormous gold cape that trained behind it. There were unusual pairings, like gothic bodices with bohemian jackets as well as more traditional patterns and cuts like slip dresses and fruit prints.

Favourite: Mid-length tutu

Winner: Catherine Kelly, South Metro Tafe, corset gown

Wearable Technology

This category aims to imagine the high-tech looks of fashion of the future. Hence there were sci-fi tribal aesthetics and reflective, iridescent gowns. The winning piece of the category dropped – it was hard to tell – either small crystals or pieces of sugar along the runway as the model did their loop. Rounding out this section of the showcase was a dress with floral detailing – and an LED array within these flowers. It glowed like a constellation upon the dimmed exit from the runway.

Favourite: LED dress

Winner: Jasmine O’Brien, South Metro Tafe, sugar trail dress

Costume

There was a lot of fun to be had in this category. A regal back-mounted frame piece was reminiscent of this year’s Met Gala; a mystic looking and Egyptian inspired quilted gown sported an eye of Horus on it. Pink bodices sparkled with crystal detailing and long trains. Sheer jumpsuits with queen-of-hearts prints. One of the most eye-catching of this theme was a piece resembling a monochrome tree, its branches and boroughs extending from the back of the model over the edge of the catwalk; the look completed with some white welding goggles.

Favourite & Winner: Samantha Quealy, South Metro Tafe, abstract art piece reminiscent of a Mondrian painting


Smiles, hugs and reassurance from the winning designers and their models to each other at the conclusion of the show was great to see; in a context where it is often expected to look as banal as possible. They held hands as they took one more lap down the runway was a fantastic touch, almost in solidarity of what they’d created and presented together.

The final walk by all the models and their respective pieces showcased the breadth and diversity of the creations on display. Overall, I think it’s safe to say that the runway of the future is looking pretty bright.

Sam Worley | @driftnumbat

Sam thanks his mum, aunt, grandma and Tumblr for giving him an interest in fashion