The annual Merchandising Inc. Fashion Show presented the contrasting effects technology has on society through Victorian inspired bustiers, apocalyptic combat boots, pastel jogging suits, surly accessories and color blocking. With local designers from EDW, M.E Collection, Batch No. 8 and ElVNTHHR and vendors like Dillard’s to Francesca’s providing clothing for the event, the looks displayed an ominous and quirky take on the effects of technology.
A recorded robotic voice welcomed the audience and set the tone of the show through a depressing monologue of technology addiction and the need for connection online.The audience prepared their phones with Snapchat at the ready as the lights dimmed and the techno beat began to play in the background, reminding everyone just how attached we are to technology before the show even began. Merch Inc.’s Digital Glitch show had us all amazed not only at the clothes, styling, artwork and music, but the message behind the L.E.D lights wrapped around the legs of the models—that technology has us held captive, but also serves as a way for advancements.
We sat down with a few people behind the scenes of the show and discussed inspiration, themes and bonded over Betsey Johnson purses. With a team of seven, Stylist Coordinator Morgan McAnally stated that their job was to make sure the “clothes flowed with the theme.” McAnally went on to expand more on the thematic statement the show showed, saying the ensembles not only show the effects technology has, but also how clothing and society has changed each generation, especially with millennials.
To take the theme even further, Sarah Muller discussed the artwork and props they made for the show. Overall “there are about 20 props in all,” Muller stated, and this extended from Legos glued to the models’ faces to simple black visors to cover the models’ eyes to portray the “captive look.” Muller also noted the hard work her team and everyone behind the scenes put into to making this show become real.
President of Merch Inc. and Master of Ceremonies of the show Madison Labolt noted how well the officers and everyone on the team has worked so well together this year. From sending blast emails and model castings for models and staff members to seeing the looks strut across the stage, she went on to talk about how bittersweet it is for this show to be her last, but stated that it was a good show to leave off on. Regarding the theme, Labolt said that she was proud of the relatable aspect the show has.
“Everyone has a phone,” Labolt stated, “I’m sure there will be people in the audience on their phone during the show and most people can’t relate to the Fairytale, but everyone can relate to technology and the effects it has on society.”
Maia Wilson, the head fashion show producer, went on to talk about the theme of the show, saying that the show was split into two parts: Act One “Seeing Monochromatic” and Act Two “Moving In Color”. From there the show is split even more by four categories in the first act, Wired, Captive, Pixilated, and Robotic, and three in the next act Technicolor, Holographic and 3-Dimensional. Wilson went onto say the first half of the show would show the negative side of technology through color, but would also play on the idea of “black and white film and TV” reflecting “the first half of the history of technology.” In Act Two the clothes moved into displaying color to show the positive affects of modern technology.
After, the show really did come together for the audience. The lights dimmed, the audience hushed, a short video introduced each section of the show and the first look was off. The first section of Act One, Wired, featured monochromatic black ensembles, models wrapped in chokers, L.E.D lighted wires, corsets and tight dresses to enhance the feeling of captivity from the Internet. The female models were displayed almost as Victorian apocalyptic queens, emphasized by ruffles and corsets. The male models were shown as apocalyptic street-wear warriors, which were emphasized by combat boots and color blocking.
The next section, Captive, also illustrated the captive and addictive grasp technology can have through black, see through chiffon and tulle skirts, bustiers, and chokers. Pixilated, the next section of Act One, displayed a surrealist, Victorian working girl and guy through surreal art clothing, monochromatic black, laced up heel booties, and metallic plaid twill dresses. The last section of Act One, Robotic, seemed to play on the idea of the robotic movements of modern domesticity with a slouched suit, slinky, metallic, skin tight dresses, and blue denim.
In Act Two, the positivity of technology could be see in Technicolor through chunky heels, bright graphic patterns, and surrealist clothing art. The women were seen as quirky in their short patterned skirts and dresses, while the men were chill in their rope-trench and long sweater. The Holographic section played the whimsy and reflection of technology through the bubbly and sparkling accessories, pastel skirts, and jogging suits. Last but not least, 3-Dimensional invited the wondrous side of technology through large printed bags, 3-D glasses, color blocking and a bow constructed of 3-D paper.
After 35 looks, we, along with the audience, were dying for more. The show had a clearly executed theme and highlighted the talents of not only local designers and vendors, but of the students at UNT. In Digital Glitch, Merchandising Inc. invited the audience to find the good in the bad not only in technology but also in fashion, and society.
Photo by: Huy Tran