Out is searching for the next great talent on the cutting edge of fashion. Earlier this year, we asked you, our readers, to submit your designs and sketches using #OUTFashionVanguard. Now, we've got three eager finalists preparing their designs to show the world why they deserve the title of Out Fashion Vanguard at the FVAs on March 30th.
Here's a progress report from finalist Kim Mesches, a Brooklyn-based designer whose passion grew out of his teenage hobby of painting old pairs of sneakers with unique graphics and graffiti.
What encouraged you to submit to the contest?
I was encouraged to submit to this contest because I believe it's an amazing platform for young designers. In this day and age it's so difficult to get any sort of traction--everybody's a designer. And as a member of the LGBTQ community, it felt like a perfect contest to submit to.
Tell us about the design/sketch you submitted. How does this represent your style and aesthetic?
The designs I submitted were a combination of my past work and my current collection. My style has been evolving over the years but it has always incorporated original fabric treatments and a specific aesthetic. My style fuses my two polar opposite backgrounds of being a head designer for a high-end eveningwear company and being a graffiti sneaker artist. I always like to fuse graphic/street-wear elements into my pieces from simple tops to red carpet gowns.
Your FVA challenge is to design and create one or multiple pieces to be worn as part of a complete red carpet look that epitomizes your own design aesthetic or references your latest collection. Where are you pulling inspiration from to create this piece/look?
For this new piece, I am very excited because I wanted to include another more over-the-top piece into my current collection. This look is going to be a red carpet gown but it will bring elements of original dyeing techniques, special line work, and play of textures. I am pulling inspiration from everything from nature to architecture to just experimenting with the techniques and being inspired by the material itself.
How are you showcasing your personal design aesthetic in this look?
I always like to work with the body when I design, so this look is made to be worn incorporating the body as inspiration. I am using mesh, leather, and jersey that has been hand-dyed, I want the gown to be a little bit of an optical illusion and make people notice the detail that went into it.
How are you feeling about pacing and the amount of time left to finish this look?
I am feeling pretty nervous about the amount of time left, solely because the amount of hours that go into this kind of process, but I am confident I can pull it together.
Describe your vision for who would wear this piece and why?
For this specific look I envision somebody bold wearing it. It requires somebody confident who isn't afraid to take risks. They will have to be comfortable showing some skin. I envision celebrities who like to push the envelope and change their style up, often wearing a piece like this, somebody like Rihanna, Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid or Zoe Kravitz, or a more up and coming artists such as FKA Twigs, wishful thinking!
See how the other two Out Fashion Vanguard Finalists, Andrew Morrison and Marcel Coleman Jr., are progressing in the competition, and look for more updates from all three finalists coming soon.
Interested in attending the Out Fashion Vanguard Awards in Los Angeles on March 30th? RSVP here.