The annual OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards celebrates young visionaries and identifies the next big name in fashion. With 2017's finalists named, the heat is on for this year's OUT Fashion Vanguard Award designers. Three of the industry's brightest LGBTQ new names find themselves vying for the top honorary award that will help jump-start their careers in fashion. Now it's time to meet this year's OUT Fashion Vanguard Award contenders.
Marquise Foster is a fashion designer from Oakland California who moved to New York in 2009 to pursue his dreams in fashion. At the age of 17, Marquise developed an interest in the fashion world through style. His goal was to change the trends and show a style of his own in a way that would be viewed as a work of art. Not having the right resources, Marquise learned to sew and began to study fashion on his own. He taught himself how to use a sewing machine, construction techniques, and everything related to making your own clothes. Once mastering these different techniques and interning for local designers, Marquise was ready to step out on his own and allow the world to view his art. "Growing up listening to different types music and surrounding myself with different cultures played a huge part in how I viewed the world around me and with this I was able to express my love for design" Marquise says about his design inspiration.
Through design, Marquise wanted to create garments to "convey a positive message about body image and loving the skin you are in." The use of lace started after studying the history of one of his favorite fashion icons, Coco Chanel and the Chanel empire. This opened his mind to a new world of fashion ideas and motivation to create relatable garments at a reasonable price.
The days, hours, minutes and seconds that went into learning, mastering and perfecting his art of design compares to no other, his unique since of style and keen eye for details is what makes his designs pop. The journey of Marquise has not been an easy one, knowing that his work is being noticed by a bigger audience than just his peers is a huge achievement. Looking at his body of work from gowns; to suits; to handbags proves just how far Marquise Foster has truly come in his career. Winning this competition would highlight the achievements of Marquise Foster and justify that his hard work isn't going unnoticed which is a big fear for the self-taught artist. "The feeling of being good enough."
Meet the other two OUT Fashion Vanguard Finalists DaShaun Hightower and Nicolas Bilodeau. Stay tuned to see all three progress as they each design a custom look to be showcased at the OUT Fashion Vanguard Awards in Los Angeles on March 30th.