MFW Review: DSI Design for Change Gala

The closing event benefited Down Syndrome Indiana. Designs shown above by Antonio Fermin (left) and Catou.

Whew! Last week we managed to juggle our crazy lives and attend a few of the events around Midwest Fashion Week. In all, we can say that organizers were able to provide a seamless mix of many types of art and philanthropy. And that is pretty cool! The festivities closed with the gala—DSI Design for Change—last Saturday, March 17, at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Indy. As the name points out, the event, once again, benefited Down Syndrome Indiana (DSI), and we were all touched by the teenagers and children with Down syndrome who graced the runway.

Before the show started models wearing garments from Liz Alig and Roqstars mingled among the guests. We were mostly impressed with how well-prepared the models were to talk to the media—they knew details about the clothing they were wearing and the boutiques they were representing.

(All photos provided by Casey Photography.)

Liz Alig creates clothing that is both fashion forward and ethic. They work with fair trade producers and recycled materials. The sewing is based in Indiana, which means no sweatshops. According to their website, 10 percent of all the proceeds are donated to developing countries to support the skills training of women and street children.

Roqstars is a local boutique that specializes in unique items without the expensive price tag. They also sell handbags and other accessories.

But let’s talk about the most expected part of the night: the runway show. Here’s our short review on what we saw from each designer:

Fashion Jen Handbags: Jennifer is a Chicago-based leather handbag designer. Her fall 2012 collection was anything but boring, with incredible construction, wild crocodile and soft buttery leathers. The details include a mixture of fringe with studs, fur and chains. Very smart mix media ideas, all put together in a edgy yet sophisticated handbag collection!

Lorry Plasterer: The incredibly talented, new and upcoming designer was born and raised in Huntington, Ind. She graduated from Indiana University last May. She was seen in two of the Midwest Fashion Week events and is designing a line for New York Fashion Week! How cool is that? Lorry’s line wasn’t disappointing. She was inspired by the American Southwest—lots of fringe and leather accents, a bit of see-through and asymmetry. We love the mixture of the rock-and-roll metal studs on the southwestern leather vests. She combined the hard and soft in such a fashion-forward way. We’re sure we’ll hear a lot about this talented girl, besides she’s really cute!!

Gunnar Deatherage: Spy Wear. Gunnar, Project Runway Season 9 designer, showed a beautiful combination of see-through, flowy fabrics with stiffer tailored pieces. Plaid was used on the outerwear pieces, and pencil as well as flared skirts were seen—meaning they are all in!

Studio NTK by Nataliya Kitic: Among the uh’s and ah’s, Nataliya’s showed an up to date combo of prints in an unusual way. Yet her staple fabric was present in almost every piece—the pleather girl rocked Midwest Fashion Week’s runway with her authentic vision and great eye for trends. Her line was wearable and had an edge. Every girl can see herself in at least one of Nataliya’s pieces. Perfectly-waisted riding pants, tailored cropped jackets, longer front panel pencil skirt, perfect-fitted shorts, amazing jumpsuits and shiny pleather accents on the sleeves of a dress and on the legs of a legging—she showed so much evolution on her designs and aesthetic. Kudos for wowing the audience!

Catou by Berny Martin: As always Berny shows impeccable clothing. Sharp and sophisticated is what comes to mind when looking at his designs. This season we saw the plaid accent with a pop of color picking through the velvet suits, a risqué combo that went extremely well. The casual menswear look were shown with soft looking scarves and added that touch of casual/chic! As for the ladies, the looks were office-edgy and we loved the lightweight black coat with the hoddie (another nice touch).

The Michael Alan Stein Collection by Michael Alan Stein: Rich fabrics, impeccable finish and a soft incorporation of trends in a classic silhouette. Michael’s collection presented the cut-outs in such a classy way! The color blocking was done in neutral and dark colors such as black, tan, grey, olive and burgundy. But the amazing accessory, which we’re dying to have, are the finger leather gloves! That little item added such spice to the line that we couldn’t forget about them!!

Gowns by Antonio Fermin: What a beautiful way to close the show, with a selection of bridal and cocktail wear in many colors and for many tastes! Antonio is a true couturier who works with the hardest fabrics in the world and manages to make them flawless. We couldn’t help but notice a little bit of a Valentino vibe especially in the last dress, the nude with a full skirt embellished with strips of raw edged fabric (which appeared to be organza)—mouth-watering!