Functional Style Lessons for all from Danbury Fashion Week

I love the confidence and street-chic vibes exuding form this jean jacket created by 14-year-old Zaya Blooms for the launch of her Beauty in Bloom fashion line.

 

The best looks from the DFW runway were friendly to our bodies and the environment. 

The overwhelming takeaway from Danbury Fashion Week is that feel-good fashion is the biggest trend on the runway right now.

Fast-fashion, or the rapid turnaround of trends from runway to department store, makes the hottest styles accessible to a larger population (ever been amazed to find a trendy look you thought was out-of-reach for under $50 at Zara?). But fast fashion is incredibly wasteful, using literal tons of non-renewable resources that are then rapidly disposed of.

Moreover, it’s not always easy to wear. As a healthy, fit young adult, I struggled to find a body-con dress at Zara that was actually wearable. If it was the right length, I could barely pull it over my shoulders and it squeezed my chest like wearing a corset in the 18th century (probably) would have felt. In short, it’s impractical.

That’s why I am amazed by the ingenuity and commitment to eco-friendly, body-friendly fashion that I saw on the runway at Danbury Fashion Week.

Here’s a look at what innovative local designers are doing to improve your fashion experience.

Comfort can do more for self-confidence than fast fashion

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Above, a model wears one of Jacquelyn Price’s accessibility designs. The looser cut and tie-waist make this look easy to throw on and wear all day. Bonus points for the cozy materials.

After developing an undiagnosed disability at 16 years old, Georgia-based designer  Jacquelyn Price became inspired to create adaptive apparel that empowers women of all abilities to dress comfy and confidently, resulting in fashionable accessibility wear.

“Clothes have a big part in making women feel confident,” Price told The Inspo Edit via email. She explained that garments fit differently when, for example, someone is wheel-chair bound, and “seams or bunched fabric can be uncomfortable all day. Buttons tend to be a universal problem for a lot and that’s why it was really important for me to figure out how to make garments without them,” Price said.

Her remedy for this fashion faux-pas lies in chic comfort wear that uses magnets (in place of traditional buttons), ties, elastic, and extended arm- and neck-holes to allow easy dressing for all.

Always try before you buy

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve purchased cheap fashion only to find the fit terrible, and worse, uncomfortable. It squeezes something or hangs too low somewhere, and the cheap metal zipper grinds into my skin.

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Jacquelyn price’s handmade accessibility wear looks comfy and flattering on all body types.

Price dreams of a world where clothing never makes you feel bad just because it doesn’t fit you. Instead, she wants to help build a world where fashion fits the wearer as a first priority, and makes all who wear it feel like their best selves.

 “I just want women of all abilities to feel like the bad-ass women that we all are, and to make getting dressed as easy as possible because it shouldn’t be a hassle or dreaded,” Price said.

Eco-friendly fashion is always attractive

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Doreen Breen’s hand-knit wool accessories make this dressy look down-to-earth and charming.

From the Savers 81 Pound challenge, where designers were tasked with creating sustainable fashion from 81 pounds of thrifted garments, to the kid’s re-fashioning camp, Danbury Fashion Week was all about eco-friendly fashion initiatives.

None was more beautiful to me than Doreen Breen’s collection. The owner and designer of Soul Threads, where she designs handcrafted “wearable art” using natural fibers and upcycled materials. Her line of redesigned coats at DFW has me ready to visit the store for the first time!

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This cozy look by Doreen Breen features a repurposed coat dressed with upcycled appliques and finished with a knit hat made of real wool.

Breen works with clients to “bring their soul forward” through clothing and accessories that empower the wearer. She uses a combination of trade techniques from FIT and artisan techniques from her grandmother in Scotland to design her personalized, sustainable garments. Breen also uses locally sourced, natural fibers in her handcrafted wool work, adding both a personal and eco-friendly touch to her designs.

The result is a beautifully stitched garment with splendid splash of color and a cozy charm. Plus you’ll feel good inside knowing you’re wearing eco-friendly fashion.

 

Camouflage can be evening-wear, too.  

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Local designer Jamie Burch showed us camo is ready to be dressed up with her DFW collection.

I am developing my unique style with a focus on street wear, or casual but bold items worn in exciting new ways. But I never know how to maintain this image when dressing up for a night out. Thanks to local designer Jamie Burch of Leiani Simone Fashion, I have a few new ideas.

“My whole concept in this line was evening wear. I wanted to take Camouflage to a higher level,” Burch told The Inspo Edit via email.

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The moment I saw this collection, Burch used her scraps to make handbags “so nothing goes to waste,” she said.

Finally, if you love the jean jacket featured above as much as I do, check out young entrepreneur Zaya Blooms and her Beauty in Bloom fashion line

Danbury Fashion Week was a blast and I hope it becomes an annual event! Would you want a local fashion week in your area? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Special thanks to Michelle Spanedda for sharing her lovely photos ~ Check out her page for more fabulous trends from Danbury Fashion Week XO