NYC may have fashion week, but we in SF have fashion month. Each Spring, from mid-April to mid-May, a range of annual fashion shows present SF's best emerging talent. From $10,000 student collections, to recycled independent clothing, designers across the city have been sketching, patterning, draping, cutting, sewing, pressing, fitting and refitting like mad - and it all comes down to these seven shows:
1. San Francisco State University's Runway 2011: Enchantment, Thursday April 21, 7pm at the San Francisco Design Center (101 Henry Adams Street), $15-$25.
Last year, some 700 style enthusiasts packed two floors of the Design Center for the SF State annual fashion show. This year, SF State will launch the first of five SF student fashion shows, with a blow-out senior show. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Visions Of La Moda, a free fashion program for urban youth.
2. Discarded To Divine, Thursday April 28, 6pm-10pm at The Hall in St. Mary's Cathedral (111 Gough St), $75-$250.
Every year, DTD designers take piles of abandoned clothing from the St. Vincent de Paul Society's Help Desk and rework them into couture revelations. The annual, green fashion show previewed last Friday evening at the de Young museum, but the official show takes place next week, and will feature everything from period-inspired gowns to reupholstered furniture.
Four fashion design students from the AIC SF - Autie Carlisle, Cameron Stewart, Justin Jamison, and Rachel Poulos - will reveal their collections in this riveting, independent fashion show.
4. Explode La Mode Fashion Show, Saturday April 30, 9pm-2am, at SOM (2925 16th St), $10.
Nine local designers, including Sarah Liller and Francisco Castro, will send their latest down the hottest indie runway in town. In regular SOM fashion, a post-catwalk party will play through the wee hours of the night. All proceeds will benefit A Home Within.
5. Academy of Art University's Annual Spring Show, Student and Faculty Show Thursday May 5, 3pm; Invitation-only Show, Thursday May 5, 7pm ; Public Show, Saturday May 7, 2pm all at The Tent (601 Brannan).
Led by the valiant Simon Ungless and Gladys Perint Palmer, the Academy of Art University's BFA students always deliver one of the best, most professional shows of the year. This year's industry celeb audience will include Cathy Horyn, fashion critic of The New York Times, Nathalie Rykiel, president and artistic director of Sonia Rykiel, fashion designers Yigal Azrouël, Andrew Buckler, Steven Cox, Daniel Silver of Duckie Brown, Laure du Pavillon, and IMG Fashion executive producer Christina Neault.
6. California College of the Arts Annual Fashion Show, Friday May 13, 8pm at The Tent at California College of the Arts (1111 Eighth St.), $30-$100
Among the many talented seniors this year, the CCA collections highlight Mariana Moreno-Gonzalez's "Hollow Grounds", inspired by tide pools in Half Moon Bay, and "Fashioning Functional Gear", a collection intersecting fashion and industrial design. The runway doubles as the competition stage for the second annual Emerging Talent Award - featuring a NYC fashion shoot, and a spread in Surface Magazine's annual "Avant Guardian" issue.
7. City College of San Francisco Fashion Department's 10th Anniversary Fashion Show: Decadence, Sunday May 22, 7pm at Ruby Skye (420 Mason St), $10-$15.
CCSF celebrates ten years of fashion education with their first ever student produced fashion show. The show will feature 60 looks from four distinct collections: In Full Bloom, Utilitarian Chic, Studio 54 and Goddess. One outstanding designer will receive a scholarship to the Academy of Art University.
Lily Ko (lily.7x7 @ gmail.com) studied fashion design and merchandising at Central Saint Martins and the Academy of Art University. In addition to writing for 7x7, Lily is an editor at SF Station, works as a freelance stylist and covers food, fashion and fun on her blog, Curated SF.