Five New Fashion Designers in Boston

3967132591_0a732c0fe0.jpgBy Brittany Berkowitz
October 5, 2009
This week the fashion world proved that Boston is a city of many cultures. In honor of Fashion Week, five new and culturally diverse designers took center stage on the runway. The Fashion Group International of Boston introduced Millie Bautista, Nara Paz, Elena Sanders, Eddi Phillips and Pavlina Gilson. The show was a cultural melting pot from the distinction in style to the designers’ native backgrounds.
The FGI (Fashion Group International) has been hoping to show a stronger sense of community rather than competitiveness. The FGI should expect nothing less of these designers who come from different backgrounds and bring their cultures to the fashion community. Ranging from designers who lived in the Dominican Republic to the Czech Republic, these creators are the new faces of fashion.
24-year-old Designer Millie Bautista was born in the Dominican Republic where she lived until the age of five. Her father was one of her biggest influences in her desire to pursue fashion. Bautista’s first experience as a designer was under her father. As a tailor he taught her how to sew and sketch her own dresses. It is interesting that a male first trained Bautista since her clothes greatly emphasize feminine features. She chose to reflect her very effeminate designs through a 1940s theme. Aside from shoulder pads drawing attention to the upper body and shorter dresses extenuating the legs, this time period embraced women wanting to have more freedom to express themselves both socially and stylistically. The 40s era is an ideal representation of women power, which is what Bautista tries to achieve in her work.
Nara Paz grew up in a poor village in South Brazil. Paz believes that in Brazil, image and appearance were of the utmost importance. Her mother influenced her to believe that if you look good you will also feel good. Any woman would feel like a million bucks if given the chance to slip into one of her flawless pieces! Through her use of silhouette and other unique fabrics, Paz ‘s line is able to highlight the most flattering features on women. The best part of her collection is that almost every piece showcased utilized black, a color that practically makes up most women’s wardrobe.
Designer Elena Sanders brings the culture of the steampunk movement to her work. Sanders defines steampunk as traveling through time in fashion to create a Victorian-era yet industrial and futuristic look. The 23-year-old designer uses nontraditional materials like metal, rivets and even clock pieces to bring her old-fashioned and futuristic line to the present. Many women might not ever envision themselves dressing in any of Sanders’ pieces which look more like contraptions and machinery than clothing. However her creative eye and boldness merge industry, time and fashion. If we were ever to travel back in time to the Victorian Era and then fly into a futuristic society, Sanders’ line would be most appropriate.
Although 43-year-old Eddi Phillips was born in Los Angeles, California, he has left his mark on fashion as a Bostonian. His work as an in-house designer and couture textile buyer for the Fabric Stash in Charlton, Massachusetts, the launch of his own company, and his graduation from Boston’s School of Fashion Design have all contributed to Phillips’ incorporating beauty in his designs. The word beauty does not even do his line justice. It was truthfully the only line that most women might feel comfortable wearing. His collection focuses on eveningwear and cocktail dresses and everything was so simple that it was flattering. It was the most uncomplicated line displayed and it gave off a sophisticated yet modest look, which is a style most women would probably want for a night out. Phillips instills a strong sense of family in his work, as his grandmother, mother and two older sisters heavily impacted him.
Pavlina Gilson draws inspiration from the ancient source Morovian castle in her native Czech Republic. Her roots did more than just inspire her clothing. They motivated her to travel to the United States where more opportunities for fashion would be available. Looking back, Gilson agrees she is a lot like her father who as a tailor who would constantly repeat to her the steps she needed to make a garment fit well. Gilson’s “PRIEMLOV” collection gives women the perfect fall look. Much of her line focuses on long jackets, blazers, sweaters, and below the knee skirts. Her line is both professional and seasonal. So what is not to like?
Photo credit: Melissa Unger.