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Friday, April 12, 2024

Breaking up has never looked so damn good.

After local fashion designer Bobby Kelley, or Bobby K, 26, ended a four-year relationship with his significant other, he realized he'd much rather stitch up a dress than a broken heart.

Kelley channeled his creativity into coordinating a fashion show that will be the finale on Friday to Gainesville Fashion Week, a four-day celebration of fashion and art, and he is about to leave this town breathless.

"My creativity imitates my life," Kelley said. "When I started going through this dark time, I had no way of expressing myself. Yeah sure, I can go see a therapist or talk to my friends, but people are biased and it is hard to talk to people the way you want to be interpreted."

So Bobby K gave himself his own therapy and did what he knows best, which is designing clothing to show people what he went through and how he got out on top.

Kelley's ex-lover ended the relationship in a state void of emotion, and left Kelley feeling just the opposite.

"Every human being knows the feeling of communicating with someone that can't communicate back," he said. "And in that instant, the person you are talking to is subhuman, not human - but a robot."

His show is appropriately titled "I'm In Love With a Robot," and he is not afraid to prove a point. In fact, that is the point.

Kelley wants his pieces to give women a sense of strength and independence, which will support his theme of empowerment.

"It is important for a woman to realize that (she is) strong enough to take control of situations and almost say, 'Fuck you, I'm in charge'," Kelley said.

The show will be set up to replicate the stages of a relationship. Kelley broke down his collection into four parts.

The first section is the romance. Models will glide down the runway wearing fuchsia tie-dyed fabrics smothered in ruffles in order to represent that innocent stage of love.

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The second section is where things start to get "rough," symbolized by acid-washed blacks and whites with structured pieces that are very 1980s.

Kelley's third section is what he calls his "Wear to Work or Ready to Wear" collection, which consists of more formal pieces, such as skirts and tweed dresses with black cummerbunds. He interlaced purple satins to make it feel "grown up" and to represent the part of a relationship that takes work.

The fourth section is "The Robot," and it is anything but lifeless. Imagine a fierce model in a jet-black fur jacket over a black one-piece fabric bikini with boots reaching up to her thighs.

The complete experience will be no trip to the movies.

"I want people to feel like they are at MGM," Kelley says. "I want people to experience the clothing."

The presentation will be darker and edgier than anything Kelley has done. He hopes that people see the translation between his shows and real-life situations.

Spectators can anticipate a night of passion, surprises and models in cages dancing to the sounds of a violin with the help of their professional pole-dancing classes.

"Gainesville needs a shot of adrenaline," Kelley said. "When people see this, for them it is going to be shock, like, 'This really exists and goes on here?' Yes it really, really does."

And for anyone that can't handle the thrill: "Don't worry, I'll be handing out Depends at the door," he jokes.

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