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Friday, April 12, 2024

The Gainesville Fashion Week team hosted its annual night of runway fashion on Saturday, debuting collections from five local designers to an audience of about 500 people. From swimwear to menswear, the show displayed a wide range of styles and talent.

The first collection to head down the runway was South Florida-based ZannieKini, a line of barely-there swimwear for young women. The playful bikinis ranged from solid, bright colors to tie-dye patterns with interesting straps as well as mix-and- match tops and bottoms highlighting the collection.

Second was YAYA, a collection from GFW’s director-at-large Ching-Ya Ni, a 23-year-old UF political science and East Asian languages and literature senior with a focus in Chinese. The collection, a collaboration between Ni and designer David Tonnelier, featured womenswear and menswear in an assortment of colors and textures, and intricate cutout details were a staple throughout the collection. With strong 90s themes, holographic details and mesh fabrics highlighting the pieces, YAYA was on trend, while still remaining fresh and unique.

Ni said she was inspired by the idea of repurposing clothing.

“To be able to repurpose a piece of clothing that makes it unique and one of a kind has always been an inspiration in and of itself,” Ni said.

YAYA was followed by a collection from Francine Elizabeth, who was showing her designs for the fourth time at GFW. Described as having a sleek, aesthetic appeal to women in their early 20s, Francine Elizabeth’s designs were classic silhouettes with visual interest added by different fabrics and textures. A standout piece was a sleeveless peplum top with velvet paneling.

The fourth collection featured was The 1oz Project and Mikho, a menswear line. The designers described the collection as “a labor of love” and noted “the animal within you” as inspiration. The animal theme was apparent throughout the collection, with giraffe and python among some of the prints. The models were accessorized with body paint and fur, emphasizing the animalistic, wild theme.

The final collection of the night came from Julia Chew and her Xiaolin line. The collection of feminine dresses managed to remain both relevant and entirely unique with its combination of interesting, structured silhouettes and highly saturated fabrics and textures.

Many gowns featured feathers, and the standout piece of Xiaolin — and perhaps of the night — was a floor-length gown covered in feathers. The gown also featured a high, Victorian-style collar. The craftsmanship of the gown was impeccable, and the dark feathers flecked with jewel tones made the gown look sleek and fluid.

From feathers to bikinis, this year’s GFW was able to debut local, relevant collections that appealed to a variety of tastes and styles. As a whole, the range of local talent featured was both impressive and inspiring.

[A version of this story ran on page 8 on 4/10/2014 under the headline "Gainesville Fashion Week"]

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