by John Russel Jones

I had the pleasure of attending The High School of Fashion Industries (HSFI) 35th Annual Student Fashion Show and Benefit last night. It was held en plein air in Gansevoort Plaza in New York City’s Meatpacking District, which seemed like a wonderful if not just plain glamorous idea on what had been a spectacular spring day in the city, that is right up until the show started, and as if on cue, it started raining. No matter: The rain was never so bad that any of us got soaking wet, and I have to say I was truly impressed with the fortitude and professionalism of the students as they soldiered through the weather, modeling their creations for the world to see. And what creations! It’s safe to say that the future of our industry will be safe in these creative hands. Special thanks to our colleague and HSFI champion Robert di Mauro (above) for inviting us to the show, and for shepherding so many of the students.

We say, whoever this girl is, FOLLOW HER! Her glam outfit came complete with a transparent (rainproof) hooded cape!

The event celebrated two honorees—Angelo Baque, founder & creative director of AWAKE NY, and global logistics provider UPS—for championing the emerging class of fashion students, supporting underserved communities and their commitment to giving back with creativity and compassion. Baque was honored with the Visionary Award and UPS with the Fashion Equity Award.

The Elemental Ball runway show presented over 90 original designs by the graduating senior class—all modeled, styled and choreographed by the students. Throughout the school year, the students were mentored by industry designers and leaders, who attended events including the HSFI Career Day and the Fashion Show Preview, a critiquing process leading up to the final designs and show.

Additionally, the evening’s award ceremony culminated with honoree Baque presenting $25,000 UPS scholarships to three Latinx students, for their college educations. The recipients—Julia Gonzaga, Luna Flores, and Merlin Bonilla—were selected through an application and interview process for their tremendous promise and outstanding accomplishments.

Here is a selection of some of the outstanding menswear and gender-neutral looks that were presented at the show (There were far more elegant and fantastical women’s looks). Congratulations to the class of 2023!

  • FIT final show 2023

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