Friday night was the long, LONG awaited finale to the 4th Annual Project Selvedge Fashion Design Competition held at Selvedge Studio in Missoula. My wife, Julia, along with two other designers, had advanced through 6 challenges to reach the finals. I think there were something like 16 or 17 designers to start out with. The whole thing really began back in February when they received their first challenge, so it’s been quite a hectic, stressful year for us so far. But this week, one way or another, it was to come to an end.
The crowd was filling in early, and by the time things kicked off the room was pretty well stuffed with people.
Each designer then paraded their models up and down the makeshift runway. I wasn’t in position to shoot them, mainly because of the crowd (and I’m too lame of a photographer to get good “action” pictures anyway), so I didn’t even try. I did shoot them once they queued up to be critiqued by the judges. Caryn was first.
Each designer had to name their line, come up with a logo, and describe what they were going for as designers. I’m amazed at the amount of work involved, besides the act of making the clothes themselves. It was a lot of work. I’m not that good at judging these things, but when I saw Caryn’s stuff I was really nervous that she could be the winner.
Next up was Candice. She actually made a couple things for guys as well. Here line was really cohesive across the board, I thought.
Then it was Julia’s turn. Her models looked great.
Many of the garments Julia designed were reversible, could be worn multiple ways, could be changed from a skirt to a dress, etc. She doesn’t know how to make patterns, yet, so everything she did she just pulled out of the air from designs she would draw on paper. She told the judges that not being able to make patterns was the biggest hurdle for her to overcome.
After all the designers had been critiqued, the judges adjourned to deliberate. While that was happening the fashion show continued, with all the previous designs being paraded about the room. I didn’t even bother to try and take pictures. I was being approached by waves of people talking about Julia and asking a lot of questions. Frankly, it’s all a blur. I was really freakin’ nervous. I did take this shot of our friend Kim wearing the corset thing Julia made as part of the first challenge (the fabric wasn’t her choice, they had to take fabric given them and try and make something that showed what they are all about as designers).
When the judges returned, they spoke to each designer about what they’d done, told them what they liked, etc.
Aimee from Betty’s said Julia’s crew looked like a gang.
Then they called just the three designers out. Before announcing the winner, they gave props to others who had helped as sponsors, like Boom Swagger Salon, who had been doing hair and makeup; Noteworthy Paper and Press; Le Petit Outre had been supplying food for each event; and Betty’s Divine, of course. Also, Timeless Treasures donated the fancy sewing machine the winner would receive. Cheers to all of them!
Then it was the big moment. Caryn took second runner-up, Candice was first runner-up (and also won award for most improved), and Julia was named the winner! It was all very exciting, I had to suppress a few tears, to be honest, because she had worked so hard and I was happy for her. Yes, the entire contest had turned our household upside down for a couple months, but in the end it was really worth it. It’s easy to say at this juncture that it would have been great even if she hadn’t won, but I think that, despite disappointment, she would have agreed. Her technical skills improved several times over, and I was quite proud to see all the positive attention lavished on her.
We met a lot of great people over the last couple months, and we both love how many friends came out to cheer Julia on (Toni and Bruce; Angie and Dean; Christine, Carrie and Lisa; Kim; my old rock n’ roll friends Kia and Jen; my mom, sister, nephew, 2 aunts and an uncle; the list goes on and I’m probably forgetting people too!). Not to mention new people we’d never met before coming out to see what she would come up with next. Julia was pretty dazed by it.
So yeah, it was difficult and at times frustrating, but also great and turned out fantastic. And we’re both very, very glad it’s over!