Teenage Seams: My Field Trip to SF Fashion Feud Finals


Not yesterday but the Tuesday before I went to the Fashion Feud Finals, held at The Rickshaw Stop in downtown SF.  Fashion Feud is a Project Runway style design, execution, and styling competition put on by Big Sky Media and SFFAMA.  Designers are given a mystery bag of fabric, and one hour to make something amazing out of it. In the meantime, models get their hair and make-up done so they’re ready to strut by the time the designers finish their on-the-spot creations.

I wasn’t even going to go, both of the photographers we regularly work with here at IBC were otherwise engaged for the evening and I’d had a long day of awesomeness that included taking some young people to the Zine Library at the main branch of the SFPL. Yes, that’s right, I got paid to read Rollerderby magazine (which incidentally has NOTHING to do with Roller Derby at all) with some teenagers for a few hours. WIN.

Buuuut… I happened to mention to said teenagers that there was this Fashion Feud thing going on and it was all ages and it was right down the street and they acted all casual like, “Hey that sounds cool,” but really they were exploding with excitement and so of course I agreed to take them.

Photo by Tommie Brown.

Here we are in the balcony at the Rickshaw Stop, waiting for the action to begin.

Photo by Tommie Brown

Here is the action, beginning! This model was my favorite. I don’t know what her name is because they only gave first names for the models and they only said them once and I couldn’t see who they were pointing to all the way from the balcony.  Incidentally, at first it seemed fucked up to me that the models only had first names while the designers and judges (who I’ll get to in a minute) had last names. It seemed really sexist and dehumanizing. But then I realized maybe they were trying to protect them from being googled by creepy bloggers like moi.

Photo by Tommie Brown

Another model. This fun Blondie-esque hairdo was turned into a Paris Hilton circa mid 2000s by the end of the hour. That sounds like a lament – but it isn’t. Just because we are all embarrassed by Paris Hilton doesn’t mean she didn’t have great hair sometimes.

Photo by Tommie Brown

I did however, lament what they did to this model’s hair. She had a SIIIIICK Natural Fro-Hawk thing going on before this and it took all the forearm strength that hair dresser had to twist it into a tiny lil top bun. Look how the poor girl is bracing herself in the chair! She looks like she is on an airplane that’s about to crash.

Photo by Tommie Brown

The finished hairstyle. I am worried she is posing like this because she strained her neck during the assimilation styling ordeal and can’t hold her head up.

Photo by Tommie Brown

A model getting fitted by Krysztina Lazar. High School Carrie really appreciated this designer’s personal style, as she loves to add fabric to regular pants to make them into bell bottoms and draw on her pants with a sharpie.

Photo by Tommie Brown

Sally Marie Hahn fitting her model.

Photo by Tommie Brown

Final designs by Krysztina Lazar, Sally Marie Hahn, and Crystal Hermann (L to R)

My young friends and I were rooting for the design by Sally Marie Hahn, in better detail below:

Photo by Tommie Brown

Do you see those box-pleats and finished hem and waist? The creation of those pants involved both highly evolved spacial temporal reasoning and an iron. We also thought her design was the most current and fashion forward.  I am not a fan of the criss-cross strappy business over the stomach, but I really like the architectural element of the sort of oversized box pleat in the top that reflects the pleats in the pants without repeating them. But she didn’t win!

The winning design, in detail below, was by Crystal Hermann:

Photo by Tommie Brown

The judges said they chose this design because it had the best finishing and well appointed details. I can’t argue with them that this outfit was absolutely well-made – curved side panels and real arm-openings (proper arm holes are one of the hardest things to sew ever) in the same top in one hour is really amazing. It should be noted that it is probably not an accident the other two designers avoided making anything so fitted on the top. I’d say Crystal’s blouse was more complicated and better finished than anything the other designers made, but in the end, the silhouette of the complete outfit was more “meh” than what I want to see at a fashion contest.

There was a TON going on besides the actual contest, including a hair makeover booth where people were getting updos and hot curls all evening, vendors like saga swimwear, free swag bags sponsored by Big Sky Media client Scion, a free photobooth, and a Red Cross booth taking donations for survivors of the earthquake and sunami in Japan.

Overall the millieu was a little too corporate-fashion-circus for my taste but the scene and be scene scene was made up for by the fun of watching creative people do their thing AND the joy of sharing this experience with some young people for whom it was a first.  Implications of corporate sponsorship of art aside, it made possible an all-ages evening event that was actually appealing to teenagers — we need more of that in the world!! I’ll definitely be checking the SF Independent Fashion Calendar for more SFFAMA events in the future.




About Carrie Leilam Love

i love words, babies, and shoes better than everything.


  1. blevit

    There’s a something like this for graphic designers and illustrators called Cut+Paste (http://www.cutandpaste.com/). They project the monitors of two designers and you watch as they work on their piece. The concept is exciting, but as a graphic designer, myself, it makes me a little anxious to consider working under that kind of pressure. It’s like when your boss hovers over you and looks at your monitor as you work—scary!

    Constructing a garment in an hour seems insane to me—especially because you are working on dressing a real person—with exact measurements. Impressive!

    Anyway. Seems like a fun night!

    • michaelvonbraithwaite

      Cut + Paste is one of my favorite events of all time. It’s so fun. This post was super enjoyable, Carrie! I love that you took teens with you. The best.

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