IN PHOTOS

Designers unveil original pieces at spring show

The Fashion Industry Association presented “Sonder,” its latest entry into the canon of modern fashion.

Photos by MARCUS HEATHERLY
Words by MILAN MCINTOSH

Sonder, according to Dictionary.com, is “the feeling one has on realizing that every other individual one sees has a life as full and real as one’s own.”

The Fashion Industry Association focused its spring fashion show on this feeling, bringing that realization to life with student models and student-designed clothes Saturday.


Daily headlines, sent straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest at and around USC.


In a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, electronic house music filled the room. The bass replicates a never-ending heartbeat, courtesy of DJ Mason Rosse. As the crowd of a few hundred filed in, people mingled with their fellow audience members.

FIA’s vendors included Dulce, WAFL Truck and Liquid Death, and after peering through what the vendors in the back room had to offer, many attendees returned to their seats with matcha lattes and waffles in hand.

The audience and the models were almost indistinguishable, as everyone was dressed in a chic, fashionable manner. A white curtain split the warehouse in half, one side filled with rows of audience chairs and the other concealing the models.

The show began with the overhead lights — courtesy of Christophe Merriam and Farlight Film Productions — shutting off abruptly as a mysterious blue light filled the warehouse. Eyes searched around the room, and the atmosphere teemed with anticipation.

FIA co-presidents Justin Tsai and Andy Trinh took to the microphone to introduce the designer and explain the meaning behind the show. After the music stopped, the sound of birds chirping echoed through the room. Suddenly, bright white lights beamed on the runway as the models slowly emerged from behind the curtain, one by one.

Dreamy, alternative dance pop played as designer Lukas Ross’ “PETRICHOR” was unveiled. Ross, a sophomore majoring in design, utilized his signature design elements, including back circles and stripes. The collection featured a blend of sustainable garments and manufactured pieces, and the overall color palette contained a mix of grays and whites with a few pops of purple and pink.

Next was designer Angela Li’s “BODIES BODIES BODIES.” This collection contained a plethora of vintage washed, purple and maroon hues. Many garments used tie-dyed fabric, adorned with dangling neck jewelry. “Your face” by Wisp played in the distance, adding to the dreamlike feel of the collection. Li also utilized sustainable and pre-worn pieces to create her work.

The music changed, an upbeat theme began and models for designer Ky Jeon’s “DEAR KY,” emerged. This collection featured very eclectic, colorful and experimental pieces, with a very diverse color palette. DEAR KY, included pattern mixing, paint-splattered clothing and sheer garments.

Heavily experimental, Jeon’s models had glittery makeup on, many with the glitter concentrated on the center of their faces, along the forehead and nose. From clothing replicating octopus tentacles to an overcoat constructed with zip ties, Jeon continued to push boundaries on what fashion is, all while emphasizing sustainability and self-expression.

Designer Max Rosenberg’s “REIMAGINED” featured fully handmade pieces with natural and earthy design elements. Created with pre-loved fabrics, Rosenberg’s collection was wearable art, with one of the pieces even depicting a portrait of Frida Kahlo.

Student designer Muriel Clarke’s “ON3 LOV3” is a story told through clothing. Clarke, a senior majoring in business administration, took inspiration from her Caribbean ancestors and iconic styles of the African diaspora. She channeled reggae music’s messages of love, peace and unity through her work. The use of green, yellow and red reference the Rastafari flag, reggae and Clarke’s cultural background. This collection used a wide range of fabrics, prints and textures, including sheer lace, denim, fur and flannel.

Full-time seamstress and designer Miranda Moreno’s “IcyGirl Collection” is perfect for winter months and frosty climates. The IcyGirl Collection features Russian ushanka-inspired fur hats, denim and several fur coats. These pieces, paired with rhinestone-studded face makeup and white mascara on the models, looked as if snowflakes had delicately collected upon their eyelashes.

Rokya Diaby, a sophomore majoring in communication, modeled for the first time for FIA in Moreno’s collection.

“Miranda is so cool. She is very soft-spoken but made the boldest pieces when it came to the whole IcyGirl Collection,” Diaby said. “It was fun getting fitted for clothing … Especially looking around and seeing other people wearing their clothes and seeing how it fit that person, it just made sense that they were wearing what they were wearing. I think having a brain like that is so interesting, just to be able to have a vision and fit it to each person.” 

Based in L.A., design duo Danielle Malingue-Essomo and Angela Liu’s “D’ANGEL” is heavily inspired by the grace and elegance of the female form. This transpired through shimmery, silky fabrics and multiple shades of pink. Additionally, each piece of the collection employed different variations of dress shapes. “D’ANGEL” blended innovation with ultra-femininity with a wide array of textures and biomimicry.

Hanchen Xu’s “KRAFFT,” inspired by volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft, incorporated the use of bold colors and primary color schemes. Xu, a USC alum who graduated in 2022, formed a color palette consisting mainly of cobalt blue, fiery red and bright white. The textures included fuzzy, plush materials and parachute pants.

Sofia Connors, a sophomore majoring in political science, modeled for FIA for Xu’s “KRAFFT” collection.

“[Xu] let me pick the hairstyle and the sunglasses, which was really good. I feel like it adds a little bit of my style in it,” Connors said. “During the show, I was just happy to be out there, and I was excited that everyone was finally seeing everything.”

As the show ended, the lights dimmed just like they had at the start. Immense applause filled the room as FIA closed out “Sonder” by thanking the audience, designers and everyone involved in the show.

Nothando Gilika, a freshman majoring in cognitive science, worked on the show as a member of FIA’s executive board.

“The most exciting part was that, because the task had to be divided amongst everyone, each individual didn’t really understand the full scope of what other people were doing,” Gilika said. “But then seeing it all come together, it’s like you played such a small role, but it can contribute to such a big picture.”

Diaby enthusiastically recalled her experience modeling for the show.

“Everyone had such a great, amazing energy. There was no negativity at all. Everyone was  great to work with and be around,” Diaby said. “I’m glad I met those people, and I’m glad I had that experience. Honestly, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

© University of Southern California/Daily Trojan. All rights reserved.