Project Ethos Showcases New Designers

Adriana Orellana

Project Ethos started off Los Angeles Fashion Week on March 12 at the Avalon Hollywood nightclub. It featured an exciting array of eight fabulous emerging designers including Seth Aaron Henderson, the winner of Project Runway season seven, and musical performances by Yolanda Be Cool and The Robotanists.

The theme of the night was “Carpe Diem” (seize the day). Audience members and designers mingled at the Honey Lounge inside of Avalon, and ate delicious green tea, lemon, and red velvet-flavored cupcakes from Tasty Cups.

The fun, hip and eclectic night started off with indie rock band The Robotanists performing a couple of songs off its new record, “Plans in Progress.”

Project Ethos allowed the young and talented designers to show their creativity to the Angelino audience of about 2,000. Designers included Melissa Velia, Kristi Moon (Age of Aquarius), Dominique Ansari, Reneta Jhunjhnuwala (Reneta J), Ermelinda Manos, Cardiwrap by Kymaro, Frederick’s of Hollywood Swimwear, and Seth Aaron Henderson.

Project Ethos, which came together in 2005, aims at being the distinctive spirit of a culture or an era, closing the gap between indie and mainstream for emerging artists.

The Frederick’s of Hollywood swimwear collection featured various two-piece swimsuit designs in red, black, blue and white, and were decorated with rhinestones and jewelry. The swimsuit collection was racy and provocative, a characteristic of the style of Frederick’s of Hollywood.

The Age of Aquarius collection, designed by Kristi Moon, featured eco-friendly casual sportswear clothing. Moon used biodegradable, sustainable, and organic fabrics for all of her garments.

“My designs are influenced by the ’70s as well as American sportswear designers,” said Moon. “And since I am a humanitarian, I want to make a difference in helping reduce my carbon footprint so that is why I use low impact dyes.”

The Age of Aquarius collection featured a more modern version of ’70s clothing. It can be worn during the day and easily transition to evening wear, with hip button-up jackets and pantsuits in colors like blue, black, and purple. Moon said the main thing that L.A. Fashion Week needs is the support of sponsors and to create a bigger buzz so that more people become aware of it.

Dominique Ansari’s collection was filled with statement pieces in rich colors like red, gray, white, turquoise, and black. It was aimed toward the young, beautiful, and bold women of today. The designs in the collection included one-shoulder dresses and jumpsuits that emphasize the beauty of a woman’s body in a delicate and classy way, while still looking very sophisticated.

“My inspiration for this collection is the warm weather of Los Angeles, and I want women to feel sexy and classy at the same time, all while being comfortable,” said Ansari.

The Cardi Wrap by Kymaro collection showed multifunctional styles of cardigans, shawls, scarves, and wraps that can transform into another style with a simple bow, bangle bracelets, or brooch.

The Cardi Wraps, made of viscose, a material which has a silky appearance and feel, are lightweight and manageable. The material drapes onto each woman’s body and showcases her figure. The Cardi Wraps, which are available in seven colors, were shown twisted, tossed, knotted, and wrapped.

A very cute and feminine collection was that of Ermelinda Manos, which showed soft colors throughout the short and ruffled dresses, accented by belts and embroidery. The dresses were fresh and light with breezy material and textures.

The Reneta J collection was fashionable, hip, and feminine. It featured dresses, flowy shirts over black leggings, provocative shorts and skirts that emphasized the models’ bodies. Jhunjhnuwala aims to make every woman feel beautiful all over again, bring out her inner goddess and transform her into a fashion forward, trendy woman.

“I want women to be sexy, versatile, and have a variety of clothing for different women,” said Jhunjhnuwala.

Melissa Velia’s collection showcase started with a model/ballerina dressed in an outfit from the collection. She wore ballet shoes, dancing on point across the runway. The audience knew at that moment that the collection would be different and distinctive. The outfits included long and dramatic dresses in black and burgundy with accents like ruffles and brooches. There were also combinations of shorter and tighter skirts with ruffled black shirts. Velia said she believes that for L.A. Fashion Week to compare with New York Fashion Week, the media has to promote it more, but it has come a long way.
“For me, fashion is an art, and I modeled this collection after Black Swan and Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas,” said Velia.

For the finale of the show, Henderson debuted his ready-to-wear line, which included basic colors of black and white with pops of red. His collection captivated the audience because of the elegance of the designs. The modern version was directed to the young audience.

“I was very inspired by a mixture all types of music for this collection, including ’30s, ’50s, Euro pop, Manson, and by the eras of the ’30s through ’50s,” said Henderson. “I also want to create all the new trends that have never been set.”

Henderson’s collection featured various hound’s tooth garments with red, black, and white. The collection was very elegant with waist-high dressy pants, tight knee- and calf-length dresses, and structured blouses. It included tilted hats and gloves, very appropriate for the eras which inspired him. It was very chic, sophisticated and appropriate for a business outing.

Vitaminwater Zero, the official sponsor of the event, held the “Flavor Fashionista Challenge.” This required designers to create an outfit inspired by the vitaminwater zero flavor they were given within a $200 budget. The winner, Jhunjhnuwala, received a prize valued up to $3,000 for her vibrant outfit.

The night ended with an upbeat and danceable performance by Yolanda Be Cool, who also performed their famous hit, “We Speak No Americano.”