As Denver Fashion Week (DFW) — the city’s largest fashion event — approaches we reflect on who has made an impact and how they will outdo shows of the past. With that in mind, 303 Magazine just released nominations for the city’s best designers and the competition is just as fierce as the designs they create. From sweet and ultra-feminine to edgy and gender neutral, this year’s nominations have it all.
Hall is a masterful designer who is able to take any decade-inspired fashion, modernize it and elevate it to high fashion. Her grunge-inspired DFW Fall ‘18 collection is still causing a stir, leading the Seattle-born, ‘90s trend solidly into 2019. “As we approached the one year anniversary of [Chris Cornell’s] death, I really felt that the best way for me to process it was through creating a collection as a nod to this musician and music that I loved so much,” said Hall. “Grunge was this rebellion against excess and the status quo so I wanted to design a collection that celebrated the attitude of the music that Chris and others created.”
Rachel Marie Hurst
Hurst designs clothing with true feminine flair. In her world, girls rule in ruffles and pastels but don’t let the softness distract you, her clothing is designed to empower and celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. “I hope that this will start a new trend of returning fashion to an intimate experience,” Hurst said. “It can be inclusive as well as fun — my ultimate dream of seeing more women rocking the RMH brand.”
Allison Nicole Berger
Berger is the master of ethereal beauty. Her evening and bridal designs transform women into light, airy whispers that float through events as though just a dream. Her signature floral designs are a constant tribute to her grandmother and the relationship they had. “I remember sewing and painting with [my grandmother] and I am so grateful that she helped me and taught me many things,” Berger said. “Even though she is not with us anymore, she will always be with me in spirit.”
Thomas began as a wedding designer who specialized in separates that allowed women to create their own signature look rather than trying to fit into a prescribed dress. Now, Thomas has unleashed her creativity and expanded to a full line of pieces — created using exclusively sourced fabric — women can either dress up or down for any occasion. “I ask myself about every piece I design: ‘Would she wear this to an event? How about with a funky t-shirt or pair of sneakers?’ If the answer is yes to both, then I know I’ve got something that’s ‘Nuorikko,’” she said. She has truly hit her stride as one of the most versatile designers in the city.
The Massachusetts-born Darkm0th Industry designer crashed onto the Denver fashion scene in 2018, causing seismic ripples across the local landscape. As a trained costume designer, Ariel honed their craft and found their calling in fashion. Ariel’s gender-neutral, fluid designs are unlike anything else on the scene but we believe they will pave the way for other experimental designers. “Darkm0th Industry in a few words is dark, minimal, industrial and futuristic,” Ariel explained. “It is important to me that any person who enjoys futurism and luxury but the simple aesthetic is able to wear my clothing. Art should not discriminate towards any person or group of people. If you enjoy it, you should be able to enjoy it fully.
*Note: Ariel preferred pronouns are they/them
For Hodges, it’s all in the name. Her label — Electric Bubblegum — is a cotton candy-laced, Katy Perry-esque wonderland filled with bright colors and a fearless, “electric” attitude. “Liquid glitter is so interactive. I want apparel and accessories to be a form of entertainment and to make you more intrigued. Most clothing you look at stays the same. But you can play with liquid glitter,” said Hodges. Although known for her vinyl, glitter-filled accessories, Hodges debuted a full clothing line during DFW Fall ‘18.
Topping — owner of Topping Designs — is an explosive personality every time he hits the runway and his designs are no different. From leather to flowing silk, his clothing always empowers women to show their beauty, own their strength and tell their story. As a DFW veteran, Topping has become a staple in the Denver fashion scene but he is no stranger to the national stage, including New York Fashion Week, LA Fashion Week and Baltimore Fashion Week.
Sells is a cerebral designer who has mastered the art of form and construction, with clothing that feels equally at home with youthful and mature audiences. His command of complex patterns like Shibori — a Japanese dyeing technique that uses pleating and binding — places him in the upper echelons of the local design world. “My current collections still utilize Shibori/tie-dye, but in a much more restrained fashion,” Sells said. “My casual wear collection combines textural Japanese fabrics with contemporary shapes and Zen-like minimalist use of Shibori/tie-dye to accentuate the garment. And my current evening wear pieces utilize singular bold swatches of Shibori/tie-dye that flutter across the silk yardage.”