On Saturday, the student organization EnspiRED will host its seventh annual charity fashion show in the Biomedical Science Research Building at 7 p.m. This year’s show revolves around the theme “The Year of Couture,” and will feature approximately 50 student models, live entertainment and original clothing designs from fashion boutiques across the U.S.

EnspiRED Presents: The Year of Couture Fashion Show

Saturday at 7 p.m.
Biomedical Research Building
From $10

EnspiRED, created in 2006, promotes arts awareness and passion for the arts across campus by showcasing various arts-based events throughout the year.

“EnspiRED started essentially to highlight the arts and different artists on campus,” said LSA junior Tyrell Collier, the show’s production manager. “We promote the collaboration of arts through the various events that we host, but our biggest event of the year is always the fashion show.”

“The Year of Couture” will be a charity fundraiser for Art Roads, a nonprofit group that aims to restore arts classes in southeastern Michigan elementary schools where budget cuts have diminished arts programs.

LSA senior Chatoris Jones, president of EnspiRED, explained the logic behind choosing Art Roads as this year’s fashion show charity organization.

“When I was in elementary school, we had art classes. Nowadays, art’s gone,” Jones said. “Art Roads keeps art within schools. That’s what we want to do at Michigan. Yeah, we’re a research institution. Some students here are going pre-med, are more into engineering and are getting into B-School … but what about those individuals that are here to keep art alive?”

By choosing Art Roads, Jones hopes to sustain the importance of art both on campus and within schools across Michigan.

“Although art is something that’s fun, it also helps you feel good. You can express yourself,” Jones said.

Other than the fashion show, EnspiRED also creates several gallery-like events throughout the year, titled “Arts Experiences,” which showcase local and student artists and musicians.

Collier noted a similar theme of accentuating the arts in the fashion show.

“Although (‘The Year of Couture’) is a fashion show, we do showcase and highlight various forms of art throughout the show,” he said.

The fashion show will feature clothing designs and fuse together differing art forms like dance, visual art and live music. This year’s show promises a hip-hop performance by rapper Mahd, and host James “Mr. GQue” Stratford.

“The Year of Couture” presents a different spin on the traditional couture, high-class art sphere.

“Our fashion show is not supposed to be like New York Fashion Week — it’s supposed to be arts through fashion. It’s all about individuality. When you wake up, whatever you dress up as, that’s what inspires you,” Jones said.

Rather than focus on the traditional meaning of “couture” as high-fashion, EnspiRED chose to craft a new definition of “couture,” one that proves more accessible to the arts.

“What we’re taking is whole, high-fashion European kind of couture, and making it an everyday kind of couture,” Jones said. “We are not a fashion organization. We are an arts-based organization.”

Collier added: “It’s ‘The Year of Couture,’ so basically we want to bring legendary concept of couture but compare it to everyday-wear as well. We want to basically show that couture can be represented by more demographics than it’s usually represented in.”

Instead of primarily featuring clothing from local fashion boutiques like last year’s fashion show, “The Year of Couture” showcases designers from across the country.

“This year, we’ve gone out to up-and-coming fashion designers, and also to other boutiques,” Jones said.

Ann Arbor local fashion boutiques Wendy, Launch and Cool Club Clothing will also be highlighted. All four seasons of clothing — spring, summer, winter and fall — will be featured throughout the show, emphasizing the year-round couture look. The student models, chosen by EnspiRED through a modeling call at the beginning of the year, will pose in various clothing designs.

New to this year’s fashion show will be three levels of tickets available for purchase: Premium VIP, VIP and General Admission. Premium VIP guests can attend a pre-show reception, where they will be treated to a catered meal, in addition to live musical entertainment by three singers, two of which are University students. Both Premium VIP and VIP guests will be given preferred seating, as well as a “Swag Box” of gift items. The pre-show reception begins at 6 p.m. and doors open at 7 p.m. for VIP and General Admission guests.

Collier explained the decisions behind adding the Premium VIP, VIP and General Admission.

“Last year, we hit capacity. We didn’t have enough seats. This year, we added the pre-show reception because that was another aspect of doing something different and another way to showcase more artists as well,” he said.

For both Jones and Collier, anticipation for the show is blended with excitement.

“I’m excited to see how it looks, to see if we sell out, and I’m hoping to give a good amount of money to the charity,” Collier said.

Jones added, “This will be the best thing that hits Michigan. That’s something that we do in EnspiRED. We push the edges. We dare to be different.”

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