Color could be considered a visual language. It can influence thinking and affect how humans act. Red can lead to anger, green can help create calm. Color can cause happy feelings, as well as sad. Some colors even cause a feeling of hunger!
So how does color contribute to a person’s sense of identity and human social interaction? Student designers at The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland explored those questions recently at an annual fashion show.
This year’s show was called ‘Hueman,’ spelled H-U-E-M-A-N. The name combines hue, another word for color with man as in human.
Briana Arrington was one of the show’s organizers.
“The name for the show reflects the way that we connect and it speaks to color playing a big part in our civil existence,” she said.
More than 20 designers created the ready-to-wear clothing exhibit.
Designer Grayson Gross calls her clothing line ‘Queens.’ She used bold colors for each model to create sharply individual silhouettes.
“My line is called Queens. It’s about empowering queer people by putting them in clothes that are regal and royal looking like I put one of my models in gold because I thought it really emphasize their skin tone and the way they see themselves.”
Gross said she wanted each model’s “magic to come off.”
The second-year MICA student says she used only “queer” models and identifies herself that way, as well. She said she is “gender-fluid.” She says her fashion designs celebrate queer people all over the world.
“I really wanted to do something that talked about identity as it relates to my community and color is a really strong communicator about the person who's wearing those colors, it says something about you know how soft or bold or interesting they are.”
Student designer Calvin Chang’s fashions centered on his support for gender equality. Born in Taiwan, Chang was taught that responsibility belongs to men. He created his line Power and Elegance to show that women are powerful.
“This line is about breaking the stereotype of what women’s power suit should be.”
Chang used different materials, prints and patterns in his fashion to show just how powerful women’s clothing can be. He uses exciting colors. He says people can express emotion through color.
“I use like strong red, dark green. I use really bright yellow, I use really cold blue. Like I explore different colors that’s on the model that I know, I understand their mood…it actually all represents my model’s personality.”
‘Tension Underneath’ is a futuristic line designed by third year students Chelsea Lozano and Gina Fulton. The designers used sporty patterns, flowy fabric and even armor. They say their clothes are designed for underrepresented groups of people.
“What we focus on our line is how people around this world can generally (have) aggressive things happen throughout their life and how they have to adapt to that, you know, and still exist in this society and progress through these problems.”
Gina Fulton says the armor represents a mix of self-defense, color and versatility to protect the wearer’s emotions in oppressive environments.
Each piece expresses a different emotion.
“With our first design, it was more of a protective or defensive approach to it which is why we have the armor that kind of shield itself. And later on, we focus more on like the involvement of human technology and our interconnected growth which is why the final design was more of like clear, had more earthy colors to it. Had a lot of like green and blues hues because we want to signify kind of like the free-flowing form of nature and how man is also a part of nature and we use technology in a lot of these different ways.”
Other MICA students used unusual objects in their designs. Colorful traffic equipment, foam, plastic and computers helped create many pieces at the HUEMAN show.
I’m Marsha James. And I’m Dan Friedell.
Marsha James wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
contribute – v. to give (something, such as money, goods, or time) to help a person, group, cause, or organization
fashion – n. the business of creating and selling clothes in new styles
bold – adj. very noticeable or easily seen
silhouette – n. a dark shape in front of a light background
regal – adj. relating to, or suitable for a king or queen
royal – adj. suitable for a king or queen: elaborate or impressive
queer – n. homesexual person
stereotype – n. an often unfair and untrue belief that many people have about all people or things with a particular characteristic
patterns - n. a repeated decorative design
mood – n. the way someone feels
armor – n. special clothing that people wear to protect their bodies from weapons
versatility – adj. having many different uses
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