Fashion models walk the runway during the Academy of Art University Graduation Fashion Show, May 10 and 11, 2019, at 625 Polk Street, San Francisco. photo: Steve Phipps/FAMAMOCA. Copyright © FAMAMOCA LLC 2019. All Rights Reserved.

The Rebirth of “Beyond The Front Row”

The amount of work that gets put into runway shows is truly amazing. And unfortunately, most of us don’t realize this when we’re watching the show from the audience. But when you get the opportunity to host your own runway show, you see everything from a whole new perspective. Beyond the Front Row is a fashion club from the School of Fashion. The group of students spent the last few months prepping for their fashion show titled “Runway Repurposed.”

Beyond the Front Row has completely transformed this semester. Under new leadership from President Camila Encomendero and Vice President Tanya Kaushik, their team has really grown from what the club was in previous semesters. Beyond the Front Row consists of the board members and their volunteer members. The group meets several times a month to delegate tasks to each other and figure out where they are in their progress. Each board member is the head of a certain field, like social media or design.

The rest of the Board of Directors for the club include Priyanka Malhotra, Brenton Loui, Kenya Marquez, Mateo Acevedo, Ray Solomon, and Ray Jin. The Members at Large are Valentina and Chase, who assisted where needed. Priyanka heads Community Outreach and is assisted by Kenya. Brenton was head of Marketing and Production, Mateo is head of Creative, Ray Solomon is Treasurer, and Ray Jin is Public Relations. Jennifer was not only Lead Stylist for the show, but is also head of Social Media for the club.

While the board members had each of their specific roles, they weren’t always aligned with what they are majoring in. For example, Ray Jin is studying Fashion Marketing but is in charge of Public Relations for the club. Giving students the chance to work in a field that isn’t what they major in gives them more experience and more creativity in their field. It can also give them better problem-solving skills, as they learn different ways on how to accomplish a task.

Runway Repurposed was in collaboration with the Fashion Design Sophomore students, who have an assignment to create a garment from recycled materials. And while the board members of Beyond the Front Row worked on the show’s production, the styling students worked behind the scenes to bring the outfits together. Jennifer Nathalie, a Fashion Styling student and Head of Social Media for BtFR, was the Lead Stylist for the show. She and her team worked long hours to put together outfits that complemented the garments made by designers, making constant changes due to changes in models and requests by Beyond the Front Row or the designers themselves.

The production of a fashion show was new to most members of the club. They learned how to create a floor and seating chart, how lighting and sound for a show works, and how to cast models and choreograph a walk for them. They faced some challenges along the way, such as finding models and creating the runway floor set. Brenton Loui stated “It was challenging coming up with the floor plan, we wanted to do something unique and it took a lot of planning of back and forth ideas, but it ended up working perfectly.”

Throughout the process, the team members learned that working together will have the best outcome. While there were times where nothing went as planned or mistakes were made, and deadlines not met, they still had each other through the semester to help each other with the club or even with homework and life outside of school. The team learned both professional and personal skills. And the stylists of the show feel the same, sharing that the experience made them close like sisters.

As for the show itself, all of the hard work paid off for the students. The models walked perfectly, the music was fantastic and made you feel excited with its loud, thumping beats. The lights weren’t too bright and the runway was refreshing with its X-shape, different than a standard runway. And of course, the clothes were impressive. The fashion school of the Academy of Art never disappoints, the students always provide us with excellent, creative designs.

Pictures from the show are on the clubs Instagram, @beyondthefrontrow, and the show itself is available to watch on Youtube at the following link: