Any style die-hard knows that fashion = art. And when you find those pieces that feel a *little* more special than the rest, you just know it—it’s like spidey senses getting all tingly for fashun.
It doesn’t mean something is “fancy” or costs a lot, either. Most often, it’s that it captures someone’s creative energy, and that sensation starts with the vision and spirit of those behind the seams—designers.
Their incredible ability to translate intricate ideas and emotions through clothes is basically a superpower. SHEIN knows that, which is why that’s exactly what you see in its SHEIN X Incubator Program. It was launched to support emerging designers who are building their own successful brands, to help them focus on the creative while SHEIN handles the business side of production, marketing, and selling. Fab, right?
The SHEIN X Art Meets Fashion competition is the latest incarnation, fueling individual innovation and collaboration between artists and designers. The three-round contest kicked off by pairing artists and designers to illustrate their understanding of the campaign theme—artists produced artwork, designers produced silhouettes. Then in round two, 10 teams were selected to be featured in an online vote. The final round concluded with judges selecting the top three teams.
The winning team of SHEIN X ETERNA by Elle Guthrie and Mercedes Cortés took home $15,000—and gratitude for the opportunity. “I was accepted into the SHEIN X Incubator Program very early, and initially I thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase my designs on a large platform,” Guthrie said. “To my surprise, the most amazing part was the learning experience. I gained so much knowledge working with the SHEIN X team, including how to design for a broad market, how to interpret my designs in a cost-effective way, and how to best communicate my designs to the sampling team. I improved my technical design skills and knowledge of bulk manufacturing, allowing me to apply those new skills to my own business.”
Artist Cortés agreed: “I am very grateful to the SHEIN X Incubator Program, because it has given us the opportunity to establish a collaboration that has increased our chances of success. I think it is a great support for all independent creators, because it facilitates the growth of talent and is a great help for entrepreneurs and innovators to survive.” Her gorgeous prints, seen in the winning look to the left, are inspired by the world around her: “Botany, plants, fauna, flowers, books, walks, and little details. I love nature and texture, rhythm, and colors—[they] bring smiles and joy with my designs.”
A second-place prize of $10,000 went to SHEIN X XTENT by Armand Mehidri and Debra Valencia. SHEIN X THE SKY IS THE LIMIT by Sarah Kesler-Engelbrecht and Rafaela Mascaro took home $5,000 for coming in third.
And let’s be real—we’re all kind of winners, too, since we can shop pieces from all the collections.
Ahead, read more from the winners on their unique experience and how it has shaped their future in fashion.
What was your favorite part of the entire experience/competition?
Elle Guthrie, SHEIN X ETERNA: The collaboration—I took so much inspiration from my partner’s textile designs. Her art brought a lot of excitement to the fashion design process.
Mercedes Cortés, SHEIN X ETERNA: When we were creating the collection, working as a team.
Armand Mehidri, SHEIN X XTENT: Being able to come up with an amazing collection by collaborating with another very talented artist, while living in different countries with an 11-hour time difference, was truly a unique experience.
Debra Valencia, SHEIN X XTENT: The collaboration experience. As a surface pattern artist, I typically design hundreds of prints of my choice, then show them to various companies to see who is interested. For Art Meets Fashion, I was able to brainstorm ideas, looks, and colors with Armand. We then integrated [his] vision for theme and color with mine. The final product was a strong solution that was not only aesthetically pleasing but also appropriate for the garment shapes and variety of fabrics.
Sarah Kesler-Engelbrecht, SHEIN X THE SKY IS THE LIMIT: It was so rewarding to see the final product come to life on the day of our launch. When starting to design for this collection, I had a vision from the inspiration process as to how the garments were going to look on the human body. To see that come full circle was such an exhilarating feeling that really cannot be put into words. It’s comparable to the childlike feeling we had on Christmas morning—the anticipation, curiosity, and excitement of what Santa has delivered to us!
What does the future of fashion look like to you?
Guthrie: I look at the future of fashion through a lens of nostalgia, taking the art of the past as inspiration and applying it to our modern world. But what I love the most about the evolution of fashion in the past few years is the total lack of boundaries. The rules that used to define what is “fashionable” are crumbling, and unique self-expression through individual style is being celebrated.
Cortés: I think the future of fashion will be similar to the way we have worked in this competition—different disciplines working together from all over the world.
Mehidri: It’s likely a combination of technology, sustainability, and inclusivity. Everyone will have access to clothes to match their personal style and budget and be able to express themselves freely.
Valencia: I believe that fashion trends [will] continue to be more playful, colorful, and unique. With more variety versus uniformity, the selection allows each individual to layer and mix pieces to display their own personality. The fast-fashion offerings by SHEIN allow for so much exciting self-expression.
Kesler-Engelbrecht: [It] will continue to evolve from trends past into modern-day looks. The e-commerce market will continue to thrive, but consumers are eager to have that in-person shopping experience post-pandemic. Therefore, physical retail shops will still be in demand. Although the AI aspect will play a huge role in the digital fashion realm, tangible clothing will never go obsolete, and people across the globe will continue to look for actual items that express their everyday styles.
Source : Cosmopolitan