Albright College Spring 2022

Luisana Batista

For those who go to college/university fashion shows at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), runway shows in the vein of Parsons MFA program or graduates of the prestigious Academy of the Arts are the norm. And though those two universities did not show at NYFW this season, Albright College was a pleasant surprise, taking up the slack for those esteemed fashion university programs.

For those not familiar with Albright College, the college is located in Reading, Pennsylvania and has a long tradition of placing its fashion graduates in industry jobs in New York City and Philadelphia. In this first foray into the NYFW scene, the college presented collections from seven recent graduates and two current students.

Elizabeth Polley

There was a wide range of collections ranging from “Rose,” a modern, graphic luxe swimwear collection by Josh Polk, to an equally at home by the sea contemporary collection by Jess D’Alessio entitled “Tulú Resort Wear” inspired by the beaches of the Mexican Resort town of Tulum, and even a resort collection that would prove more at home on the streets than on the beach, “Whispering Wings,” by recent graduate Luisana Batista.

Several collections were more conceptual than not like “Versailles XVI” by Stephanie Vargas Hemmings who channeled the extravagance of French maximalist design & mixed it with her Puerto Rican cultural eye, as well as the architecture inspired collection by designer Mandy Boandl who cited modern “birds nest architecture” and the Eiffel Tower as her design touch points.  Kaleb Murdock explored the minimal side of conceptual with his collection, entitled “Dissolved Girl” which sat at the crossroads of music, break-ups, and rust, of all things.  Rounding out the conceptual section of the show was a recent graduate Ashley Hillegass, who named the growth of the Agricus Bisporus mushroom as her inspiration.

Jess D’Alessio

Though the collections paled in comparison to what is crafted from Academy of the Arts graduates—otherwise known as the St. Martins of the Westcoast—Albright College students valiantly demonstrated they are not second-class citizens when it comes to conception, construction, and a fashion-forward perspective. And all of the collections contained a real fashion sensibility, and something that is so important in this industry, especially for young designers, an individual style and a tangible joie de vivre.

Caleb Murdock. Images courtesy of VERY New York

Standouts in Albright College’s NYFW debut was Kaleb Murdock sexy collection that really showed off a woman’s curves and Luisana Batiste resort collection that was oh so accessible and almost ready to go in department stores. Lots of consumers will love these two designer’s garments.

—William S. Gooch

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