15th Annual Paper Fashion Show

Look who made the cover for Volume #IX

Print edition available now!

Including never before seen photos only available in the 138 page print edition.


On April 12, 2019, The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace has opened its doors to the 15th annual Paper Fashion Show, a fundraiser production hosted by The One Club for Creativity Denver mentorship, education program and scholarship fund, where 48 design teams were competing with their paper creations for a chance to hold a winning title of this season’s best artistic paper fashion awards. Xposer Magazine was there to capture the runway action, go backstage and interview a few of the participants and gather details on inspiration behind some of the designs, as well as discuss the criteria standards with some of the judges.

This season’s Judges Panel consisted of a plethora of colorful characters within both fashion and art industries, including such as an award-winning hair stylist Charlie Price, co-founder and producer of Denver Fashion Week and owner of the Beauty Underground Magazine; a fashion industry warrior and social media marketing queen, Megan Timlin; a co-chair of Fashion Group International Denver, Gabriel “Cisco” Medina, who is also the owner of YOCISCO, a men’s functionable and fashionable bamboo underwear brand; Khiember Luangphithack, founder and head designer of Manus Supply, an eco-lifestyle, fashion and apparel collective based in Denver, Colorado; as well as other intriguing individuals. Nine judges total, including two technical judges – Merhia Wiese, a marketing associate for Meow Wolf Denver, an immersive experience organization; and Eileen O’Brien, board member of One Club of Denver and coordinator of major film festivals – all ready to evaluate each design based on “…creativity, execution, originality, and fabric like flow,” as stated by Mr. Price.
The venue inspired the theme of “Flight” and thus each creative team took their level of interpretation and reflected such in their paper designs.

Some design teams took the theme’s interpretation up to the skies, quiet literally, such as Arizona native, designer Katharine Leigh Simpson of team Unsung Wolves. Modeling her own design titled “Waking Sky”, she went with a lavish hand cut ombré gown, its colors symbolic of the sunrise, setting sun, clouds and stars appearing across the midnight sky, embodying the image of a celestial being gliding down the runway. Team Ove. Imprint of Overland High School Fashion Club and model/co-designer Jasmine Harrell, presented their design titled “In The Clouds” with a clever usage of an umbrella skeleton, turning it into a cluster of tornado clouds, complete with a belt of handcut raindrops and a half sleeve of thunderbolts, she looked like a storm brewing on the horizon. Team ArtHouse Design wowed the crowd with their creation of “Zephyrus, God of West Winds,” a whirlwind of golden skirts worn by model Amber Dextrous, stirred quiet the commotion on the runway and snagged DAVA’s Choice Award for the night. “Flying Buttress” by design team Lowder-Booren Art, was inspired by the beautiful cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, that made recent headlines with its unfortunate fire within the historic structure. The theme of Flight was carried through notion that the cathedral was built so high that only birds could reach its heights and paper mache gargoyles nested on each shoulder, added an extra touch of baroque to the overall design.

Another common interpretation of the Flight theme was represented by a number of teams through things that fly or have wings. For instance “Luck Lady” by team Hodmeister and Platypus, and modeled by the lovely Kate Bourdeaux, combined elements of World War II airplane and a dash of pinup, complete with a cute rocket purse and aviator sunglasses, every detail meticulously laser cut and over 100 hours poured into the garment. Team PrettyGood76 showcased “Coco” a design inspired by the memory of Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel, modeled by Blake Poole, who looked like a very stylish flight attendant in a pink crop quarter-sleeve jacket interwoven out of origami pieces, adorned by pearl necklace, a flight attendant hat, and paired with a long skirt made out of ombré paper feathers. Team GoJoDesigns continued with things that fly in their “Up, Up, and Away” design, inspired by flight in the hot air balloon and model Piper Richey looked like a true steampunk clad operator, waving a miniature paper hot air balloon down the runway. A few flying insects inspired designs made it onto the runway as well, such as “Insecta” by Leticia Dominguez, modeled by Madyson Williams who looked like an insect queen herself with a number of winger critters, attached to a gown resembling a green canopy of trees. And who can forget the “Queen of the Fairies” designed by team Unintentional Designs and modeled by Payton Deroin. She sported beautiful laser cut fairy wings, worthy of Titania’s title and the bright colors of hand cut flowers and leaf wines drew inspiration from the colorful Meow Wolf exhibit. Designers Leslie Kinson and KJ Murphy of team Space Depot took the Flight theme straight into outer space with their “Space Commander GJ1132B” design, modeled by Tyrell Ford, who looked out of this world, like a character out of Star Trek or some intergalactic warfare saga.

A very interesting interpretation of Flight theme was displayed through the notion of knowledge, that which gives you wings and sets you free or flying. That was the inspiration behind team SLYNN and their “Read and Take Flight” design, modeled by Devyn Masias. Bringing this design to life was a family effort where two sisters and their mother worked every free minute on creating a Wizard of Oz storyline inspired gown, complete with an arch made of hand made books and original illustrations on the sides of a gown. The model even had a miniature paper flying monkey on the back of the gown. Another book and knowledge related interpretation was seen in “Beyond the Page” designed by team Novella and modeled by Nora Tipton. This creation consisted of a skirt made out of books, an open book as a corset, a skirt train that reminded of stories of the deep sea and the creatures that dwell beneath, written pages adorned the front of the gown in an intricate fringe, a golden dragon embellished on the back and the model carried a staff that reminded of Triton, god of the Ocean or perhaps an Amazonian warrior.

As we get to review the final few and award winning designs, what seemed to have struck a chord of approval with the judge panel was the interpretation of Flight theme as an act of movement and fabric-like flow.

Such fabric-like flow can be seen in “Up in Flames” designed by team Veronica Dewey Design and modeled by Veronica Amancio. She flowed down the runway like a phoenix rising up in the flames, the intricately interwoven cape trailing behind resembled more of a fabric than something made out of paper, earning the team the One Club Spirit Award. “Arctic Extinction” co-designed and modeled by Erica Duda of team Thrashed drew inspiration from act of movement while carrying a strong message about the dangers of global warming. The overall design represented the flight of animals from their homes, attempting to escape the perils of global warming affecting their natural habitats. The dress with a long train consisted of over a thousand of blue and pink snowflakes, each meticulously hand cut with an exacto knife, amounting to over 150 hours of labor, represented the polar caps melting and animals running seeking shelter. The dress was thus adorned by a number of paper animal heads, representing their struggle during migration. The message was powerful and the design earned the Star Student Award.

Getting to the top 3 winning designs was no doubt a difficult task for the judges, since so much work, skill and dedication was presented by each design, but the finalists were selected and we are bringing you the details.

Third place winner, team Rosa & Rivera, and their stunning “Rise of the Bluegeosie” design modeled by the lovely Adrienne Harness, incorporated both the fabric-like flow as well as the act of movement. The Marie Antoinette inspired gown, complete with an intricate hand cut parasol and laser cut layered dress looked as though it had dragonfly wings and was about to float off the runway straight into the air, because it was so light, luckily it did not fly off but landed with a third place winner award, congratulations!

Team Blue Linen Creative, marveled the audience with their “Flower of Life” design. The idea behind the dress, as described by model Jennifer Garber, was that we are always in such a rush, flying through life, that sometimes we just need to stop and smell the flowers. The repeating flower design was laser cut and then each flower was hand sewn to the garment, eliminating the stiffness of paper and giving it a fabric-like quality. The gown comes with a reversible shoulder cape that looked absolutely stunning when the model unraveled it like a pair of angel wings. Congratulations to the team for earning a title of Second Place Winner.

The seamless movement can be seen in the work of First Place winning team Paper Couture, their “Sakura” design consisted of thousands of golden flower petals, each adorned with crystals, resembling a beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms tree. Model Cindy Wilson was gliding down the runway and the movement of each petal seemed so flawless that it blurred the line between whether the garment was made of paper or fabric. Congratulation to Kim Lim and Chau Wilson on your first place award and for your design making the cover of this issue’s Xposer Magazine.

With this season’s sold out attendance and such an array of stunning creations, we are all anxiously awaiting the next installment of the event that combines the beauty of art, creativity and fashion under the Paper Fashion Show.

Until then, signing off,
Yours Truly,
Masha Pichugina

📷 Teddy G / Xposer Photography