The High Fashion High show at Seattle’s 2023 Bumbershoot was thoughtfully designed, curated, and inspired. Ellie Fein, the curator, gathered young people from around the greater Seattle area to share their love of fashion and teach like-minded peers about the design process. If you’re familiar with Project Runway, Fein played the role of Tim Gunn, helping to acquire material, talk through designs, and give feedback. Fein assisted her designers while reaching out to different studios and planning the logistics of the show itself.
Fein’s vision began with stained glass windows and puffer coats and gave a theme to each of the designs. The young designers, accompanied by Fein, went to a puffer coat manufacturer in SODO, Seattle, where they learned about the construction of puffer coats to further understand their inspiration. In our interview, Fein mentioned the puffer coat facility showed them past designs worn by Lady Gaga—and if Gaga doesn’t scream high fashion, I don’t know what does. Fein also organized for the designers to participate in a stained glass workshop to understand the physics and geometry of stained glass and how each piece must be thoughtfully shaped to fit the window. As there are limits piecing glass together, there are similar boundaries with how different fabrics can be joined. After learning more about their themes, the designers were ready to create and Fein ready to take on the role of the designer’s supporter.