The Paper Fashion Show is Coming to the Denver Fashion Week Runway

Denver’s fashion scene has always been diverse; from bridal shows and launch parties to runway shows of varying themes and experiences. Our fashion shows are constantly evolving and our Denver designers are ones to watch. Combine the two, and you get a fashion experience unlike any other.

The Paper Fashion Show is no different. Inspiration for the show struck when founder and president, Jimmy Diffee, went to a body art show where artists live-painted models who later walked the runway. Diffee wanted to replicate that feeling of art in a raw and vulnerable way while showcasing the talent in the Denver design community. 

In 2005,  The ONE Club for Creativity – Denver created the Paper Fashion Show (formerly known as the Art Director’s Club). From there, the show grew into what it is today — a place where artists and designers explore their talent in challenging and raw ways. The Paper Fashion Show has been a staple in the Denver fashion scene and is unlike any show produced. For one, there is a judging system. All designs must be made of paper that has been given to the design teams. There are also specific themes for each show and there is a prize for the winner.Even more exciting and new to this season’s show is the partnership with Denver Fashion Week.

303 Magazine talked with the show’s producer and event leader, Anne Redureau. Redureau, who is also President of The ONE Club, has been with the Paper Fashion Show since 2016 and each year she continues to bring a new and unique theme to the show. Redureau talks history of the show, the theme this year, the behind the scenes of working with paper and what they’re bringing to their show at Denver Fashion Week.

Anne Redureau

303 Magazine: What have you noticed contributes to the success of the Paper Fashion Show?

Anne Redureau: It started as a way to unite the community around a good cause. This is this 14th annual Paper Fashion Show and since its inception, the proceeds of that show go towards DAVA (Downtown Aurora Visual Arts). It’s really what’s driven the Paper Fashion Show. Everyone’s helping because they want to be a part of it. But I think, honestly what drives me, and what drives my volunteers, and the people that I see even come support is really the fact that it makes a difference with the youth. And it’s really amazing to see that. It’s overwhelming.

303: You mentioned that this is the largest Paper Fashion Show in the nation? Are there any others like it?

AR: There are other shows across the country; some shows may be more geared for example on packaging or accessories. We try to keep our eyes open but as far as the US, it’s the largest.

303: What’s the theme for this year’s show?

AR: We have new fashion designers coming into the scene so this year I want to give some direction. The direction is ONE Country. ONE Era since we are the ONE Club. I want to do something different. Maybe break the runway down by continent. If several designers choose various countries, it will kind of change the format. The designers are really excited about that. For anyone in the creative field, the biggest reward is winning the gold pencil and that’s presented by the One Club. It’s essentially the academy award for the design community. I think that the theme of “One Country” might completely change things. The more restrictions someone puts on you as an artist, the more creativity comes out of it.

303: There’s also some additional prizes added to the show this year. What are some of those?

AR: My vision was to fly the winning team to New York City for them to be exposed to social headquarters. I think it’s always exciting to go in a creative field [such as] New York City for inspiration. So we’ll fly two people on the winning design team to NYC in May 2018, to show their winning work during The One Club For Creativity’s annual Creative Week. 

303: What are the different papers used for the show?

AR: The paper varies, it can go from cardstock to translucent to fragile paper — basically tissue paper. Yupo is a type of paper that almost looks like leather, crocodile skin. It depends on what the designers are looking for. Yupo is well known for its fabric look but some designers will also texture the paper to their liking.

303: What are some of the challenges with working with paper?

AR: The problem with paper is that it’s so versatile and fragile and with the concept of contour, it’s not just a sheet of paper on someone. It’s difficult to manipulate paper to make it look like fabric and it’s amazing to see what designers can do. The design has to be 90 percent paper to be eligible to compete with the teams. In 2017, we had a wedding gown by Mohawk Paper created by Berry Brown that people questioned whether it was paper or fabric because it was so well done. Last year, I didn’t pose any guidelines, but this year since we’re partnering with 303 and Denver Fashion Week I want to get back to the basics of contour.

303: What’s the process of creating designs with paper as the material?

AR: As far as the vision of what you’re seeing, it’s the conceptualization of thinking “what kind of paper would I need?” We have veteran [designers] and they know right away how they’re going to go about it. They know “This is what I want. This is what I need. This is how to assemble it.” I would say this would be the most challenging part as far as coming back to the event, as a new designer: the wearability of it. One of the great parts of it the paper that it was really spectacular. But another part is it can look a little like a costume and not wearable at all. 

303: What does the judging system entail as far as rules and regulations?

AR: The paper is provided by Spicers Paper and various paper mills around Colorado donated to the designers to use. Binding techniques such as sewing, glue, tape, and wire are allowed as long as your fashion continues to abide by the 90 percent paper rule. Paper can be written on, printed on, painted on, dyed, manipulated, etc. We’re bringing the technical judges backstage so they pretty much can inspect each design. They’ll make sure that it fits the criteria of the 90 percent paper rule. With that process, it makes it easier for judges who will have access to backstage, briefly, but who don’t necessarily have time to go into detail.

303: Why did Paper Fashion Show choose to partner with Denver Fashion Week?

AR: We wanted to reach out to the local community. By partnering with 303 Magazine we want to elevate the designers of Denver, Colorado. As far as the international theme, it’s exciting because international is exciting. Denver is changing so much with transplants; some people will be drawn to the theme because of the international element.

303: Is there an additional theme to the DFW show?

 AR: This year I’m bringing water and that’s inspiring the graphic so far. I have been collecting water inspired items and I wanted to make it feel like when you come to the show there’s the element in what you can see and I don’t want to reveal too much yet. But I have some pretty amazing people working on my team to work with me to make this water feeling happen. It’s going to be challenging because water is not an easy element to deal with, it’s far-fetched. But it also unifies the international theme. Water unifies continents, human beings are made of mostly water, and you need water to produce paper.

303: What are some long-term goals that you have for the Paper Fashion Show?

AR: Really to bring more people to participate. We don’t want people to think that this is only for graphic designers. By partnering with 303, I wanted to bring more fashion designers because they weren’t really involved.  And the feedback that I’ve received from designers is that they’re intimidated by the paper. But for me, the goal is to bring the community together, as a person that’s what I like to do. For this event I want quality. I want people who are driven. The quality of volunteers and [the people] on your team reflects it and has an impact on everything. I think that it has become what it has been now because there were some people whose mission and whose goal was really to make every year one the best one yet.

The Paper Fashion Show will showcase its designs on the DFW runway on Friday, March 23 at the Seawell Ballroom at the DCPATickets for Paper Fashion Show and additional nights of Denver Fashion Week can be purchased here.

Denver Fashion Week is March 18 through 25 at Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.