By Chere Di Boscio
Europe has Project Runway, but in America, Fashion Star is the biggest show where designers compete to become the ‘star’ of the catwalk. Now past its second season, the show whittles 13 hopefuls down to three finalists, and ultimately just one Star. All contestants are mentored by big celebs, including Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie, and buyers for the likes of Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue determine who moves up, or out.
Our favourite contestant from the last season was Daniel Silverstein, whose clever use of textiles resulted in a collection that mixed thick rope with delicate silks and transparent panels juxtaposed with bold designs.
This sustainable concept was something Daniel started learning about as a student at the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology, where he graduated summa cum laude in 2010. A year studying abroad at FIT in Milan served to highlight the importance of eco-friendliness further, and by the time he was back in his native Brooklyn, Daniel incorporated zero waste techniques into his own work. He realised that in doing so, he could create stylish clothing without wasting fabric, and more importantly, he could challenge the current industry norm that sees much reckless waste. In 2010, just after graduating, Silverstein co-launched his collection, 100% NY–so called because the company used 100% of its material.
Since appearing on season 2 of NBC’s Fashion Star, Silverstein has re-launched his brand under his own name, but he still strives to create collections that merge a strongly feminine design aesthetic with the zero waste design techniques he has developed–namely, a unique draping technique that keeps fabric waste close to zero.
His work is also defined by “spine” details and bold embellishments that contrast sheer panels. His dresses wrap around the body to use the full yardage of fabric put into each piece. Simple, clean shapes and strong details, such as black bindings and zippers, also characterise his style.
Now that his reputation is growing, Silverstein is branching out a bit from fashion design into fashion films: July 10th marks the launch of his first film, When Sunny Gets Blue.
The designer could barely hide his excitement about making the film: “I’m so lucky to live in a city filled with so many talented people. I’m extra fortunate that some of them happen to be my friends!” he told Eluxe. “With so much talent at my fingertips, making “When Sunny Gets Blue” seemed like such a natural thing to do. I wanted to create a film that brings a sense of haunting beauty to my designs. And, thanks to the soulful voice of the amazing actress/singer Katherine Wright and the expert camera and set design work of Mingjue Hu and Alexandra Kaucher, I think it does.”
Whether it’s on TV, the runway or in film, Daniel Silverstein’s work is something that will be on the cultural radar for awhile.
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