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SLAM enters IIDA fashion show in haute "archtectural" couture

Look at any project we’ve completed, and you’ll see that employees at SLAM are a collaborative bunch – it’s literally in our name. But our knack for collaboration extends beyond the typical project-based team. For the second year in a row, employees from almost all our studios – architectural, interior design, structural, and landscape architecture – came together to create haute couture for the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) New England Fashion Show. 

Fashion, you might say! Why is an interior design association hosting a fashion show? Well, it’s not just any fashion show, but an unconventional one. Teams are required to partner with local vendors and use only building finishes – flooring, tile, light fixtures, etc. – the more unique, the better. Each creation must be less than 50% fabric, so each team’s creativity is truly tested.

Last year was SLAM’s inaugural year participating in this decades-long tradition. The scale of this fashion show is awe-inspiring – it’s not your local mall fashion show. The intention is to go all out and more importantly, to top what you did last year. Our team this year took that directive very seriously. We challenged ourselves to incorporate both light and motion into our final fashion looks – yes, looks “plural”.

Unlike in previous years, each team was given a sub-theme under the overarching theme of Portals. The portal that SLAM was given was Pandora, the world of Avatar. And what’s Avatar without glowing lights and constant motion? It took every trick up our metaphorical sleeves to bring our looks to fruition and a lot of credit for that goes to Mahreana Hopson, our tenacious structural engineer, Tristan Welch, our landscape architect and resident welder, and our local representatives from Lighting Affiliates, Scott Dubey and Heather Greenstein. Without their expertise, we would still – to this very day – have just pieces of a cut up light fixture and a pile of tangled yarn.

Countless hours of work went into these fashion looks – seriously, we did a lot of spray painting under the cover of darkness. Our brainstorming and construction were treated with the same respect and importance that we would give to any architectural project. Most importantly, we strove to work as a team, allowing everyone to give their input, evolving good ideas into great ideas, and making sure the final product is something we can be proud of. Despite the extra time invested during lunches and after-hours for this project all while still getting our real work done, it was incredibly rewarding and fun. As designers, we get to be creative every day, but working on something unconventional like this is a way for us to flex our creative muscles in a different – some might say harder – way.

The show was a success with thousands of people in attendance. Despite some setbacks the day of (which I’ll keep secret because, trust me, you don’t want to know), we sent some truly special looks down the runway. While our efforts didn’t render us an award this year, all our hard work was worth it to be a part of such a uniquely fun event. And now, our team can rest and recharge our creativity for next time

Rendering #1 by Emily Leyland. Rendering #2 by Sara Russomanno.

Thanks to everyone at SLAM who participated in this year’s IIDA New England Fashion Show: Ellen Altman (architecture), Monika Avery (interior design), Sachiko Boie (architecture), Lateffa Curry (admin), Scott Dubey (Lighting Affiliates), Megan Duva (landscape architecture), Ed Edelman (architecture), Cathie Ellithorpe (architecture), Kristen Furtak (architecture), Heather Greenstein (Lighting Affiliates), Amanda Hastings (interior design), Greg Hill (architecture), Mahreana Hopson (structural), Melissa Kalinowski (Steelcase), Karen Gillian (NRF Distributors), Emily Leyland (interior design), Meghan Mendes (interior design), Sara Paclat (architecture), Sara Russomanno (architecture), Ellie Swanson (architecture), Tristan Welch (landscape architecture)        

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