Design With A Twist: 2017 Product Runway

Page is proud of its annual participation in an industry fundraiser for the Houston Furniture Bank, which is a “fashion” design competition with a twist. Garments are made by architects, interior designers and students from construction materials, hence the name Product Runway. Judges are selected by the sponsoring organization, the Texas – Oklahoma chapter of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA TX-OK), and the event is open to the public. This year, the Page team found themselves faced with a twist in the challenge assigned to them.

IIDA TX-OK designated the 2017 theme “Cover to Cover” and tasked each of the 24 teams from the greater Houston metropolitan area to draw inspiration from well-known books throughout time from Moby Dick to Harry Potter. Page was assigned to E. L. James’s book Fifty Shades of Grey, an unusual romance novel that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate and a young business magnate. The Page-designed garment drew heavy inspiration from the protagonist’s struggle between innocence and seduction that led her to find her inner self. Material texture and color were used to show the character’s journey.

Each Product Runway team works with two vendors, a hard goods and a soft goods, to create a thematic outfit and Page collaborated with Carnegie Fabrics and Daltile. The team selected Carnegie’s Polyurethane Upholstery Moto and Bounce for the character’s white cape to characterize the purity and plainness of the main character at the outset of the novel. The cape also featured Daltile’s Structure Steel Blocks that were placed as a trim detail to signify the traditional life that the protagonist was leading before her fateful meeting. 

On the catwalk, the cape was removed to reveal a “cage” that embodied the control and domination that the business magnate tried to exert on the relationship. The Page team created it from 3D printed connectors and wooden dowel rods, then painted black and covered with Carnegie’s Polyurethane Upholstery Bounce fabric. The fabric was cut to look like leather fringe to represent a significant theme in the novel.

Several courtship gifts detailed in the book were included in the design, such as a necklace made of Daltile’s Stone A’la Mod Basket Weave Honed Contempo White and Fanfare Jewel Tide Sunset Path. It was fully revealed when the Page model shed the cage, and the domination it represented, to reveal her inner self in a red dress made from two different colors of Carnegie’s Window Covering Soprano. The top is a basket weave pattern to show how intertwined the couple became during their relationship and the push and pull with the dark sides of their psyches. The skirt was high-waisted with a high slit that bellowed out behind the model as she walked. This dress represented how the protagonist felt as she began to understand her own femininity.

The mission of the Houston Furniture Bank is to furnish hope by making empty houses homes for needy families. While participating in industry initiatives like Product Runway is a great creative outlet, it also embodies Page’s vision of design that makes lives better.