While this year’s one of a kind Baton Rouge Fashion Week offered some fabulous designs from various designers, menswear wasn’t a major focus for almost any of the designers. In fact, it barely found its way into the show at all.

Women’s fashion was eloquently represented, as always, throughout the two significant nights of Baton Rouge Fashion Week: Friday night’s “BARE” show and “BIG Night” on Saturday evening.

However, men’s clothing pieces were dispersed at large  throughout the show, a subtle reminder that men’s high fashion still exists. Every time a male model sashayed down the runway, it was as though it offered a short intermission before the next spectacular woman’s ensemble made an appearance.

In the entire show, only one menswear piece was consistent with the high-fashion genre that makes a fashion week so appealing.

Cupani Fashion, a crochet- based designer located in Little Rock, Arkansas, presented an off-white, almost champagne-colored crochet top that nearly resembled a v-neck sweater with a high collar. It was paired with similarly colored dress pants and white leather dress shoes. The top was riddled with beautifully intricate crochet design and large gold fabric panels covering the left side of the chest midsection.

Cupani’s outfit was original, distinctive and exemplified the growth the Baton Rouge fashion scene desperately needs. Unfortunately, it was really the only one at “BIG Night.”

It’s important to note that Brandon Campbell, founder of BRFW, presented his line iME, a brand of T-shirts and sweatshirts with culturally alluding slogans that Campbell created.

While the line offers an interesting streetwear aesthetic, the pieces weren’t consistent with a high-fashion mentality. In a prior interview with The Daily Reveille, Campbell said he does not want to discredit other artists in the show by fully considering himself a designer in the truest sense.

For this reason, it’s unfortunate there were so few examples of menswear in the show despite a promising show opener. “BIG Night” began with a short, introductory line based around the use of body paint by Christopher Youngstar. A few male models did walk at this time, but their outfits weren’t ones that could be added to a wardrobe because they were made up of about 80 percent body paint.

Though it’s nice to see experimentation with menswear, it would be even nicer to see a variety of pieces the male audience could have chosen to make part of their closet collection. For about every 15 to 20 women’s outfits, one piece of menswear made an appearance. Of the four designers from the LSU Textiles, Apparel Design and Merchandising department, the one male designer did not provide any menswear pieces.

The ratio of men’s to women’s outfits is entirely too one-sided, and there needs to be more Baton Rouge designers who recognize the importance of men’s fashion in our community.

Baton Rouge is lucky to have a growing fashion scene and, now, a substantial event to celebrate it each year. But the scene and its designers need to branch out slightly into an important realm of fashion that represents half of the city’s population.

Women’s clothing is important, but so is men’s.

Michael Tarver is a 20-year-old mass communication junior from Houma, Louisiana.  You can reach him on Twitter @michael_T16.

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