When the Kritiq fashion show returns to the runway later this month, it will be an event styled with creativity and an intimate feel, said Mark Launiu, noting a new partnership with Goodwill stores across Kansas and Missouri.
“For me, I grew up shopping at Goodwill, my family still shops at Goodwill, so it kind of hits home for me,” said Launiu, co-founder of MADE Urban Apparel. “This show is different from anything we’ve done previously — there’s more emotion in this show.”
Designers — whose specialties range from streetwear to high fashion — will participate in a special segment of the Nov. 18 event during which they will create pieces using materials from Goodwill. The nonprofit is expected to receive a portion of the proceeds from the Kritiq, as well as a Mix and Mingle event with the organizers and designers Saturday, Nov. 10 at the 10 Spot.
The fashion showcase itself — now in its fourth year — moves to the Grand Hall at Power & Light, with the upscale environment bringing an elegant touch, Launiu added. It is expected to feature such brands as Hannah Kristina Designs and OTC Custom Creations by Wissal Grass, as well as designers returning to the Kritiq from House of Rena, Kyrie Eleison Couture, Champ System clothing and shoe company, Heartshaped Clothing, and the MADE Urban Apparel.
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“I think [the Goodwill partnership] touches home with us, but it also ties in that a lot of kids in Kansas City shouldn’t be afraid to find a dope fit at Goodwill,” added Sky Jackson, this year’s host for the Kritiq, as well as brand developer and content creator at MADE. “You can come get a dope fit from any one of us, but you can also go to Goodwill, if you don’t have the money.”
As a child, all of Esmeralda Lole’s clothes were hand-me-downs or used clothing from stores like Goodwill, the founder of Kyrie Eleison said. The designer began her career by modifying those clothes to achieve different looks.
“When Mark told me about [the Kritiq-Goodwill crossover], I was really excited because that’s my background, that’s kind of all our backgrounds — we kind of grew up without the ability to go buy name brand clothing,” said Lole.
“I think [the concept is] dope,” she added. “I think people all over just think that they have to go spend a ton of money when it’s really not that way. You don’t really have to impress people with spending $1,000. You can spend $20, and still look just as good.”
Dedicating a whole month to self and creativity ahead of the Kritiq also meant cutting out the influence of social media, said Corey Reed, co-founder of Heartshaped Clothing, describing how he and his wife, Christle, narrowed down the designs for the show.
“That was a big thing for me — just tuning out,” he said. “Also just sticking with our guns and learning the lessons that hit us last year. I’m looking back to last year’s show and trying to fine tune some things.”
The 2017 Kritiq was the most organized show Lole had participated in, she said, praising Launiu and his team for their work amid a few last-minute complications with the event space and disappearing models.
“At first, we used to freak out [when something went wrong] and now it’s kind of like, ‘All right, what’s going to go wrong today?’” said Launiu. “You never know what you’re going to run into, so we started planning last year, during the summer. There’s always something, but we’re always prepared for it. I think this year, overall, is going to be a smoother show.”
The Kritiq’s organizers are planning to expand in 2019, Launiu said, noting efforts already under way to produce spring and fall shows in Kansas City, rather than just one annual event.