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DC has a Vibrant Underground Fashion Scene

We just had to literally go underground to find it.

By Lindsay Maizland | 5/9/17 3:42pm | Updated 5/9/17 3:44pm
Gaylord Paul Garcia / American Word Magazine

If you walk around Dupont Circle, Metro Center or the Capitol Hill on any business day, you’ll undoubtedly pass hundreds of people rushing to their offices in dreary and unimaginative black, grey or navy suits. This is the stereotypical face of Washingtonian fashion – conservative, conformist and, honestly, boring.

But D.C. does in fact have a vibrant, underground fashion scene, and in April, the city’s creatives, designers and fashion-lovers went literally underground for a unique fashion experience – the first of its kind ever held in nation’s capital.

The fashion showcase, called “Underneath it All,” was hosted in Dupont Underground, a dated streetcar tunnel 20-feet below Dupont Circle that has been transformed into a creative space. With graffiti painted by D.C.-based artists covering the walls, a runway was built along the old streetcar tracks and overhead lights were added to spotlight the models. It was the perfect atmosphere for an artistic event.

“I hope we can leave here and think about what it means to be creative in D.C.,” said Philippa Hughes, the chair of Dupont Underground’s board of directors, before the show started.

In partnership with the D.C. Commission on Fashion Arts & Events and the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the fashion showcase featured eight local designers. Check out our favorite looks below:

Designer: Fordham Rowe

Featuring lots of mesh, sheer fabric and sparkly thongs, this first collection surprised some of the older audience members who seemed a bit appalled when the models turned around to reveal a lot of skin. 












Designer: Jarmal Harris

This was probably our favorite collection because of its huge contrast with typical Washingtonian fashion. With bright colorful patterns, huge wooden bangles and earrings and colorful leather bags, the collection was both sophisticated and fun. 












Designer: Behind the Facade, Men's Street Wear

The crowd loved this collection – or maybe they just loved the shirtless models. The men modeling this street-style collection really showed off their personalities by rapping along to the songs playing in the background, slowly unzipping their jackets as they walked the runway and making eye contact with the audience.











Designer: Twelve 26

This collection really captured the essence of spring and the cherry blossom festival with lots of pink and soft floral patterns. All the models for the Twelve 26 collection could be considered curvier, and the crowd cheered and even gave a standing ovation for one model who appeared much older than typical models. 











Designer: Espion Atelier

These last two photos are from Epsion Atelier’s collection. The designer took risks with interesting cuts, vibrant fabrics and detailed embroidery to create a very diverse and simply beautiful collection. The entire fashion show ended perfectly with this collection: the last model had incredibly long hair which was covering the embroidery on the back of her jacket. Someone in the audience shouted, “What’s on your jacket?” The model then flipped her hair to the side, and it was a red, embroidered D.C. flag.