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Each semester, The Fashion and Design Society at Syracuse University chooses an abstract theme for their biannual fashion show that strives to leave their audience asking themselves, “What did I just see?”

Last year, FADS dissected the idea of human impact on the ecosystem in the fall show, Biotic Wonders, and in the spring they focused on what the Earth would be like without humans in the Abiotic Wanderers show. This semester, FADS’ show revolves around one word: Facade.

Surya Vaidy, the president of FADS and a senior geography and photography dual major, wanted to continue the tradition of choosing a theme that would leave viewers feeling uncomfortable. To contrast last year’s shows, which largely focused on earth tones and metallic neutrals, Vaidy wanted to incorporate bright and colorful clothing that evoked a deep meaning.

“‘Facade’ is all about how society perceives each other,” he said. “The idea that everything can be great, but when you get to the heart of someone, everything is not okay.”



The FADS team pulled inspiration from the show “Black Mirror,” the nuclear family and sci-fi movies that portray a dystopian reality. The show will feel bizarre and perturbed, Vaidy said.

Instead of the clothing or a certain style driving the show, Vaidy, along with the FADS editorial board, wanted it to be tied to a theme with a deeper meaning that inspired questions and conversation.

“I wanted to choose a non-traditional approach to the fashion show,” Vaidy said. “Instead of choosing a stylistic theme, I want the clothing to revolve around our idea, instead of the other way around.”

The editorial board didn’t give designers specific materials and colors to work with, they wanted each person to interpret the theme without guidelines so the show has an element of surprise when it comes together.

(I) attempt to be the backbone of this organization so that everyone else can flourish

Surya Vaidy, FADS president

This year’s theme also carries poetic undertones, said Caitlin Smith, the head of photography and videography at FADS. She said the concept behind the designs speaks to a larger theme of online presences and how people superficially craft their images on the internet.

“It’s something that some of us can relate to in a certain way,” Smith said. “I feel like we kind of have this facade through social media, or have encountered it in a certain way.”

Bella Young, a junior design studies major and the fashion director this semester, is most excited about seeing the set and designs come together. She said the vision for “Facade” would be “immersive” and inspired by ideas not seen in a traditional fashion show.

“Right now, one person has this full anatomical outfit that is like representing the inside of a human,” Young said of one of the looks.

This year, the show will take place Saturday, Dec. 3 in Dineen Hall. This is the first time FADS has ever hosted a show in this location, and the team looks forward to seeing the space come to life, Young said.

Vaidy hopes the people at the show feel inspired to authentically express themselves.

“It’s a productive discomfort,” Vaidy said. “What makes the fashion industry interesting is people expressing themselves in contrast to everyone else.”

One of Vaidy’s goals for the semester was balancing the organizational and managerial role that comes with being president while taking a step back and trusting that everyone will do their job to the best of their ability.

“(I) attempt to be the backbone of this organization so that everyone else can flourish. (So) that our designers can design, that our stylists can style, our photographers and videographers can go out and produce these shoots,” Vaidy said.

Smith values the variation in leadership FADS has seen in the past years, including students from the fashion design program, engineering students and those studying in Newhouse or VPA. The diverse range of opinions produced the forward-thinking direction FADS has grown into, she said.

That change has not only been rewarding to her growth as a creative, but to the organization as a whole, Smith said.

“The biggest thing for me are the people that are in FADS, the diverse set of creatives that I encountered throughout my years,” Smith said. “I feel like no one is the same. Everyone pretty much has a different way of thinking and a different perspective.”

Instead of micromanaging and having an active role in every part of the process, Vaidy ultimately sees himself as support for the organization, so that everyone can do their very best work for the upcoming show, he said.

“I try to give people a space to be creative, be artists and be a part of the fashion community on campus,” Vaidy said. “Knowing that I am helping someone achieve something in the creative realm is what makes me proud.”

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