Local Artwork and Flavor-Inspired Designs at Project Ethos at the Mint

Project Ethos brought its trio of fashion, music, and art to Scottsdale's Mint on Friday.

A speedy fashion show, which included looks from event sponsors Frederick's of Hollywood Swimwear and Cardiwrap, was the main event, while local artists Sarah Hurwitz (whose name was misspelled on the event's flyer), photographer Davin Lavikka (who wasn't listed on the flyer), and Tucson-based painter Melo Dominguez. Los Angeles-based pop singer Anjulie also performed.

After the sponsored fashion show, local designers Amelia Walsh, Bri Bridge, Latonya Adkins, and Monique Sandoval battled it out on the runway with colorful dresses; some wearable, some not so much.

The Project Runway-style challenge, in which designers had to adhere to a budget and were given their sources of inspiration, was fun to watch (and with only four looks, it was a quick endeavor). But we can't say Tim Gunn, the patron saint of making it work, would've been all-too-impressed. 

The rundown: Four local designers had $200 to design a garment. Event attendees text to vote for their favorite look, and the winner received $3,000 in prizes.

The catch: Each dress had to be "inspired" by a particular flavor of Vitamin Water Zero. including Rise, XXX, Glow, and Drive. 

The fashion: All four designers used the color of their inspirational beverage to brightly shade their garments. Latonya Adkins, of HourGlass Apparel, showed a kimono-inspired, long-sleeve dress in a textured orange fabric, with an up-to-here slit running up the front that had us worried we'd get an unwanted crotch flash. With a button-up front and pouf shoulders, it was the most strikingly different piece, but we didn't think it had a shot of winning over the crowd at The Mint.

Then came Bri Bridge's hand-dyed bright orange dress with braided straps, bright blue highlights, and a flowing skirt. This dress was the most literal of the bunch in that it included the name of Bridge's Vitamin Water flavor: Rise. A woven midriff section that made it look cheaper than it would've otherwise, and it wasn't our favorite by a long shot.

Monique Sandoval, of Ouma, showed our favorite look of the evening: a tiered gown with a white bodice piped with a black chevron pattern. From the skirt's lithe white top it faded, ombre-style, into a delicate pinkish coral. The dress might've been a bit short for the model, but the contrast of the sharp angles of the bodice with the almost feather-like skirt made it the most visually enticing.

The simplest of the bunch was from Amelia Walsh, whose sleek crimson a-line gown had the weightlessness of a wedding dress. Walsh's color choice was the most mesmerizing, but her classic shape and lack of embellishment probably didn't captivate the audience the same way some of the other pieces did. 

The winner: The people texted, and the people chose Bri Bridge's design as their favorite; not entirely surprising.

Regardless, we're interested to see future works from these designers -- all promising and creative in their own right.  

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Becky Bartkowski is an award-winning journalist and the arts and music editor at New Times, where she writes about art, fashion, and pop culture.
Contact: Becky Bartkowski