Full Panic Fashion Show features glitter, blood, and cosplay

Full Panic Fashion Show features glitter, blood, and cosplay
Photo by Ed Neaton

An abundance of top hats, face masks, and real-life anime characters packed the halls of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design this past Friday night -- and that was just the audience.

The colorful cast of hundreds was there to check out the eighth annual Schoolgirls and Mobilesuits: Full Panic Fashion Show, part of a weekend-long conference celebrating the world of manga and anime.

The event was unconventional right from the start, straying from the usual runway setting and instead moving the show into the concourse, the entire area decorated to resemble Japan's red-light district. This set the tone for the evening's eight featured designers to show off a variety of looks that incorporated more facepaint, fake blood, and glitter than any other fashion show you've ever seen (unless the Gay 90's has their own fashion show, in which case all bets are off). Samantha Crossland, director for the event, felt the production was the most successful to date, both in terms of turnout as well as the range of the designers.

Full Panic Fashion Show features glitter, blood, and cosplay
Photo by Ed Neaton

"I've been involved with the show every year, and it just keeps getting bigger," she says. "The cool thing is how the designers this year really went for it and put out a variety of looks; there was something for everyone. We had gothic, punk; cyberpunk was new for this year which was awesome. It's always our goal to keep incorporating new blood and touching on every aspect of Japanese fashion."

Some of that new blood included designer Debra Black, who was participating in her very first show. She created a number of darker looks as part of her Black Crow Collection.

"I'm really fascinated by up-cycled clothing, scavenging, and reusing materials," says Black. "I went with fashions that were dark and intelligent, just like crows. Crows are very intelligent animals."

Her looks incorporated elements of ballet as well, with some of the models sporting pointe shoes with a gothic twist.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was designer Lauren Payton, who was also making her runway debut. Her looks were bright, colorful and inspired by Japanese street fashion, with all of the models made up to look like living, breathing, walking dolls. While she didn't have an official title for her line, she had a few ideas brewing. "I'm thinking of calling it The Culture Club," she said as her models groaned behind her. "What? I like Boy George."

Both Payton and Black agreed that the evening was a great experience, and unique in that it was more art-driven than your usual fashion show. And with the designers continuing to stretch their creative limits each year, the Full Panic Fashion Show looks poised to continue its tradition as being one of the must-see highlights of MNFashion Week.

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