From cosplay to couture

The 13th-annual Full Fashion Panic show at MCAD closes Fashion Week Minnesota

Full Fashion Panic features the clothes of designers inspired by cosplay, Japanese street fashion and Asian popular culture. Photo by Sarah Hormanski

WHITTIER — Full Fashion Panic closes out this month’s Fashion Week Minnesota, a sign of just how far the Minneapolis College of Art and Design-hosted fashion show has come in 13 years.

“In the beginning, it was just some cosplayers walking across a stage,” said MCAD professor Frenchy Lunning, director of the annual Mechademia conference on Asian popular culture, which first included a fashion show in 2004.

Full Fashion Panic is no longer just a catwalk for cosplay, the practice of creating and wearing a costume modeled after a favorite fictional character from video games, comic books or cartoons, a now global subcultural trend that emerged from anime and manga fandom in Japan. These days, the looks coming down the runway are often inspired by Japanese street fashion and cosplay — and even many of the same pop-cultural touchstones that cosplayers pay homage to — but they’re the work of emerging fashion designers who aren’t just playing dress-up.

“This is couture,” Lunning said.

This year’s Full Fashion Panic will feature five capsule collections from Apatico (the fashion line of artist, designer and MCAD graduate Megan Bishop), Salem’s Scissors (run by an Argentinian who now lives in Minneapolis), Kathleen Moua, Maria Dang and Lucie Biros. The designers were asked to respond to the theme of this year’s conference, world-building, suggesting the individual looks will be embedded in a larger fantasy narrative.


Full Fashion Panic

When: 3 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Sept. 25

Where: Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave. S.

Info: 874-3700, Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door.