Project Innovate Studios’ annual fashion show evolves into a new gala celebration

Last spring, Project Innovate Studios artist collective hosted its inaugural fashion show. There were musical performances, poetry readings and film previews. And the fashion in the crowd was just as eye-catching as the outfits on the runway.

The event marked the organization’s debut. It was an introduction to its team, mission and artistic ethos, which swirls together painting, music, fashion, modeling, photography and design.

This year, the group will once again open itself to the public with a new spin on the spring event: the Project Innovate Studios Fashion Gala.

“We want to develop and showcase our growth,” says Project Innovate founder Zahir Muhammad. “(That’s) what the gala’s going to do by exhibiting everything that we’ve learned and advanced thus far.”

The event will be March 27, the same date as last year’s Fashion Experience, in the LSU Student Union Art Gallery. Original works in various media—paintings, photography, clothing, even some custom luggage—from Project Innovate’s committee members will be displayed throughout the space.

Project Innovate Studios’ inaugural fashion show debuted last spring, and a new version will return this month.

“That’s kind of the beauty of the committee,” Muhammad says. “Because there are so many different types of artists, there’s going to be a bunch of different types of art in the room for that evening.”

Pieces up for auction will be accompanied by cards on which attendees can anonymously place their bids.

Muhammad says the collective has designed the event somewhat along the example set by a similar—if vastly more expensive—event held this past October in New York’s SoHo neighborhood: the launch party for Pharrell Williams’ new auction platform Joopiter. The event showcased a museum-style array of art, music and fashion collectibles up for auction.

“Funny enough, we came up with that idea to do that sort of thing before we knew that he was doing it,” Muhammad says. “But by him doing it, it gave a perfect rubric and a perfect example.”


The departure from last year’s fashion show, Muhammad says, comes both in the interest of variety (innovation, you might say) and in an effort to avoid draining his and his team’s energies. Last year’s showcase of fashion, music and film required some serious hours of planning and logistical acrobatics, especially for a small team of mostly college students with limited resources and time. To recreate that every year would leave little space for the committee members’ other projects.

“It’s difficult to pull off something of that magnitude every year,” he says. So this year’s format is a little scaled down, but the object remains the same: an event that “showcases the art and brings everybody together.”

That, and an encouragement—verging on obligation—to show up in your flyest attire. (The 225 team even attended last year to photograph some street style.)

And while the physical artworks that populate the gallery space will be the centerpiece of the event, Muhammad says there is yet more in the works. He hints that some form or another of visual media screening will serve as the gala’s closing ceremony.

It could be a music video, a film preview, or something else entirely. The only way to find out will be to show up and see.

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Project Innovate Studios Fashion Gala will be held March 27 in the LSU Student Union Art Gallery. Come check out original paintings, photography and clothing. Follow @projectinnovatestudios on Instagram for information on tickets.



This article was originally published in the March 2023 issue of 225 magazine.