We have a decent car scene in the Pacific Northwest: Exotics @ RTC always has rare supercars worth gawking at, Triple-X Rootbeer Drive-in always has an assortment of gentrified car meets, and you can always look forward to the Greenwood Car Show delivering on the promise of classic and contemporary cars with breathtaking design.  

The eyes of any beholder can appreciate the design language of cars: the masculine lines of a muscle car or the feminine curves of a sports car or the future-forward design of hypercars meet in a confluence of design decisions which lead to an aesthetically pleasing output.  

That’s why the 2019 Couture and Cars Fashion Show is so intriguing. The intersection of automotive and fashion is interesting, and there could be some commonality between the two languages. The Couture and Cars Fashion Show would be the perfect place to find out.  

“I loved hosting an event that brought two communities together,” said Jamei June, host of the event. “As a fashion and car enthusiast with Beauty and Keys [ed. note: Beauty and Keys is a sponsor of Couture and Cars and June’s business], it was wonderful to see people supporting two industries that are often time separate.” 

Hosted at the LeMay America’s Car Museum in Tacoma, the annual Couture and Cars show brings together a unique backdrop on which to examine the breadth of design execution. Automotive wise, options ranged from tuner culture to exotic car collecting to a focus on BMW Motorsport and everything in between. The museum—a massive 16,000 sq.ft space on 3.5 acres—is laden with automotive artifacts from across the years. Wide-open walkways were lined with seats, lights, cameras, and everything else needed for the perfect fashion show—even a bartender.  

As the music began pumping from speakers, audience members prepared for the show to start. Models strutted down the runway, featuring the five designers of the night: Akrofi Adjumani, Dream Dresses by P.M.N., Gustavo Apiti Couture, The Bring Project by Reshma, and MiMi Wolfe.  

“We had an opportunity to take fashion design and put them right next to the engineering design of cars,” said David Bailey, CEO of Fashion District NW, the company that produced Couture and Cars. “The lines and sleekness of both design elements are a nice pairing.” 

Each designer had their own approach to the fashion displayed on the runway. For example, Adjumani’s expression seemed to have sharp lines juxtaposed against sheer fabric with accent colors against a muted palette; Reshma’s expression indexed towards pastels and fabrics that elongated the appearance of the models; Apiti Couture took the modern two-piece suit and infused color and patterns to make the outfits pop.  

The cars on display were more no more than a beautiful backdrop against the fashion on the runway. It’s obvious the designers showcased at Couture and Cars were masters at their craft, but from an event perspective, there could have been more integration between the two design worlds. What if there was a look that utilized the design language of the 1947 Cadillac Club Coupe on the runway? Or a fashion-forward design taking influence from tuner culture or the NSX near the entrance?  

Couture and Cars brings attendees perspective into the fashion world. A designer’s goal is to find the perfect balance of form and function, and just like a car meet, a fashion show is a perfect place to showcase a variety of designs. Movies and TV set the expectations of fashion shows: models walk down the runway, they turn around and do it again, and then again; all while trendy music is playing.  

What you don’t get from media is the nuance. You don’t see the designers come out at the end of their showcase to a round of applause, you don’t see the models celebrating in the hallway after a job well done, and you don’t see hundreds of spectators—including myself—who enjoyed watching design expression through this medium.  

“For the designers, it’s an opportunity to showcase their talent,” said Bailey about Couture and Cars. “For Fashion District NW, it’s an opportunity to find designers local in the area that deserved to be featured. It’s a unique show that has something for everyone.” 

If you’d like to learn more about the interesting amalgamation of models and motors, please visit Couture and Cars. If you’d like to embody that in your day-to-day life, check out Jamei June’s Beauty and Keys