5 trends you’ll see at this year’s CCAD Fashion Show

The future of fashion takes center stage on Friday, May 14, 2021 during the 2021 CCAD Fashion Show presented by L Brands Foundation. The annual event raises funds for student scholarships across all of Columbus College of Art & Design’s majors and offers attendees a glimpse at the creative collections of emerging designers.

This year,
18 designers will debut more than 60 looks that were chosen for the runway by a jury of fashion insiders. We talked with Professor Suzanne Cotton, Chair of CCAD’s Fashion Design program, about the biggest trends you’ll see this year, whether you’re tuning in from home with our virtual experience or in person at the Easton Community Drive-In. (And if you haven’t yet secured your tickets to this year’s show, you can do just that here by Monday, May 10.)

statement sleeves fashion show lookbook image

1. Statement sleeves 

From Grace Warren’s prairie-inspired looks to Levi Li’s feminine and nostalgic collection to Brooke Robertson’s light and airy resort wear, Cotton says one of the most noticeable trends this year is designers’ use of billowy sleeves. 


2. Casual collections

Given how many people have turned to joggers and leggings as of late, it may come as no surprise that this year’s looks lean less formal and more comfortable than years past. “Many of this year’s designers took a more casual approach to their collections,” says Cotton. Some examples are JoVaughn Salaam’s and Dom Susi’s streetwear collections as well as Alexandra Braughton’s and Marvin Hutchins’s everyday attire.

casual collections fashion show lookbook image


fashion show lookbook photo


3. Looks inspired by current events 

Weaving throughout most of the collections is the thread of the past year and the impact it had on the designers. “From the COVID-19 pandemic to the fight for social justice and racial equity to the political upheaval of the election, the designers were greatly impacted by the world around them,” says Cotton. Angela Jernigan found inspiration for her collection from the Black Lives Matter protests of the summer. Some designers, like Rina Andreatta and Ryder Teach, have an element of fantasy to their collections as they dream of the future. 


4. Homages to strong women 

Women from the past and present influenced many of this year’s designers, Cotton notes. For Marvin Hutchins, inspiration came from the historical elements of female exploration during the Victorian era in contrast to daily life observed during the pandemic. Jo Baudendistel’s collection was influenced by her learning about Marie Antoinette and the queen’s disdain for court life. Other designers, like Levi Li and Brooke Robertson, found a close-to-home connection, with family members inspiring their collections. 

strong women fashion show lookbook image


fashion show lookbook image

5. Sustainably minded collections 

Several of this year’s designers kept their impact on the environment at the forefront, Cotton says. Rai Sarkar’s work blends American and Indian fashion. She repurposed denim she already had and collected sarees from family and friends. Jo Baudendistel’s collection uses 85% thrifted materials. Jesamie Houghtby created looks that are completely biodegradable.


See these trends and more at the 2021 CCAD Fashion Show presented by L Brands Foundation. Secure your ticket by Monday, May 10 and support student scholarships to CCAD. Learn more about the Fashion Design and Master of Fine Arts programs at CCAD or apply here.

Photos, from top:

Takia Bryant wearing a look from Grace Warren’s collection, “Liberation: Homage to the Heroine.”

Saul Salaam wearing a look from JoVaughn Salaam’s collection, “Vintage Wheatstrow.”

Jon Johnson wearing a look from Angela Jernigan’s collection, “Alive.”

Gracia Millenia wearing a look from Marvin Hutchins’ collection, “Physical Activism: Exploration in the Context of Women's Liberation.”

Takia Bryant wearing a look from Rai Sarkar’s collection, “Eshterak.”