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Boston Fashion Week returns

A dress from Boston designer Candice Wu.

Van Khai Truong

A dress from Boston designer Candice Wu.

Last year’s Boston Fashion Week marked a dramatic shift in the way that the city’s trend watchers take in style. For the first time in its nearly 20-year history, local designers had a proper tent to display their creations. Boston Fashion Week 2012 begins Thursday with the return of the tent, and much of the action around the city takes place this weekend.

Despite some minor glitches last year, such a heatwave that turned the stylish event into a fashion sauna, the tent, situated behind the Mandarin Oriental Boston, energized designers and gave them a New York-inspired space to highlight their creations.

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This year the tent returns with a twist. There will be some familiar names in the line-up, such as Sam Mendoza. But instead of a parade of well-known Boston designers, a jury of tastemakers — including style doyenne Marilyn Riseman and Fashion School of Design recruiter Jane Conway Caspe, sifted through applications and chose several up-and-comers. They received 80 applications from designers around the country to show in Boston. From that 80, 10 were chosen to show at the tent. (Nine of the designers are local; one lives in California but has local roots.)

“We were looking for a diversity of styles on the runway,” said Boston Fashion Week founder Jay Calderin. “We weren’t looking for 10 gown designers and 10 wedding dress designers.”

Here’s a look at some of the new (and returning) faces of Boston Fashion Week, along with a look at some of the action taking place elsewhere in the city. The week kicks off Thursday with a gala in the tent.

Tickets to fashion shows at the tent are $30 each and are available at thetent.eventbrite.com.

Victoria Dominguez-Bagu.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Victoria Dominguez-Bagu.

Victoria Dominguez-Bagu

Line: mariavictoria

Age: 30

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Location: Grafton

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. I’ve been designing probably since I was three years old, making outfits for my dolls. But I’ve been professionally designing since 2009 when I graduated from the School of Fashion Design.

Q. What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. Nautical images, but without taking the classic images literally. You won’t see the traditional red, white, and blue shades usually related to nautical designs. Instead, it’s colors inspired by sunsets at sea.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes you design, how would you answer?

A. My designs are made with the woman-on-the-go in mind. They are comfortable and easy to wear.

Q. Most difficult item you’ve ever had to design?

A. Probably a cocktail dress I made while still in school. It had a crystal beaded choker detail that was attached only to the back of the dress and it was difficult to engineer.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 29 at
8 p.m.

Candice Wu.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Candice Wu.

Candice Wu

Line: Candice Wu Couture

Age: 25

Location: South End, Boston

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. I’ve been designing since I was young, but professionally for more than a year.

Q. What is the inspiration for the collection you’ll be showing this week?

A. It’s life, earth, war, and triumph.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes that you design, how would you answer?

A. My style of design is edgy and practical. For the most part, it’s for everyone that likes to look good going out at night and in a professional environment.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 30 at
8 p.m.

Avni Trivedi.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Avni Trivedi.

Avni Trivedi

Line: Avni Fashion

Age: 31

Location: Somerville

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. Two and a half years.

Q, What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. This year I stumbled on a book about Hussein Chalayan, who happens to be one of my favorite designers. Reading about his collections and how he came up with themes and concepts was a great inspiration. I was particularly taken by his ability to bring spirituality and philosophy into his collections. This collection is my interpretation of purity, power, and spirituality.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes you design, how would you answer?

A. Elegant and easy to wear from day to night. My clothing is for women who like to look classy and chic everyday.

Q. Where do you see your line going over the next five years?

A. My goal is to grow the line in the US and launch into the European market. I am also planning a babywear line that will launch in our showroom in Beacon Hill.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 29 at
4 p.m.

Grace Kim

Line: g.KIM

Age 33

Location: Santa Cruz, CA.

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. I’ve been designing for five years, but in business for the past two years.

Q. What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. Parasols, Vaudeville, and dancers.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes you design, how would you answer?

A. They are modern classics. Easy to wear and very comfortable, but they look great on just about anyone.

Q. What’s the most difficult item you’ve ever designed?

A. I really like designing outerwear, but I had to be creative when it came to designing some of my capes this season. It’s not easy to create something unique that covers the body without making it look like a straight jacket or a superhero cape.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 29 at
2 p.m.

Luke Aaron.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Luke Aaron.

Luke Aaron

Line: Luke Aaron

Age: 28

Location: Cambridge

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. Ten years.

Q. What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. Mid-Century Japonisme.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes you design, what would you say?

A. I’m prone to long-winded design explanations, but as a general rule, I strive for clothes that are meticulous, timeless, and tasteful.

Q. What’s the most difficult item you’ve ever had to design?

A. A director once asked me to design a look for a character in a play that was supposed to feel like “biblical-meets-1970s-meets-hip downtown New Yorker.” I’m not sure how successful I was.

Q. Where do you see your line going over the next five years?

A. I would like to see the ready-to-wear line reaching a wider audience in more stores while continuing to broaden my selection for bridal and eveningwear clients. I’d also like to expand my range of handbags and leather goods.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 29 at
6 p.m.

Firas Yousif.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Firas Yousif.

Firas Yousif

Line: Firas Yousif Originals

Age: 43

Location: Back Bay

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. I just opened my showroom on Newbury Street earlier this year, but I’ve been designing any chance I could get since I was in college.

Q. What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. I got tired of seeing the same bridal and eveningwear designs over and over again.

Q. If a friend were to ask you about the style of clothes you design, how would you answer?

A. I’d say classic timeless beauty with a modern edge and lots of details. I love unexpected details that haven’t been done before.

Q. Most difficult item you’ve ever had to design.

A. A design based on chocolate dessert. I had no idea where to even begin, but a lot of folks at that event said that evening gown turned out absolutely delicious.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 28 at
8 p.m.

Sam Mendoza.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Sam Mendoza.

Sam Mendoza

Line: Sam Mendoza

Age: 26

Location: South End

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. Since 2007-ish.

Q. What inspired the collection that you’re showing in the tent?

A. The fact that I don’t wear suits.

Q. If a friend asked you about the style of clothes you design, how would you answer?

A. Simple clothes with a big statement. It’s like putting on a good T-shirt.

Q. Most difficult item you’ve ever designed?

A. A gown out of fabric someone chose without me. Never a good idea. I don’t do that anymore.

Q. Where do you see your line going over the next five years?

A. With this collection, I think people will finally get to see where I plan to go.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 28 at
6 p.m.

Mark Cordell.

Christopher Muther/Globe Staff

Mark Cordell.

Mark Cordell

Line: Tru Fiction

Age 22

Location: Brookline

Q. How long have you been designing?

A. About two years.

Q. If a friend asked you to describe the style of clothes that you design, how would you answer?

A. They’re very edgy. They’re very comfortable, fashion-forward and bold. each collection that I make has a different feel, but all around it always goes back to that dark avant garde aesthetic.

Q. Where do you see your line in about five years?

A. Hopefully I’ll be at retail by then, probably selling at a couple of stores, private vendors, and I see it growing it more into an affordable luxury collection.

Showing in the Tent on Sept. 30 at
4 p.m.

In addition to individual designer shows, the Tent will also play host to The Launch, a showcase for budding designers on Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. This year’s Launch includes designs by Tatiana Cueva, Danielle Fernandes, Achk Kombana, Rei Hyun Lee, and Jennifer Miller. Each designer selected is a recent graduate from a local fashion design program.

There will be a show highlighting “Emerging Trends.”

SCHUYLER ORTEGA

There will be a show highlighting “Emerging Trends.”

Here’s a brief sampling of other fashion shows and events taking place during Boston Fashion Week (for a complete list of events, go to www.BostonFashion Week.com).

Oct. 1 - Oct. 3: Copley Catwalk fashion shows

Each night at 6:15 p.m. (doors open at 6), students from colleges such as Mount Ida, School of Fashion Design, and Massachusetts College of Art + Design will hold runway shows, sharing the runway nightly with a Copley Place store. The shows run until 8 p.m. and are free. 2 Copley Place, 617- 262-6600 or
www.simon.com.

Sept. 29: Emerging Trends Runway Show by Synergy Events

A show featuring designers from the US, Canada, Poland, and the UK. Emerging Trends acts as a showcase for new faces of the fashion industry to the Boston market. This year’s designers include Yeashin Kim, Bitru Fariel, and Jennifer Rothwell. Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont St., $25, boston.theemerging trends.com, 617-752-1945.

A model competition called “Bond Model Quest 2012” is among the many Fashion Week events.

Jan Bloch

A model competition called “Bond Model Quest 2012” is among the many Fashion Week events.

Sept. 27: Bond Model Quest 2012

Think of it as Boston’s next top model. Nine models from Maggie, Inc., Dynasty, and the Model Club, Inccompete in front of a panel of judges to become the next face of Bond Restaurant. There is no cover charge, and the show starts at 7 p.m. The Langham, 250 Franklin St., 617-956-8765 or www.bondboston.com.

Sept. 28: Fashion Week Kickoff Party

Woodward at the Ames hotel kicks off Boston Fashion Week with a fashion show featuring models from Maggie Inc., and a final showing of the art project “Before I Die.” The party is free and runs from 9 p.m. until midnight. 1 Court St., 617-979-8200.

Sept. 27 and 28, Oct. 1 - 5: Fashion trucks at City Hall Plaza

The city hosts fashion trucks at City Hall Plaza including the Fashion Truck, Lola’s Urban Vintage, ARTichoke, The Brkfst Clb, Sneakerbox, and the Boston Sports Apparel Company. The trucks are on the plaza from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 1 City Hall Square.

September 27 - Oct. 6: Complimentary Boston Fashion Week fitness classes at Equinox

Members-only clases are being opened up to fashion mavens who want to get in shape for Fashion Week. The free classes, which include yoga, pilates, dance, and cycling are available at Equinox’s Dartmouth and Franklin Street locations. Registration is necessary for this classes. For more information and register, contact Victor Meservey (Victor.Meservey@equinox.com)at the Dartmouth St. club and Jennifer Birkett (Jennifer.Birkett@equinox.com) at the Franklin Street location.

Oct. 3, Undressed: Fashion Burlesque

After focusing on clothes all week, the Beehive is showing how to take them off. New York City burlesque performers Calamity Chang, also known as “The Asian Sexsation,” will be joined by the tango and flamenco inspired dancer Medianoche and pin-up queen Bettina May. The show starts at 8 p.m. and there is no cover charge. To make reservations for dinner and the show, 617-423-0069, 541 Tremont St., www.beehiveboston.com.

Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther

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