A “Crowned” Jewel

Behind Mahiri Takai’s modern take on darkness vs. light

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         On the evening of October 7th in the UNT Union Ballroom, Merchandising Inc. and Dallas-based designer Mahiri Takai presented an exclusive new line in the M.E.Collection titled “Crowned.” Although the show began at 8:00 PM in front of a crowd of students and guests, the preparation behind the scenes for the show took place all day.

        The models first met in Willis Library, excitedly anticipating the arrival of Mahiri Takai. Many of them were buzzing to one another over what the garments might look like, or what hair and makeup they would be styled in. From the moment Takai arrived on UNT’s campus, it was obvious the show was going to be an exciting one. As soon as he introduced himself to the models, everyone jumped right in perfecting their runway walks to the “expressionless and zombie-like” look the designer wanted.

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The garments included in the collection, paired with striking silver hair and dramatic black netting for the styling gave a futuristic and godly feel, corresponding with the “Crowned” theme.Takai explained to models and producers before the show that the first half of the looks were inspired by dark times in his life. The second half of the garments he explained as a representation of his life changing after he found a “light” in his wife and in turn found success in fashion. The designer became quite emotional throughout the day as he watched his vision come to life, and moved everyone else in the room with his passion and story. As styling took place throughout the day, models, producers, and volunteers alike all questioned Takai avidly, in search of advice as to how to find your calling and be successful in the competitive fashion industry. As one make-up artist asked him how he knew fashion design was the career path for him, Takai simply responded: “I knew it was for me when I saw how fashion changes people’s lives for the better.”

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        After over five hours of hair, make-up, styling, and rehearsal, the show was finally ready to commence. There was a large turnout of both UNT students and outside guests, as well as four vendors selling hair extensions, handbags, shoes, and even paintings by the artist whose work took a large part in inspiring the collection. After the guests arrived, the show began and took place in two different sections, progressing along with the story from dark to light. The first dark half was separated from the upbeat white half with a dramatic pause, and the show was followed with some words from Mahiri Takai himself, discussing the inspiration and underlying meaning of “Crowned.” The clothes were amazing, the designer was an inspiration, and the whole fashion production was a success. Overall, the Merch Inc. presentation of the M.E. Collection was, as Takai would say, “stupid dope.”

Words by Reilly Farris

Photos by Lauren McMichael (@laurenmcmedia), Sanchez Murray (@pfntom), Michaela Bull (@michaela_lb), Jonce Humphrey (@jonc.e). Video by Jonce Humphrey (@jonc.e)

Edit by Taylar Gomez and Carolina Gonzalez

Art Direction by Rose Kuo

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