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The Savannah College of Art and Design premieres Escalate


The Savannah College of Art and Design proudly premieres Escalate, a SCAD-produced fashion film directed by Chris Anthony Hamilton that lauds historic changemakers and their legacies.

The high concept film showcases student and alumni works created for the SCAD Changemakers Alumni Design Challenge. Envisioned by SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace and juried by Academy Award-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter, the challenge invited exceptional alumni from the university’s top-ranked School of Fashion to design futuristic fashions evoking history-changing leaders, inspired by Carter’s iconic work for film.

Escalate features extraordinary garments by challenge finalists, giving flight to a dream-like odyssey in which vital social, cultural, and political figures of the past and present celebrate creative expression — with a vision to a more inclusive future. Garments pay tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malcolm X, David Bowie, Semiha Berksoy, Fela Kuti, Elaine Brown, and Stokely Carmichael, among others. The short film premiered Tuesday, Sept. 7 on @scaddotedu on Instagram, with a special introduction by President Wallace (@paulaswallace) and Carter (@therealruthecarter). Escalate will be on view at the salon at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta starting October 13.

“Where else but SCAD can you share your work with Academy Award-winning designer Ruth E. Carter and see your designs featured in an exclusive fashion film for the festival circuit?”, said SCAD President and Founder Paula Wallace.  “Alumni designers featured in Escalate testify to a powerful truth: SCAD loves and never ceases celebrating, elevating, and advancing the careers of SCAD graduates. We love our Bees, and our Bees love fashion!”

Filmed on-site at SCAD Atlanta, Escalate demonstrates the imagination, ingenuity, and exceptional talents of students and alumni from SCAD’s globally recognized degree programs in fashion, production design, jewelry, and performing arts. From cinematography and art direction to set design, visual effects, and hair and makeup artistry, production credits highlight student and alumni talent across SCAD’s Schools of Entertainment Arts and Digital Media, with many of the film’s performers placed through the SCAD Casting Office, the only professionally run university casting office in the U.S. Vibrating with choreography by celebrated dancer T. Lang and music composed by cellist-songwriter Okorie Johnson (OkCello), Escalate also centers SCAD’s role as a performing arts incubator for the Atlanta creative community.

“Any historical figure, known or unknown, famous or lost in time, is deserving of honest research,” said Carter, who is known for her own in-depth historical research underpinning her design process. “And in that study of humanity, a person reveals their true self. From the Changemakers design challenge to the film and beyond, I am so proud of these SCAD students and alumni. The work of the SCAD community never ceases to amaze me.”

“I feel honored and grateful to have my design, which was inspired by the formidable Justice Ginsburg, recognized by Ruth E. Carter,” said Viviane Carvahlo (B.F.A., fashion, 2016), who won the Changemakers Alumni Design Challenge with her garment interpreting the social and cultural impact of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “It is a dream come true to now see my creation come to life in this film.”

The Escalate premiere coincides with the final weeks of the exhibition Ruth E. Carter: Afrofuturism in Costume Design, on view through Sept. 12 at SCAD FASH Museum of Fashion + Film in Atlanta. Carter is a longtime champion of SCAD and its students. Building on the designer’s engagement with the university and her personal legacy, SCAD proudly announces the establishment of the Ruth E. Carter Endowed Scholarship to be awarded to a rising star student in the School of Fashion. This endowed scholarship, made possible by Carter, exemplifies her supreme generosity to SCAD students and cements her unwavering support and inspiration for the next generation of creative leaders and changemakers.


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