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And the winner is ... Andrew Morrison: the young designer wants to do the unthinkable: shake up the drab world of men's evening wear.

FACED WITH THE CHALLENGE of designing a full look for Outs first-ever Fashion Vanguard Awards, and without time for a proper fitting, Andrew Morrison knew exactly what to do: create an outfit for himself. "I always tell people," he says, "if I had an unlimited credit card and just went out to go shopping, I would most likely come back with very little, because there's not a lot out there for men to wear."

So what would Morrison wear? A splashy rethink of evening attire: an elongated maroon shawl-collar blazer the length of a duster coat, with an attached train. It wowed Outs panel of six judges at the Los Angeles event, where Morrison went on to beat out his two competitors for the award, sponsored by Lexus, Macy's, and La Crema wines.

At the show, held at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood, three finalists were given the task of designing a single red-carpet look. While runners-up Marcel Coleman Jr. and Kim Mesches came with models dressed to impress, it was Morrison's ensemble that stole the show.

After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2006 with a degree in production management, Morrison worked predominantly in womenswear. After cutting his teeth at brands such as Alice and Olivia and Zac Posen, the designer grew tired of playing by other people's rules. "Working for somebody else, you know what you need to do to fix it, but there's some pushback from the higher-ups--not everyone agrees," he says.

Deciding it was time to strike out on his own, Morrison launched his eponymous menswear brand last year. Despite his experience in women's apparel, Morrison chose to focus on menswear for two reasons: the women's market is oversaturated, and the men's is not saturated enough. Tired of seeing the same three-piece suit over and over again, he envisions a new style of evening wear, chock-full of experimental yet highly wearable creations, including stripped-down blazers, collarless topcoats, and wide-legged trousers with pleats for miles.

While Morrison was the victor, his two competitors did not fail to impress. Coleman presented a de- and then re-constructed patchwork suit in a vibrant pink, while Mesches--the only finalist to showcase a women's design--created a stellar dress with crisscross leather appliques.

"This competition has given me strength to push myself forward and remember to have fun." says Coleman. "I've learned to be limitless." The St. Louis-based designer is currently at work on a full-fledged menswear collection. "I love that I'm now a part of the history of something incredible, a platform that will honestly give so many designers similar to myself opportunity to soar and shine their lights."

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Author:Rotman, Asaf
Publication:The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2016
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