By Alexis Watkins
On Saturday, Oct. 2, fashion designers sent their pieces down the runway at Tempe Fashion Week. There were many different styles of clothing at the event including ball gowns, bathing suits and streetwear.
One brand in particular that showcased streetwear designs was Laboratory. Laboratory was started by designer, creative director and co-seamster Dontae Campbell. Campbell is one of four creatives who makes designs come to life. His girlfriend, Adamari Banuelos, is the photographer, model scout and shoot director for the brand. Andy Sedano is a co-seamster and co-designer for the brand, and Hanh Bui does marketing and also designs the shirts.
The name of the brand comes from Campbell calling his design studio “the laboratory.”
Campbell has been designing for about eight years and has worked on previous projects too. Going into Tempe Fashion Week, Campbell said that he already knew what he wanted to do with the designs. “With my creative process I have to think of every little detail of what I am going to do before I execute it,” he said. Campbell thought of everything one by one — from the music to what the models walked out in.
While speaking with Campbell, I asked about how he created my favorite piece out of his designs at Tempe Fashion Week. My favorite design by Campbell is a jacket that is almost completely black except for the left sleeve, which is green. The jacket says “flammable” on its midsection and has detailing of flames on the bottom left sleeve. The material of the sleeves also differs from the rest of the jacket. The middle is a puffer jacket while the sleeves are that of a dress shirt. Campbell said that he sewed the jacket together and that his graphic designer was the one who painted the flames onto the jacket. Sedano then painted the outline of the flames onto the jacket.
Besides Laboratory, Campbell is also working on another brand called Dontae. Campbell’s long term goal is to make Dontae his high fashion brand. For the creative process Campbell described it as, “Everyday I am thinking of different designs and I am making those designs and storing them.” This brand will differ from Laboratory because it will be more of a time capsule brand.Campbell said he will “just go with the flow” for this brand because it will be curated over time. Dontae is what Campbell will eventually make his main brand and he would also like for it to be the brand that sells in stores globally.
Post Tempe Fashion Week, Campbell is working on a Tempe Fashion Week lookbook. Models from Tempe Fashion Week will be utilized and some designs showcased at the fashion show will be finalized. Campbell said that he isn’t personally satisfied with all of the looks that were on the runway, so he will be doing any last edits he feels are necessary. After the edits are made to the outfits, the models will have a one-on-one shoot so that the designs can be captured for the lookbook.
On Nov. 13, there will be a second Laboratory fashion show. The venue is still being decided on, but an outdoor venue is a possibility. Campbell said that the models and his team have been working on this project since June. Three different rehearsals and about five photoshoots have happened, and clothing has already been made to fit the models, Campbell said.
Keep an eye out for the look book that will be dropping soon as well as the future second fashion show! Follow them on Instagram for upcoming dates on their fashion show and their brand’s main account.