Birmingham Fashion Week 2015 kicks off with 'Project Runway'

The fifth year of Birmingham Fashion Week kicked off Thursday night with a few new faces at Pepper Place.

"Project Runway" alum Gunnar Deatherage hit the runway first with a streamlined collection reminiscent of steampunk that featured earth tones, plaids, and leather details such as piping.

Deatherage is one of seven designers featured this year from the TV design competition.

Rising Design Star finalists followed, showing off garments made from non-traditional objects such as keyboard keys and highlighting themes such as Alabama's role in the Industrial Revolution, the Birmingham skyline and state agriculture.

Over 100 local middle and high school students applied for Rising Design Stars contest. Each contestant's garments were displayed at the Birmingham Museum of Art and judged by both the museum curator and the public.

The young designers were also tasked with making an additional garment made with Buffalo Rock products.

Birmingham Fashion Week's Emerging Design Stars, a contest featuring mini-collections from 16 college students and post-grad designers, followed.

Collections featuring everything from glamorous bronze designs to gothic gowns in deep, rich colors hit the runway. Each finalist is competing for prizes such as an $1000 scholarship, a spot in next year's show and a professional photo shoot.

Retail designers Monkee's of Mountain Brook and the Pepper Place Pop Up shop followed on the runway.

North Carolina women's brand Marie Oliver showed off breezy pieces in fun, summer colors.

Headlining designer and "Project Runway" winner Michelle Lesniak closed out the show with her fanciful Spring/Summer 2016 collection called "Falling Upward," featuring hot air balloon print garments as well as unique color combinations such as peach paired with mustard.