Creativity Walks Down the Runway at Woodbury University Student Show

A fresh look at fashion was seen on the runway when the students at Woodbury University displayed their design skills at the 52nd annual Envision Fashion Show at The Reef in downtown Los Angeles.

The May 1 event marked the end of the academic year, when fashion students take the wraps off their yearlong endeavors.

Anna Leiker, interim department chair of Woodbury’s fashion design department, noted this has been an extraordinary year for the university with the arrival five months ago of David Steele, the school’s new president.

This was Steele’s first end-of-the-year fashion show, and he looked pleased as he sat in the front row watching the scores of looks on the long, white runway.

The show started with sophomore students presenting swimwear collections inspired by genre-defying artist Ben Jones, which resulted in colorful swimwear prints displayed in one-piece and two-piece silhouettes and angular coverups.

The sophomore contemporary collection had designs based on the theme of “Chinese circus,” which had a definite Asian influence with a contemporary flair.

The junior class showed a collection with artisanal elements with denim sleeves on coats, long hand-knit dusters and batik looks.

For the show, the senior students were asked to reconceive the preconceived by rethinking how a collar or a pocket might appear differently on a garment or how to redraw a hemline or sleeve.

Eighteen fashion design students displayed their creativity in designs that drew inspiration from indigenous cultures such as the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico or the Hmong tribespeople of Southeast Asia as well as influences from other regions and philosophies.

Brittany Diego grabbed inspiration from her homeland of Belize with bright Garifuna-influenced prints and plaids. Carolina Segoviano looked to her Mexican roots from the state of Michoacán for color direction and the use of delicate white fabrics and ribbons.

Elida Berry-Donat tapped the Victorian era combined with the utilitarian styles of the 1940s working woman. Jian Ren Wang, a native of China, incorporated patchwork and mixing fabrics for his collection, which drew upon his Asian heritage and years of studying in England and the United States.

Jiong Chen injected an element of humor in her collection designed with the Chinese Tang Dynasty in mind and the makeup worn by the women of that era. Kalyn Terzian created a beautiful collection of elegant but strong pieces that could be worn on a night out on the town. She wanted her designs to exude strength. Michaela Wells brought a new look to the athleisure trend with mixed prints seen in cropped tops, jackets and pants. Michelle Werner took inspiration from the mountains of Topanga Canyon and the Venice beaches for a collection rocked by the ocean and surrounded by nature.

Nicole Madrigal incorporated bold graphics for her men’s and womenswear collection for the renegades of funk. Roxanne Westerdale reconfigured silhouettes from the hippie era, putting a twist on bohemian styles. Sona Guekguezian crafted her collection with hidden heroes in mind. She used carbon fiber and reflective materials to design marketable streetwear.

Wing Yin Kwok and Yujie Luan chose to create styles for the plus-size woman who doesn’t have as many fashion options as other women. Victoria Mendoza saw her wedding dress collection walk down the aisle, rethinking the way the gowns look.

Celia Duran’s menswear collection incorporated Italian style with the laid-back ease of California. Andrea Martinez explored various forms of ugliness and beauty with heavily quilted elements combined with sheer fabrics and appliqué.

Mai Shoua Lee drew from her Hmong culture to incorporate intricate fabrics from that Southeast Asian culture with silhouettes from the 1970s. Mariam Sabha’s collection was a cross section of the Tarahumara Indians, the Mennonites and Gothic bondage, with designs that had colorful accents.