Kayla Nevarez / LATTC | Photo courtesy of LATTC

Kayla Nevarez / LATTC | Photo courtesy of LATTC


Fashion Students Look to L.A. Cityscapes and Fashion Veterans for Inspiration

Graduation season is in full swing. For design students at ASU FIDM, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Otis College of Art and Design, and Woodbury University this time of year is more than just a stepping stone toward their next career stages—it is an opportunity to showcase the designs they’ve conceptualized and executed over the last few years. These students have blended their own visions with the influence of Hollywood glamour, deep roots in apparel manufacturing and access to some of fashion’s most influential artists.

These schools recently hosted their student showcases to share the culmination of the emerging designers’ hard work and allow them to experience all the elements of fashion-show production.

LATTC’s semiannual Gold Thimble Fashion Show was hosted under the theme of “Tribute to Los Angeles Architecture.” Twenty-two graduating students from the Fashion Design program showed during the May 24 event under the guidance of Carlos Alcala and Russell Conte, instructors for the Gold Thimble Fashion Design courses, and Ana Duarte, instructor for the Gold Thimble Fashion Production course.

Under the theme, Jackson Cloyd was awarded first place; Leean Gonzalez, second; and Joaquin Estrada, third. In the athleisure category, Joseph Maldonado secured first place; Tania Sanchez, second; and Raul Vela, third. First place in the avant-garde category was awarded to Kaylah Nevarez; second to Joseph Maldonado; and third to William Hearn. Luke Talman was awarded first place in the gender-neutral category, with Victoria Ortiz securing second and Raul Vela placing third. Within the eveningwear category, Tania Yamilet Sanchez was awarded first place; Raul Vela, second; and Nathan Barrientos, third. Joseph Maldonado was awarded first place in the menswear category, with Kaylah Nevarez placing second and William Hearn third. In swimwear, Joaquin Estada and Victor Guevara shared first-place honors.

“The Gold Thimble Fashion Show is a fantastic opportunity for our students to display the skills they have honed over their two years in LATTC’s Fashion Design program,” said Joe Guerrieri, design and media-arts chair. “The theme was selected to celebrate the upcoming construction of a new Design and Media Arts building at Los Angeles Trade-Tech College. The students enthusiastically embraced the challenge, creating impressive pieces that reflect the city’s architectural heritage.”

Senior and junior fashion students at Otis College of Art and Design participated in the school’s O-Launch Weekend May 10 with a runway showcase that highlighted artistry across design concentrations. Students worked with mentors in fashion design, including veteran designers and major brands. The runway show was the culmination of their work, which included application of creative briefs, deadline management and styling for shows.

Under the mentorship of WearLACMA, the student design team included Erin Bond, Ethan Prins and Victoria Ciavarella. Seokwon (Lena) Lee, MaiTae Lion Preece and Helen Liu worked with Revolve. The Bleu/Rod Beattie resort and swimwear mentorship program included Sarah Park, Kiriana LanuzaRay Kim and Amber Gilliland. A contemporary menswear mentorship by Amiri featured WooYoung Choi, Tina Chen, Hyeonseo Park, Linjie Xu, Jineni Mei, Ying Tung Owen Yeung and Zhiyou Pan. The Marcus Clayton program included Nadine Cruz Cunha, Shiwen Qin, Alexis Boyd, Kexin Li and Ranze Zhang. Saipeng Ye, Hyeonseo Park, Ngai Wan Christina Fong, Roland Wu and Nadine Cruz Cunha worked under the J.Crew mentorship. The Blizzard Entertainment/Diablo mentorship featured work from Jessica Chen, Manfei Zhao, Cici An, Runchen Han, Aryanna Saadat, Priscilla Torres Sepulveda, Zhiyou Pan, Ran Tian, Jineni Mei, Mert Kantul, Yinuo Li, Ying Tung Owen Yeung, Shihang Lian, Yizhen Jia, Leah Li, Carly Jarocki, Kaiyu Shi and Alexis Boyd, who created sportswear designs based on the video games Overwatch and Diablo for display on a virtual runway. A Maggie Sottero mentorship focused on sustainability, allowing students to reimagine stock wedding gowns for a greener approach to bridal. This mentorship included student designers Evangelia Gamberdella, Manfei Zhao, Jessica Chen, Aryanna Saadat, Maria Hernandez and Megan Dangcil.

Woodbury University hosted its 59th annual Fashion Runway Benefit under the theme “Parallel Universes.” The May 9 event at the Alex Theater was momentous for the students but also honored veteran Los Angeles–based designers and co-founders of the Black Design Collective Kevan Hall and TJ Walker with the Fashion Leadership Award.

“TJ Walker and Kevan Hall represent extraordinary careers and community outreach, embody their organization’s mission, and promote the highest standards of ethics, education and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society and are still involved in the fashion world with their fashion brands,” said Anna Leiker, chair and associate professor at Woodbury.

Seniors Kassidy Hayslett, Nanor Petrossian, Isabella Ramirez and Angelica Torres were tasked with interpreting the “Parallel Universes” theme “to explore worlds conceived of as coexisting with and having certain similarities to the known world—but different from it in some fundamental way,” according to a statement from Leiker.

Torres found inspiration in the Victorian Era to design her “Enchanted Garden” collection, blending elegant elements from the time period with modern luxurious details. “Original Sin” by Ramirez explored women’s power and individuality through the lens of the designer’s Los Angeles roots, which were shaped through her Chicano heritage. Designing “Green Grass Grows All Around” led Hayslett to explore self-appreciation and recognition that the grass is always green despite life’s challenges. The collection “Something Borrowed, Something New” was informed by Petrossian’s reflection on her Persian and Armenian heritage and how these experiences inspire her artistic expression as a designer and dance choreographer.

Under the guidance of ASU FIDM educators Irina Tevzadze and Maria Behnen, 26 students from the school’s Fashion Design bachelor’s degree program presented more than 100 designs during a presentation at Arizona’s Scottsdale Fashion Square. The program required students to create a concept and design, do research, develop a pattern and produce their collections.

Students drew inspiration from sources including weather events such as monsoons, popular entertainment troupe Cirque du Soleil, circuit boards and computer chipsets. According to ASU FIDM, many students also drew from different facets of their heritage including hair braiding, gardening, Día de los Muertos and tea ceremonies. During the April 13 event, students presented different fashion categories including streetwear, daywear and eveningwear. Sustainability played a central role in many of the collections as students relied on upcycled materials, dead-stock fabrics and zero-waste patternmaking.

Students who showed during the event included Caroline McDonald, Eder Velazquez, Jessica Cordero, Brianna Calderon, Kelsi Kitagawa, Madison Nelson, Hei Yi Lam, Sydney Routin, LeeAnn Huang, Erin Brandes, Gifty Ulinwa, Julieta Lopez Ortega, Olivia Brown, Andrea Mendoza, Lizbeth Valdez, Aubreeana Adams, Kathleen Swenson, Michelle Mungarro, Jennifer Hernandez Murillo, Dejuan Russell, Emma Doskicz, Samantha Angulo, Christina Kabran, Taylor Johnson, Noé Dandurand and Alexander Diesner.