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Fashion Students Go From Dream to Seams

This article appeared in the May 15, 2018, issue of the student newsletter.

Fashion design students showed off their creations to an audience that included El Centro president Dr. José Adames at El Centro's annual fashion show — titled Dreams to Seams. 

"This year's show features student-designed garments inspired by an array of cultural influences and the experimental, experiential and aspirational dreams of the students themselves," says Michael Einsohn, who emceed the event. 

All of the garments in the show were entirely designed and constructed by freshmen and sophomores in the El Centro fashion design program. 

The show has come a long way since it began more than 25 years ago. 

"I'd say about 26, 27 years ago, the kids and I started going out to a lot of clubs and bars and we started doing them outside, which was awesome," says fashion design faculty Michael Anthony. "We were having some really awesome shows. But over the years, it has gotten so difficult to coordinate all of that and get the kids out there." 

Dreams to Seams Designers 

After watching "Med Couture" and the freshmen collection, the 11 sophomore designers took center stage to show off their hard work. 

"The fashion collection production class is the capstone of the fashion design and apparel design curriculum at El Centro, where students are challenged to take everything that they have learned and let their imagination run wild to create garments that reflect both their learned skills and inherent individual talents," says Einsohn. 

  • Alec Dang, "Fluid": Alec is from Vietnam and is studying two different degrees in fashion at El Centro, with the hopes of becoming an evening gown designer. Alec's collection is based on Vietnamese culture. His garments were entirely hand designed.
  • Sergio Nieto, "K": After leaving El Centro, Sergio wants to continue his education at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. His collection is based on K-pop fashion and culture.
  • Suzette Samm, "Liberosis": Suzette was born in Dallas but went to high school in Ghana. She came back to the States to pursue degrees in fashion design, pattern design and fashion marketing. Her collection's theme, "liberosis," is the desire to care less about things.
  • Alex Ruiz, "Amour et' Fumee": Alex was born in Mexico and uses a mixture of sartorial and fluid elements in her designs to depict a balance between masculine and feminine silhouettes. Her collection includes themes of destruction and rebirth.
  • Miranda Thorton, "Steam": Miranda's theme combines Victorian-age fashion and turn-of-the-century fashion with the steampunk genre. Among her goals is to create custom pieces for women.
  • Bunmi Osibodu, "Arewa": Bunmi was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. The fast-paced and colorful West African city inspired Bunmi's collection.
  • Diane Walker, "Sunshine and Shadows": After spending 27 years with a phone company, Diane retired and enrolled at El Centro to study fashion and sketching. After deciding to earn her degree in fashion, she's focusing on designing clothes for mature women who enjoy current trends.
  • Enhua Jiang, "Love at First Sight": Enhua was born and raised in China, where she studied business administration. She came to the States to earn her MBA, but instead decided to pursue fashion. Enhua's collection focuses on cocktail and party dresses.
  • Isabel Alvarez, "Spanish Garden": Isabel's designs embrace the shapes of modern women with an eye on sophisticated and chic looks. Isabel takes inspiration from nature and architecture.
  • Marco Pacheco, "Mal Amor": Marco was born in Mexico and came to the States when he was 12. His first collection was based on the book "Fifty Shades of Grey."
  • Kyle Hermesch, "KMH": Kyle is studying for the apparel design degree and the patterns degree. Kyle's collection is women's wear with masculine characteristics, primarily inspired by military attire.
View all the designs (myPortal — login required). 

Team Effort

It's not just the fashion design department that is responsible for the big undertaking that is the annual fashion show; the marketing department — led in part by Carmen Carter and Marilyn Sullivan — has a big hand in making sure the whole thing comes together.

"The fashion marketing department is the power behind this show in a lot of ways," Einsohn says. "Backstage, the students and the faculty commit themselves to pulling off this show in a way that's much less glamorous than having fantastic clothes walk down the runway." 

It's a long process for everyone that includes building the set, multiple model calls, fittings and dress rehearsals that often descend into "total chaos." 

And that's before you even think about the weeks of hard work the student designers put in to make sure they're ready to go by showtime. 

It starts with the students making three sketches for a fabric. One sketch is picked for each student to execute; then there's pattern sketching and tweaking the designs before finally starting to cut and sew real fabric for an industry-ready sample.

The Food and Hospitality Institute also chipped in by catering for guests an hour before the show began. 

Award Time

The show ended with awards for a few standout students. 

  • The Freshman Best of Show Garment went to Sandra Davalos
  • The Best of Show Garment went to Kyle Hermesch
  • The Best Collection for Menswear went to Marco Pacheco
  • The Best Collection for Womenswear went to Alec Dang

Marilyn Sullivan and Michael Anthony, who are both retiring this year, were also recognized to end the show.