And Sew it Begins: SMC Students Prepare for LA Mode 2019
“One day you’re in and the next day you’re out,” a phrase coined by super model Heidi Klum, has been quoted by members of the fashion industry since the saying’s inception during her tenure on the hit reality show Project Runway. These words speak to the demanding and often cut throat aspects of an ever-evolving industry, one that if you’re unable to keep up with you’ll be forgotten. Although sounding somewhat bleak, there are those that take this as a challenge and grab the proverbial bull by the horns. Students at Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Fashion Design & Merchandising program are just these people. Each year, SMC’s Fashion Design department hosts LA Mode, a runway presentation showcasing the work done by students. Although the official show date isn’t until June 13, students are well underway preparing for the main event.
As with most things there are two sides. In the case of LA Mode, student involvement is shown in the way of show production and fashion design. Students Angela Dillman and Ayano Muramatsu are assisting with production aspects of the show. Dillman, a design and merchandising major, loves visual arts and expresses her passion through taking candid photographs of the designers and the progress they make with their designs. “These photos will be posted and shown on a video that plays during the show,” said Dillman. Making sure designers meet their design deadlines is also part of Dillman’s responsibilities who acts as a bridge between the students and La Tanya Louis, a fashion professor at Santa Monica College who has produced LA Mode since 2015, as well as Jan Ardell, a professor of 15 years and the LA Mode collections director. “Right now for this month your deadlines are the designs, so making sure you have one look complete, the second look complete by next month and then the third and final look,” said Dillman.
Muramatsu, an international student who moved to Los Angeles two years ago from Japan, works on marketing the show through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. “I think social media is huge right now. A lot of people can see it and it’s a very good for advertising. It’s very useful for us to promote [LA Mode],” said Maramatsu. She continues, “The production team has a lot of different pieces. I like social media, it’s fun and easy for me. Others like photography, but it’s great because we help each other to make one big show.”
On the flip side, fashion design students B. Palomarez and Durryl Washington are well underway in executing their visions to tangible reality. Palomarez, a Moreno Valley native, landed on her life-long love for fashion design after trying both culinary and music theory school. “Fashion is something I’ve always been fascinated with. I’ve been sewing since I was 5 years old. I just didn’t focus on it as my career until a few years ago”, said Palomarez. Being from the desert and having a love for plants, animals and insects, Palomarez draws inspiration from nature, incorporating these elements into her collection. “It’s like taking something that somebody wouldn’t really see beauty in and turning it into something beautiful,” said Palomarez.
Originally at SMC for photography, Washington found his place in fashion design after the photography classes he needed were no longer available. To fill the credit hours, Washington took a fashion design sewing class. “This was pretty much a silver lining moment,” said Washington. He continued, “I completely fell in love with [fashion design] and now I’m making garments for everyone.” Washington’s process for his design esthetic is to draw inspiration from everywhere. “If you keep your mind in a box you’re only going to stay in that box,” said Washington. Having grown up seeing his mother and grandmother getting ready for work every morning, Washington’s collection is described as “luxury but luxury on a budget. Something you can wear every day. Something you can throw on, feel really glamourous in and still be comfortable.” With aspirations to own his own label one day and at the same time knowing the pressures of the industry, Washington adds, “If you want to do it, do it. Don’t let anybody tell you can’t do it.”
Updated 4/18/2019 to fix a misquote by Angela Dillman.