SMC students impress at L.A. Mode Fashion Show

The Santa Monica College fashion students featured a stunning collection of tasteful garments at the 27th annual LA Mode fashion show on May 19.  Guests began pouring into the California Market Center auditorium shortly before the start of the show at 7 p.m. Past the antique double-wooden doors, popular electronic music resonated throughout the spacious room greeting attendees to a bright 40-foot runway in the center of the room. The vast CMC space was sectioned off into three seating areas boarding the main stage, which resembled the setting of a professional fashion show. For $25 per ticket, patrons were able to watch students from SMC model over 150 tailor-made pieces in an authentic fashion show setting. All of the proceeds from LA Mode were donated to the Red Cross relief efforts for Japan's earthquake and tsunami relief funds.

The LA Mode show represents the work of SMC's Fashion Design and Merchandising Department students. Throughout the semester these aspiring designers spend countless hours creating unique one-of-a-kind garments under the instruction of SMC's fashion instructors. The Director of the Fashion Department, Fereshteh Mobasheri, delivered the opening remarks at the event.

The runway kicked off with modern casual wear designs from student Eria Fujiwara who created several uniquely structured pieces displayed throughout the event, which earned her first place in the "Resort" and "Contemporary Sportswear" categories.  Elaborate tropical inspired kimonos and couture chiffon beach dresses sailed down the runway during the "Resort wear" portion, which composed of swimwear and sultry summer dresses.

For a more business appropriate look came the "Office Wear" designs strutting down the runway that by no means lacked panache. A brown dress with a light gold lapel and belt crafted by student Vania Williams proved to be a favorite among guests as hushed "oohs" and "ahhs" were expelled by an excited crowd.

The runway finale closed with "Evening Wear" gowns that radiated a newfound look of elegance. Fashion student Inken Budde, who won several category awards that night for "Resort" and "Office" wear including twice for "Contemporary Sportswear," designed an Indigo asymmetrical dress with a layered skirt that earned her first place in formal wear.

"I liked all of the clothes but my favorites were definitely the evening gowns," said Monique Villafana, 23, an SMC student. "Everyone is so talented, I can see how much work they put into the entire show."

Each of the categories in LA Mode will award first place winners a $200 cash prize, second place will receive $100, and third place winners are awarded $50. Both Budde and Fujiwara tied first place for the overall "Best in Show" and both students will receive the $300 cash prize. Other second and third place design winners from the show are Sylvene Tsai Yi-Chen (3rd resort, sportswear), Julie McMurry (3rd, office), Viviam DeSouza (2nd evening wear), Carolin Oetinger and Lan Nguyen (Tied 3rd evening wear).

Sponsoring the event were several clothing and fabric store companies including Dk Design Fabrics and Friar Tux Shop. Generous donations from Joseph Vecchiarelli, Back to Total Health Wellness Center, and IDS International Design all contributed to LA Mode.

The judges of LA Mode are prominent members of the Los Angeles garment industry. Barbara Lesser, a Downtown LA-based designer of women's apparel, and Michael Kuluva, founder and Creative Director of Tumbler and Tipsy, were among the select few at the judges table.

SMC students who missed the LA Mode fashion show can view some of the prize-winning garments on window display in the Business building on the main campus.