Cosmetology department combines graduation with fashion

The Santa Monica College cosmetology department presented its second graduation fashion show with a pin ceremony showcasing the creative work of their students on Saturday, Oct. 26. Every three months, cosmetology students graduate and are brought together for the graduation ceremony, said John Rogers, chair of the cosmetology department.

Rogers said that the show was held at SMC's Main Stage for the first time.

“The first time that we did it was right here in the salon," Rogers said. "We put lights around and had a drape. This time, after they realized we were serious, they let us use the theater.”

For the show, which was prepared for three months, students had the chance to choose their own theme and create their own costumes, hair and makeup.

While the students received their graduation certificates, some of the faculty members were awarded with certificates for high standards in education.

After the award ceremony, faculty member Donnie Williams vocally performed a song which was followed by the fashion show.

The themes ranged from the royals, punk rock, to dynasties of the Nile. The students not only prepared a visual presentation, but also accentuated the event with theatrical and dance elements.

Maarja Meriste-Kivi, a cosmetology student from Estonia, dressed all her models in black with hints of leather, piercings and mohawks.

This concept was inspired by her passion for punk rock and her personal experience as a band's vocalist, which also contributed to her decision to pursue a career in cosmetology.

“I was always really fascinated by hair and makeup, and I always did my mom’s and sister’s makeup and hair," she said. "I am actually a singer too, and I really understand that you need to look your best on and offstage.

"It was easy to come up with the style, because I am a performer myself, and I prefer the punk rock style," Meriste-Kivi said. "You can always have so many options with that, color your hair, do crazy stuff.”

Despite the department's month-long preparation, student Brittney Brandon, whose performance was inspired by Egyptian princesses, said she created her entire concept and its arrangement within a day. The time pressure forced her models to learn the dance choreography the morning of the show.

Rogers said that he hopes for a collaboration with SMC's fashion department to produce a fashion show for the spring where more people and students can participate.

This show is a beginning in trying to get students involved," said Rogers. "Both students and faculty are very excited. When the fashion department has their shows, we do their hair and makeup. At some point we would like for them to get involved."