Fashionistas take over downtown L.A.

The Santa Monica College fashion department and its aspiring designers arrived at the California Market Center Thursday night to unravel their latest creations. The music was heard instantly as you stepped out of the elevator. As you followed the marble floor toward a large ballroom, you couldn’t help but notice the fashionably dressed mannequins and assortment of jewelry in locked glass display cases. The lighting was dim in the ballroom, and the catwalk was lit with large ceiling lights. People mingled and bobbed their heads to songs such as Pitbull’s “Back in Time” as they found their seats along the catwalk and prepared to watch the “L.A. Mode 2012” fashion show.

“It started with the idea in their mind,” said Fereshteh Mobasheri, director of SMC’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program. “They sketched it out, they started with the application, they made the pattern, they started constructing it, and then they had to start thinking of the fashion show.”

There were four design categories showcased, including Contemporary Sportswear, Resort Wear, Evening Wear, and Office Wear. Seven judges from the fashion industry selected 17 winners prior to the show, and there were cash prizes for all four themes. First place received $200, second place $100, and third place $50. A cash prize for “Best in Show” went to Inken Brough and Samantha Safir, who received $300 each.

Different silhouettes came strutting down the runway, showing off the swimwear designs. Each piece expressed a unique look,particularly a white bathing suit with a one-tier ruffle that wrapped around the waist paired with a hand-dyed yellow halter top, designed by Steven Martinez.

“I designed everything myself, and I hand-dyed the bathing suit in yellow for a different look,” Martinez said.

Inken Brough, whose designs inspired an architectural, romantic, and sophisticated look, tied for first place in the Swimwear category with Natalja Sinyankovic.

Janet Garcia, who won first place in Contemporary Sportswear, said that she worked diligently and persistently all year to ensure that her gowns were “unique, adventurous and made for a fashionista.” She added that it was not easy to accomplish such a task and have it ready in time for the fashion show, especially because she knew nothing about designing outfits prior to signing up for SMC’s fashion program. She accredits her newfound knowledge to her Mobasheri, her adviser.

Martinez, a third-year fashion student, was the only designer to showcase a white wedding dress. Though his dress was an attention grabber, he was not awarded a prize this year. He said that he will not give up, and that he will continue to design “inventive, sexy and unique” pieces.

“I aspire to, one day, be a well-known designer—as well-known, as Chanel and Christian Dior,” said Martinez.

Since Mobasheri had high expectations for the designers, hard work and long hours went into every garment. Many times she was put into situations where she had to tell a designer that their designs were less than perfect, and that they had to start all over.

“The fashion students worked on their designs throughout the entire year,” said Mobasheri. “They have worked so hard, and all I did was try to push them. You have no idea how many times I made them rip it out and redo it, and they did it with dignity. I anticipate this show will go on for as long as I can do it, and if I can’t, I hope that there will be someone else to continue it. I can see that students love to blossom, and that is the only way I can see it happening.”