SMC walks in style at LA Mode

The backstage room is warm and the atmosphere is hectic as the models are lining up across the room. Kaitlin Distefano stands first in line and in just a couple of minutes she is about to walk a fashion runway for the very first time.

Before them awaited an audience eager to see the cavalcade of dresses, birthed from the creative minds of Santa Monica College students trained by the school's fashion department.

“I don't know what I feel. I'm nervous but I know I'm going to do a really good job so I don't feel like I have to be nervous,” Distefano said.

On Thursday, May 29th, fashionistas gathered at The California Market Center in Downtown Los Angeles where Santa Monica College fashion students showcased their designs at the annual LA Mode Fashion Show.

Twenty three collections brimming with creativity were showcased on the runway. Each collection had its own distinguished theme and style, being inspired by a multitude of elements ranging from nature, to bondage, and even "Star Wars."

Throughout the evening, six judges carefully observed and graded the collections and jointly cast their vote for categories such as Best Collection, Best Show, and Most Creative. The garment that received the most significant reactions among both the audience and judges was a long colorful dress designed by Ji-seon Kim who won two awards.
“I'm really happy for [receiving the awards for] the best collection and creativity because that is necessary to have as a designer,” Kim said.
Kim's passion for design and drawing started when she was 5-years-old. Her grandfather gave her a notebook and pen so that she could practice drawing Korean letters. However, Kim was more interested in drawing and expressing her feelings through colors.

Along with her passion for designing and the knowledge and inspiration she got from her teachers and classmates, she managed to create her own collection and is now one step closer to her goal of having her own fashion line.

“We learn from each other and we inspire each other so I really enjoyed studying at SMC. I'm already thinking about my next collection,” Kim said.

Well-known fashion designer and second time judge at the LA Mode Fashion Show Ali Rahimi, was impressed with the fashionable creations of the students.

“I thought some of them were very creative, I enjoyed watching them,” Rahimi said.

The collection he enjoyed the most was designed by SMC student Koby Brown. According to Rahimi, Brown had the most detail in his designs and enrapturing flows in the fabrics.

SMC students Emmy Ekholm and Natasha Coralic attended the event to support their friends who participated in the show.

“I think the students were really good but the organizing was bad,” Coralic said.

Ekholk believed that the show's ending in particular could have used more organization.

They didn't really know what to say or do. The flow between the collections this year was good though, a big improvement when compared to last year's show,” Ekholm said.

According to Rahimi the LA Mode Fashion Show is a really good starting point for students who have a serious interest in pursuing a career in the world of fashion.

“I think it's fantastic. It's great to get the students to have a showcase for their creative talents and to be able to show off what they have done,” Rahimi said.

After premiering their designs before a full house, SMC's fashion majors are now prepared to compete in the even grander, complex arena of the fashion market.