Mind, Heart, & Hands | EDGE Talks to the Founder of De Marcos Fashion Academy

“Mind, heart, & hands” is Jodi de Marcos’ deep rooted belief and guidance for what she does.
Jodi de Marcos, Founder, DMFA

Jodi is the founder of De Marcos Fashion Academy [DMFA].  Annually, DMFA presents Santa Barbara Fashion Week, a student fashion show.  Prior to this year’s show, I sat down to talk to Jodi about how the students benefit from the show.  The conversation became more passionate about the importance of the profession of fashion.  How many of you creative viewers struggle with the validity of your profession?

The arts, in general, and fashion design in this case, require a trait that is distinctly human.  The artist/the creator are unique in their capacity to convey a viewpoint and instill a fulfilling emotional connection.  As the labor market continues to be replaced by automation, technology, and software, basic human abilities and skill may become irrelevant in the workforce.  The future of the artist, however, is sustainable.  The power of vision from the mind, the passion from the heart, and the creation from the hand cannot be replaced or matched by a machine.

Many believe this field of study, fashion, has not gotten the recognition and respect it deserves.  The more “practical fields” have always been encouraged by parents for their children even if the child had a desire for an artistic path.  Jodi knows this first hand.  She says she came from a family of non-creatives and found difficulty in pursuing her creative talents.  Today she passes on her gifts to young professionals in the fashion industry by teaching them the “art” of the hand.  DMFA is committed to developing the talents of future designers, stylists, illustrators, photographers and graphic artists.

Fashion is a good profession like anything else when managed well. – Jodi de Marcos

I asked Jodi what do the students experience in putting on this show and she said, “their passion is so high, they see real possibilities, ‘I can really do this’”.

Many of DMFA alumni go on to contribute their creative talent to the fashion industry.  A few well-known alumni are Katharine Kidd, whose designs have been seen on the ‘new Hollywood’ crop of actors such as Rooney Mara and Rachel McAdams; Guinevere Van Seenus, an A-list model who has been featured on fashion magazine covers and advertising campaigns for some high-profile clients including Prada, Chanel, and Missoni; and Santa Barbara based Catherine Gee of CG Design whose designs were featured in the August 2016 British Vogue Style Brief, and she is the recent Emerging Designer winner of WWDMagic Crème De La Crème contest.

Other former students have gone on to pursue higher education from institutions such as Parsons School of Design in New York City and Central Saint Martins in London.de-marcos-fashion-academy-edgexpo-2

What Jodi hopes the audience experiences at Santa Barbara Fashion Week is that . . .“they see my efforts through the students, that fashion is here – it’s wholesome, it’s organic versus flamboyant.  Fashion is a good profession like anything else when managed well.”  She goes on to say that she hopes parents will recognize the creative abilities of their children and to support and encourage them for a career in fashion and the arts.

Jodi de Marcos with Catherine Gee, designer
Jodi with Catherine Gee designs

Mind, heart, & hands – ideas, empathy, and craft – may be the one true safety net available in finding work and or fulfillment in a future where other human abilities become rare.

Thank you, Jodi, for the ideas, the passion, and the art of the “hand”!


Rhonda P. Hill

Founder, Publishing Editor

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