31 fashion designers showcased their collection at The Art of Transformation Defined by You fashion show presented by the Art Institute of California [Ai]. For the first time, four southern Ai California campuses [of Argosy University] joined forces to produce one phenomenal show featuring final collections from graduating and recently graduated students. Claudine Papillon, CA Institutional Program Chair-Design, said that combining resources from all four locations allowed them to produce a first-rate event with professional models and in a creative venue such as the Cooper Design Space located in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles’ fashion district. A little backstory on the Cooper Building – it was L.A.’s premier address for fashion industry showrooms before there was a California Mart or a New Mart. Today, the building hosts a space that embraces cross-pollination among L.A. lifestyle businesses in fashion, media arts and publishing.
It takes a village to produce a demanding event such as a fashion show. Leveraging the army of talent from the four locations paid off in runway design, lighting, sound, marketing, graphic design, and music. I have to say, I’ve haven’t seen a more organized pre-show behind-the-scenes with calm and order as this one.
31 designers, from the campuses of Hollywood, Orange County, Inland-Empire, and San Diego, participated in this annual celebration. Most of these designers showed for the first time. How did they feel? Nervous, excited, scared!? Yes, all the above. What’s interesting is that they got to see what their peers from the other schools were doing – the scale and level of design output compared to their own. This experience opened up a window into the real world of the competitive fashion market and how they will need to develop a niche [or maybe step up their game].
What’s next for these designers? Some job offers have come to those graduating seniors as assistant designers, assisting on special projects with established brands, or designer interns. It’s not easy landing a job or pursuing an independent designer career. Some alumni have expressed needing more time to determine their career path, while others want to continue their education in a more specialized area such as textile development or an advanced degree. Alex Jaeger, awarded costume designer, says “the higher education gave him confidence and actual hands-on production experience”.
Click here to learn more about the student designers who participated in the fashion show from each campus. Congratulations to all!
Highlights from the runway:
Feature Image: Mildred Aroche, designer
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