News Release

Four Orange County Colleges with Fashion Design and Merchandising Programs Collaborate for first “OC Colleges Fashion Week”

Fullerton College, Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, and Santa Ana College to Preview Student Couture Designs at April 5 Opening Reception

(SANTA ANA)—Four Orange County community colleges—the only Orange County (OC) community colleges with fashion design and merchandising programs—are marking the first regional collaborative effort with fashion events that kick off Saturday, April 5. An opening reception will feature a fashion show and exhibit highlighting Fullerton College, Orange Coast College, Saddleback College, and Santa Ana College students’ couture designs.

Called “A Different Skin,” the OC college fashion week will open with a reception on Saturday, April 5 at 7 p.m., followed by a fashion show of student couture designs at 8 p.m. at the Santa Ana College Arts Gallery at the Santora Building in the Artist’s Village in downtown Santa Ana at 207 N. Broadway, Suite Q, Santa Ana. The gallery exhibit runs through May 3. Gallery hours are Fridays, noon to 4 p.m., and monthly during ArtWalks on May 3 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., and by appointment. Both the opening reception and exhibit are free.

The first event of its kind in Orange County is the brainchild of Santa Ana College Fashion Design and Merchandising Department Chair Kyla Benson of Costa Mesa. “I thought if all the students do a fashion show at the end of their courses, why not bring together the colleges and create an Orange County fashion week,” said the show’s curator. “It’s a good networking opportunity for students, and an opportunity to stir up a little healthy competition.”

Typically, students’ work is shown on the runway in one evening. This four-college exhibit, however, will showcase students’ work for a month in a professional gallery. Featuring clothing, accessories, and other textile products, Benson says the intimate setting of a gallery beats the runway in this case. “The students’ designs read better up close, and in person. This kind of setting is the perfect place to appreciate details like hand-sewn beads,” said the curator and instructor.

Featured student couture designs will include:

  • “Project Runway” veteran Tim Gunn recently featured a spotlight on the trend steam punk.                                                                                                                            Saddleback College student designer Emily Green of Lake Forest nails the look with her  hand-made leather corset and re-purposed machine cogs as jewelry pieces.
  • Fullerton College student Gina Cowley of Fullerton sends a recycling message by sewing together used potato chip bags into a checkered-style raincoat.
  • Santa Ana College fashion design student Claudia Verdin of Westminster migrated from her native Mexico to the United States with her mother and brother for a better life and future. Raised by her single mother, Verdin admits that seeing her mother work two jobs to put food on the table made her very ambitious, and grateful. Today, the student is an entrepreneur with her online boutique, OOAK Boutique.

For more information, visit or call (714) 564-5615.

About Santa Ana College 
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 13,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more.

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503