(Santa Ana, CA) – Much like the rest of the world, Santa Ana College (SAC) Fashion and Design Merchandising students are all dressed up with nowhere to go.
But COVID-19 restrictions have not kept these students from designing and creating fashion. The much-anticipated annual fashion show was moved to a virtual format in line with safety guidelines during the pandemic that is currently available to view on SAC’s website. Although the event is typically well attended by the local community, Fashion Design and Merchandising (FDM) Department Chair Kyla Benson said she hopes those who normally attend the fashion show will support the department by viewing the event online.
“Even though we’re kind of stuck at home because of the pandemic, we were still able to put together this fashion show,” said Benson. “ My students are so resilient and they really stepped up to the plate. They didn’t let anything stop them, especially my spring semester students, they signed up not expecting a pandemic.”
Benson said the students were offered a chance to withdraw from the class, with no penalty due to the pandemic, and she was incredibly impressed by those who stuck it out and completed the semester anyway.
“They just didn’t quit and created a mini collection to present this fashion show,” she said. “They could’ve quit, but they didn’t and accomplished an amazing job with this event.”
FDM student, Jeffrey Tanck, is completing his education at SAC and will be transferring to California State University, Long Beach in the fall where he will continue to study fashion design and create beautiful garments. He said he loved taking part in SAC’s programs and talked with peers from other colleges who shared that they are impressed by the level of education FDM students get at SAC. The program has a 3D body scanner, a knitting machine, direct-to-garment printers, embroidery machines, Serger sewing machines and more.
“Students from other programs are really just so impressed that we have this stuff. It’s super cool,” he said.
In particular, SAC utilizes a digital pattern drafting program that is on the cutting edge of fashion design -- it is not currently standardized for FDM programs to offer this, yet.
“I don’t know of any other schools that are using that pattern software,” Tanck said. “Even though we don’t have access to the classroom, this is an incredible tool that is really sought after in the industry.”
The digital drafting program allows students to create pattern pieces; account for how the pieces will work together once sewn; and what they will actually look like on a model. Some pattern drafting students utilized the software to create looks inspired by the 2014 Met exhibition, "Charles James: Beyond Fashion.” Other students used the software to create a fashion show inspired by the early days of the quarantine. The software allowed everyone to virtually sew their final project designs and animate them for a quarantine-friendly fashion show.
FDM student Hannah Stout has been completing her four-year degree, but taking classes with Benson on the side. She said she has been involved with fashion most of her life, but has become enamored with pattern drafting after enrolling at SAC.
“I really enjoy doing the technical side of fashion design,” she said. “I enjoy pattern drafting and I think what suits my particular skill set better is getting that creative outlet, but also working the technical side of it.”
Stout said she was particularly drawn to the program at SAC because of the resources available to students.
“The education itself is still really top-notch,” Stout said. “It’s my understanding that a lot of people discount community colleges, but there’s no reason not to at least try it at SAC.”
To view the fashion show virtually, or learn more about the Fashion Design and Merchandising program at Santa Ana College, visit www.sac.edu/AcademicProgs/HST/FDM.
About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 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 11,000 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.
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