March 26, 2010

Article | College Chic

(models and designers backstage at the Art is Fashion show March 25 in Santa Fe. Image my own)

Last night I had the great pleasure to see the Art of Fashion show hosted by 7 Santa Fe Community College fashion design students (including my friend Consuelo Pascual (Navajo) who let me sneak backstage to snap a ton of photos). Below is a brief review of their show by Phaedra Haywood, spotlighting one of the designers, 17 year-old Bianca Garcia:

Art of Fashion show features designs by Santa Fe Community College students
Phaedra Haywood for The New Mexican
Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2010

A svelte model wearing an Asian-inspired gown of pink brocade strutted across the stage to the song "Meet Me Halfway" by the Black Eyed Peas on Thursday at The Lodge at Santa Fe.

The gown, one of four created by Santa Fe native Bianca Garcia, was one of 39 new designs by Santa Fe Community College students who were the featured designers in the Art of Fashion, a monthly fashion show hosted by Buzz Networking Albuquerque.

The seven students who participated in the show are enrolled in the college's fashion design program, the only one in the state. For many of them it was their first experience readying garments for a public show.

And while there were no celebrity judges or eliminations — à la Project Runway — there were plenty of lessons being learned by the designers.

"It was a great challenge," said 17-year-old Garcia. The home-schooled teen entered the two-year program at the age of 15 and will complete it this year. "I don't like challenges when I'm in them. But when it's over I learn so much about myself."

Garcia — who said she changed her entire line during a mini-crisis of confidence after a fitting four days before the show — said the experience taught her about preparedness and counting the cost of time and materials when designing for the real world.

The monthly fashion show is the brainchild of Stephen Cuomo, a former Las Vegas, Nev., stockbroker who moved back to his hometown of Albuquerque about a year ago.

Cuomo said the events are his way of spicing up local nightlife; giving couples and "mature" women "something to watch" during an evening out; and connecting aspiring models, directors and other "creative types."

Cuomo holds casting calls for models before each show. They aren't paid, but get the opportunity to connect with people who might give them work, Cuomo said. He said the event also gives local designers such as the students from the college a "turnkey event" at which to present their clothes which isn't tied to a fundraiser like many fashion shows.

Cuomo, who said he spent 14 years working for large investment firms including Smith Barney and Merrill Lynch, is paid a fee by the venues that host the shows and keeps the proceeds from the door.

He's been hosting the monthly shows for about a year — mostly in Albuquerque — and says they are gaining in popularity.

Other designers who showed work during the event included Rachael Maestas, Consuelo Pascual, Shelly Lang, Paola Palaciaos, Lynne Kudus and Jessica Rimmer.

[read original here]