Giselle Shepatin shirt/jacket comprised of fabric from Belgium— embroidered cotton with sequins—with her pleated pockets pants, $700 for ensemble
In the early ’90s, students at Cañada College held a small fashion show to spotlight the talent and designs of their friends and classmates. Decades later, what started with a handful of people is now the must-attend event Artistry in Fashion, featuring dozens of designers from the West Coast.
Guests can peruse and shop tables laden with handloomed accessories, delicate millinery, antique materials such as glass, rubber, bamboo and newspapers. For the Redwood City school’s fashion department, arguably one of the strongest programs in the area, the event—which will be held Sept. 23 this year—is not just a chance to shop and showcase talent, it’s also a fundraiser. Every dollar of the thousands made in profit goes toward student scholarships.
A Cañada College fashion department jury composed of faculty and students carefully selects each of the 65 designers exhibiting to ensure quality of design; appropriateness of price point; and a careful balance of clothing, jewelry and accessories. Waka, for example, creates one-of-a-kind pieces from vintage kimonos; Sakura Haru Design crafts jewelry inspired by the island of Okinawa, Japan; and Sarah Liller SF offers chic yet comfortable womenswear. For 2017, a common trend among designers will be wearable art made from found and upcycled materials such as glass, rubber, bamboo, and newspapers.
Giselle Shepatin, whose self-described “dare-devil couture” is composed of distinctive handwoven textiles, has participated in every Artistry in Fashion that she can remember. “I sell samples, help dress women, put outfits together and enjoy the experience in its entirety,” she explains.
Current Cañada College students are encouraged to exhibit their fashion lines at the event too. “They can try out the venue and immediately understand the consumer response,” says Ronda Chaney, coordinator of the fashion department. “Many go on to be professionals. … Every year we are launching designers!” And for the attendees, “it’s worth the trip,” Chaney adds with a smile. “It’s like a party for everybody!”
Originally published in the September/October issue of Silicon Valley