The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise in partnership with Fashion Week El Paseo debuted couture collection pieces of nine recent graduates from the Los Angeles school on Thursday evening.
The collections oozed with creativity, from extravagant flower patterns to neon colors, geometric black-and-white elementals and even some Mortal Kombat-inspired pieces.
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Fashion Week El Paseo has relaunched for its 15th year. Attendees have viewed collections thus far from several El Paseo stores and local designers including Trina Turk, Michael Costello, Christopher Bates, Keanan Duffty and Aneka Brown. Two more fashion shows, by Saks Fifth Avenue and designer Edwin Oudshoorn, will be staged this weekend.
Fashion Week presented FIDM graduates including Bella Madden, Sakura Mizutani, Fabian Renteria, Sofia Masuda, Maryam Varshochi, Dustin Argumedo, Jiarui “Ruby” Cai, Zak Weinreich and Jesua Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, who said she used to cut up her mother’s curtains and bedsheets to create her own runway shows as a child, called her collection “Blossom.” “During my childhood, I was a victim of abuse in every way, so in my collection, I decided to express that,” she said. “One day I ran into a poem by Tupac, ‘A Rose That Grows on Concrete,’ and that resonated with me.”
Rodriguez, a graduate of FIDM, has continued her education there, pursuing a business management degree.
Masuda, who handmade the knitwear, prints, and flowers in her collection, said her inspiration came from her Japanese-Mexican heritage.
Masuda added that, as part of her creative process in preparation for the fashion show, the women in her family sat with her at the dining room table and worked on the clothing pieces week in and week out until the big day.
“My grandmother taught me to stitch when I was 4,” she said. “This collection is labeled Celia after her. My biggest thing is diversity and women empowerment.” Masuda said she is looking forward to “a return to normalcy” post-COVID and to be able to network and grow her career after graduation.
Argumedo, an Oregon native, labeled his collection “LatinX Machissmo,” saying he hopes to communicate that men can look and be manly in whatever they would like to wear. Argumedo said this collection hit “close to home” for him, and inspired him to look into more of his culture, even by going as far as to take a DNA test.
For more than 50 years, FIDM has been educating artists and designers. Among the faculty are Emmy-winning journalist Tom Henkenius, Grammy-winning graphic designer Kevin Reagan, and Emmy-winning costume designer Jacqueline SaintAnne.
FIDM has scholarship opportunities available through One Future Coachella Valley for any wishing to attend FIDM, graduate, and participate in future fashion shows on El Paseo.
Actor and model Amanda Fields, who has appeared on “Project Runway” and in movies including “A Star Is Born,” said: “I am so happy to be part of the fashion show. [Palm Springs Life Fashion Director] Susan Stein puts on a production that is matched to New York City. As a model, I feel so great being a part of it. “
She aadded: “I always appreciate doing these shows, but especially now after having it gone for two years, coming back and celebrating fashion and style and being together. We’ve all had a difficult past two years, and now we can all feel joy again with fashion. ”
Marion Rodriguez is a College of the Desert intern at The Desert Sun.