As the semester eases in, Spring on the OCC campus means growth, both intellectually and skillfully. Every Tuesday and Thursday evening, fashion majors take garment fabrication to the next level in Fashion 183: Fundamental Principles of Clothing Construction II. Silent with exception to the perceptible, low hum of bounding machine stitches, Room 201 accommodates a handful of advanced students meticulously at work, honing their craft.
The class works on a myriad of patterns, clipping pieces that merge old and new skills, such as the finish of a neck and arm opening using a wide facing. The convoluted marks may appear foreign to most, yet these rising artisans read patterns like private eyes — owing their skills to the program’s knowledgable faculty. Perfecting these techniques one at a time is training them for a future career as fashion designers.
You can’t help but admire the wisdom and willpower that sets these students apart from the rest. They agree, hands-down, that time is the test. When asked about the emotions evoked while sewing, seasoned sewer Carmen imparted that “it is very intricate. It’s a struggle at first — you have to see the final picture in advance. But seeing all the pieces come together spurs that aha! moment.” OCC is shaping a new generation of craftsmen who get that same satisfaction when putting the pedal to the metal.
Rebecca is one of the newest members of OCC’s fashion department. She teaches Fashion 182: Professional Practices. Rebecca is actually a OCC alum and received her AA degree here before transferring to BYU Hawaii. She came back to OCC later on to get her certificate in Fashion Design. When Rebecca was in the fashion program, she particularly loved Fashion 115: Intro to Careers in Fashion and Fashion 135: Design in Everyday Life. Christina Amaral, another teacher in the OCC fashion department, was one teacher that stood out to her when in the program. She remembers Chris being a great mentor when she was in the intro class.
Rebecca has had close ties with OCC since she went here of course, but her legacy extends beyond her own enrollment. OCC has been a part of Rebecca’s family history for quite some time, both her grandparents and parents also went to Orange Coast College! Rebecca’s grandparents (pictured below) actually met in a OCC speech class.
And her parents (pictured below) went to OCC ’65 prom together.
Besides teaching, Rebecca spends her time with her two crazy boys, going to Disneyland, and going to different parks around her neighborhood. She also started a business called Bodomint, where she sells diaper bags. Rebecca explained that the company started on Kickstarter, and was a fun and hard experience launching a brand. The idea for the company started when she was living in Hawaii and couldn’t find a diaper bag that met her and her husband’s needs and style.
Some words of advice from Rebecca to OCC fashion students is to, “find a job you really love and don’t be afraid to work your way up. You might have to start at the bottom first.”
OCC fashion department instructor Shane Geil recently took his Fashion 118: Trend Forecasting class to MEOW Vintage in Long Beach, CA on a hunt for vintage styles. The purpose of this trip was to identify some trends that may be making a come back, and some styles that are definitely remaining buried in the back of your closets.
During our trip I spotted several items that were very in-line with today’s current runway trends.
The first thing I spotted was this cropped blue sheer ruffled jacket. All the elements of this jacket – its crop length, shimmer material, and ruffles – are all currently on trend and reminded me of what Gucci is presenting for 2017. Finding this cute puffy-shouldered jacket in the racks seemed like a jack pot find.
Next, I found this leather jacket featuring large embroidered racing motifs and decals. It is right inline with the racing styles we have seen in the last few seasons from brands like Vetements, and is a definite instant street-style classic. The bright colors and extremely oversized fit would have any hype beast turning their head.
The one item I found that I don’t expect to have a return to the runway anytime soon was an ill-fitting knitted vest with cartoon style flowers knitted on top. This piece screams anything but chic… maybe a nice gift for your grandmother who can’t see very well!
But…then again, you never know when a style comeback will surprise you!
Cooking, handicrafts, knitting and sewing – all of these are skills that most of us (millennials, sigh), are not quite familiar with due to the fact that these skills do not get taught in school or at home anymore. We are all busy bees and everything that we could possibly need is available at our fingertips to be ordered and shipped to our front doors, which makes the crafts mentioned above, outdated or to be exact: basically dead. Now, you might be lucky and have a great dad, mom, grandma, grandpa or another skilled person in your life who is nice enough to share their wisdom with you, but if you don’t… Orange Coast College is the place to look for guidance.
There are many classes offered that will focus on hands-on learning at OCC, which I love because you know, how in other classes, long lectures can be a drag, staring at screens and scribbling info in notepads, that we will not be able to make sense of later anyways. This past fall semester, I was lucky enough to be part of an amazing class. The specific course I took was Fashion 180: Principals of Clothing Construction 1, taught by Donna Dickens. I was a little nervous signing up for this course, since I have never sewn before, and I knew that I would be walking out of this class with two fully constructed garments. It turns out all my worries were for nothing as Donna is quite amazing! She is extremely knowledgeable, always happy to help and just SO passionate about what she is doing, that it makes you want to become a little sponge that soaks everything up she is teaching you.
Donna herself went to OCC, became a costume designer for many Southern California productions and made her way back to OCC as an instructor. Over the semester she patiently introduced us to many different sewing techniques, she would explain and demonstrate, then provide us with materials to work on the techniques ourselves. Once we worked through the techniques, the class started to construct garments, with fabrics that we bought on an exciting field trip to LA’s fashion district. Everyone in the class worked really hard on their projects and the dynamics of the class were really great as everyone would help each other in order to make sure no one got left behind. From week to week you would see how you were getting closer to finishing an actual garment, which was extremely exciting, especially if you have never sewn before – like me. The first garment I made was a pair of denim pants and for the second project I constructed a full A-line skirt, both items came out really well and I was so proud that I texted pictures to my mother constantly, who was also really excited about my success.
There really is something about creating with your bare hands, working on something for a long time, failing sometimes while doing it, only to feel extremely accomplished at the end, having the finished product in hand. If all my excitement does still not convince you of how awesome Fashion 180 is, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
There are so many great instructors in the Fashion Department at Orange Coast College. Nearly all have either previously worked within the fashion industry or are currently working in the industry in amazing careers that students dream to be at one day!
Erin Bianchi Hibbert is one instructor who I personally aspire to be greatly. Not only is she a OCC Fashion instructor for Fashion 121: Street Style, but she has had a full and dynamic career in retail. Erin previously ran the public relations/ events team at Bloomingdale’s, South Coast Plaza and left to pursue her own dreams of opening her own fashion related business. Currently, Erin is running her own business called Fashion Camp – Create. Design. Sew. Fashion Camp, located in Tustin, CA, is a creative learning space that teaches kids, teens, and adults the principles behind fashion, design ,and sewing.
After being with Bloomingdale’s for a substantial amount of time she decided to follow her dreams of being a business owner and began to pave the way for Fashion Camp. The company has been in business for over 6 years and has taught thousands of kids, teens and adults. There are so many class options they have to offer such as beginner sewing, advanced sewing, open sewing lab, sketching, summer camps, and many more workshop classes that are project specific. Luckily I had the pleasure of working with Erin at Fashion Camp for a few years and also was able to take her class at Orange Coast College, and I must say it was the best experience I could have ever asked for.
If you have the chance to be in her class at OCC or even stop by Fashion Camp, I promise Erin is someone you should really get to know!
It isn’t just classrooms and lectures that get you through the journey to your degree with the OCC fashion department. The inspiring, wise and experienced team at OCC bring together a lot of off campus experiences to give aspiring fashion students a peek at real life career options. For the best classes, field trips are a big factor to the equation of success.
One of the fast-paced, fun, real life learning experiences presented by OCC Fashion is playing the role of a buyer with Marketing 220: Retail Buying at South Coast Plaza. South Coast Plaza is a premiere shopping destination minutes away from campus in Costa Mesa, CA. Based on lessons learned in class, the field trip consists of adventuring to different stores and calculating inventory with retail buying formulas. With this real world experience you can pick up on key trends, aesthetics, and intuit upcoming styles. Marketing 220: Retail Buying allows students to complete a fashion degree with excellent time management and forecasting skills. One of the greatest lessons you can take from Retail Buying at OCC is the key skills all buyers must have: What are the trends coming for next year, how can I purchase them for this season, and can I sell them at the right time to take full advantage of the style. This field trip sets you up for fast-paced fashion career which collaborates with all areas of the fashion industry.