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On the Runway, Ready to Launch

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 12/31/2007 More stories >>

On April 22, 2007, an annual event then in its fifth decade drew a lunchtime crowd of more than 750 to the Sheraton Waikiki. The 2007 spring fashion show presented by students in CTAHR’s Apparel Product Design and Merchandising program introduced fashion fans to the work of 15 young designers.

The show’s title, Centennial Seven, highlighted the years’ seven graduating design seniors—Brandie Cazimero, Leah Evans, Keri Haraga, Jamie Higa, Kelly Mammel, Liezel Grace Pagala, and Andrea Wu—whose clothing lines were the culminating projects for their degrees. Mentored by instructor Cynthia Tsark, they developed collections that included hand-sewn couture, wearable art, and modern twists on styles from 1907, the college’s first year. Among the richly varied outfits were items suitable for a day at the office, an afternoon tea, a romantic dinner, or a late night of club-hopping fun. Most of these new graduates plan to enter Hawai‘i’s $600-million textiles and apparel industry; others hope to carry the Islands with them to centers of fashion on the mainland and beyond.

The clothes may have held the spotlight, but they were only the most visible part of what makes the fashion show a singular educational experience. Apparel Product Design and Merchandising students also comprised the show’s production team. Led by Centennial Seven’s director, Keith Nishida, and co-director, Sasha Dominy, the production team was responsible for myriad details, including promotion, registration, sound and lighting, and ensuring that the right model in the right dress hit the catwalk at the proper cue. With guidance from instructor Ray Sasaki, the fashion production studio class operated as a business that met expenses and turned a net profit of more than $5,000. Through CTAHR’s annual spring fashion show, students learn the entrepreneurial skills and hard work needed to make others look effortlessly fabulous.