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BCCC students showcase passion for fashion

Andrea Blackstone | 5/29/2015, 9 a.m.
The Business & Technology Department, in conjunction with the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) Fashion Design Program presented "The Preview" ...
Model, Alexis Finney (left) walks the runway with designer, Olivia Rocquemore (right) at the 36th Annual Fashion show that was held at Baltimore City Community College. (Photo: Andrea Blackstone)

— The Business & Technology Department, in conjunction with the Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) Fashion Design Program presented "The Preview" Fashion Show on May 16, 2015. Models walked down the runway at BCCC wearing student designs during the 36th annual BCCC Fashion Show.

Michael Davis (left) and Dr. Gordon F. May, president, Baltimore City Community College (right) share a joyous moment after the fashion show on May 16, 2015. Dwightt is among five graduating seniors. He showcased his 11-piece collection in the fashion show, which was coordinated by Roland and Douglas and Fashion Show Production students.

(Photo: Andrea Blackstone)

Michael Davis (left) and Dr. Gordon F. May, president, Baltimore City Community College (right) share a joyous moment after the fashion show on May 16, 2015. Dwightt is among five graduating seniors. He showcased his 11-piece collection in the fashion show, which was coordinated by Roland and Douglas and Fashion Show Production students.

Approximately 16 BCCC Fashion Design Program students pursuing an AAS in Fashion Design showcased their creations in front of family, friends, supporters, fellow students and staff. Students from Fashion Design Concepts, Draping, Visual Merchandising, Patternmaking, Apparel Technology and History of Costume classes submitted diverse garments constructed by hand and machine that were presented in the program. Roughly 20 Fashion Show Production students learned how to promote and showcase their work through the planning and presentation of the mid-May fashion show. The Production Class is typically taken by graduating seniors like Michael Davis, who is among five graduating seniors. Dwightt showcased his 11-piece collection.

“I learned fashion show production from start to finish, from ordering of chairs to the lighting, the runway, the promotion, the advertising, the marketing, everything,” Dwightt said.

The fashion show’s collaborative nature emphasized the value of teamwork. Students who are enrolled in Fashion Show Production, Visual Merchandising and Fashion Design Concept classes set up the venue. Experimental garments displayed on dress forms were created by Fashion Design Concepts students who are taught by professor Valencia James. Professor Roland Douglas and his Fashion Show Production students coordinated the fashion show. Minsu Kim, Fashion Program Coordinator of the AAS in Fashion Design, Fashion Retailing and Fashion Design Certificate program offered a helping hand.

“Some of the garments that were shown tonight are pieces from the Draping II class. There are also garments that were done for the History of Costume class. There are also some garments that were done in the Sewing class as well,” Douglas said.

Douglas also explained that some students are simply interested in learning how to sew for themselves. Others desire to open up small businesses, while a portion of remaining students aspire to pursue additional secondary education. The unique two-year Fashion Design Program provides a rare opportunity for area students who are interested in pursuing careers in the field. The business aspect of the fashion industry is heavily integrated into BCCC’s fashion program, while giving students critical tools to become successful.

“Fashion is one of the eight programs in my department. It’s a growing program. Most of our students that come to the Fashion Design Program have learned to sew typically from their grannies or from their moms, and we teach them how to be marketable, how to be workforce ready (and) how to manage business plans, so it is a full-service program, unique for community colleges. We’re the only community college in this region that has a Fashion Design Program,” Bryant Elliott Evans, the Associate Dean of Business and Technology said. “They come to us typically knowing how to sew. They just don’t know how to sell their product.”

Some graduates of the fashion design program have reportedly transferred to the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Parson's School of Design in New York City. Many later become successful fashion industry entrepreneurs.

Dr. Gordon F. May, president of BCCC, described the fashion show as “totally awesome.”

“It was my first one. I have been president here only nine months after 27 years in Michigan. I was invited by the Associate Dean Bryant Evans and I am so glad I came because we have some outstanding students. It is no surprise that they find their way to New York to start a career in New York City in the fashion design industry,” May said.