HCC's 'C'est Si Bon'
Another year brings another 14 designers from Honolulu Community College's Fashion Technology program to the public eye, and as a longtime observer of the fashion scene here, I have to say the students keep getting better and stronger.
Before, geographic isolation and a paucity of retail variety put would-be designers here at a disadvantage. As recent as six or seven years ago, students were churning out aloha shirts, business and cocktail attire, to address the rote needs of "the marketplace."
Today, the schools have loosened up in reaction to a fractured marketplace in which a designer who can spark consumers' imaginations can find his/her own niche.
And the HCC annual senior showcase that took place May 3, this year themed "C'est Si Bon," reflected these diverse niches, from the classic bridal and evening wear enthusiasts, to tea lovers, a passion for theatrical and film costuming, to those who have discovered the untapped potential of the menswear market. And Cynthia Verano spoke to a segment of the market many designers ignore: plus-size women who prefer style to sack dresses.
There was also some celebrity in their midst, with classmate Randy Abian Leano, a former "Project Runway Philippines" contestant, opening the show with "Ultra Vires (Beyond Powers)." The theatrical interpretation of the elements: Water, fire, earth, air and ether, showcased the designer's passion for music and stagecraft.
Also entertaining was Liberty Mae Dela Cruz's "Midnight Templar," an anime, manga and cosplay inspired collection of menswear that had me sitting as far back in my seat as possible, as each model brought out weapons larger than the ones before. Seated just a foot from the end of the runway, the last thing I needed or wanted was an adze in my head, y'know?
The students whose work was featured: Mary Jane Bayudan, Liberty Mae Dela Cruz, Emilee Gibo, Bryah Godoy, Courtney Hamada, Christopher Kim, Randy Leano, Jacqueline Miszuk, Lori Monden, Kathleen "Kat" Nakata, Randy Oribello, Uoleni Tupuola, Cynthia Verano, and Kayoko Yamaoka.
Here's a look at the shows in the order they were presented:
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter, Instragram and Rebel Mouse.