Unique designers stand out among fashion imitators
"BE YOURSELF," is the advice passed along in talent searches as diverse as "American Idol" (singing), "Project Runway" (fashion design) and "Dancing with the Stars" (dancing).
That piece of advice does little to improve skill and technique, but, all things being equal, it goes a long way in helping one stand out, separating the winners from the No. 2s.
Place: Sheraton Waikiki Molokai Ballroom
Time: 11 a.m. Saturday; boutique sales from 9:30 a.m.
Thirty designers will be hoping their diverse visions shine through on stage when Honolulu Community College presents its annual fashion show Saturday at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.
As with any student show, you can expect a lot of the trendy, skimpy styles that already dominate the marketplace, with some of the most dynamic work coming from students with a strong sense of their own identity.
Minyoung Moisannica grew up in Korea with a love of fashion, but upon trying to learn to sew, decided the work was too difficult.
"I gave up my dream, but when I came to Hawaii, I couldn't forget about it. I came back to school, even though I'm pretty old (at 39)," she said.
"I love clothes. When I see it I want to buy, but it costs a lot of money. Even though it's expensive, it doesn't fit right on you, so I want to learn how to construct the garment myself."
Her work, unusual for Hawaii, encompasses a line of elegant wool pantsuits, as well as sophisticated skirt and jacket ensembles for evening wear.
Mika Hasegawa was already a resort designer in Japan before coming to Hawaii on vacation and deciding to return to study. She's turned her attention to aloha wear, and although she'll be graduating this year, intends to re-enroll to add swimwear design to her credentials.
Shanelle Dragomanovich's creations easily reflect her love of dance and the knowledge of how to draw the spotlight.
While her own dress style is low-key, her experience as a member of 24/7 Danceforce is never far from her mind. "It's really different when you're dressing for stage. Things created for the street can look dull on stage."
Her mini dresses are a combination of urban uniform plus theatrical sparkle, that say "look at me," without crossing that fine line into inappropriate costume territory. Her Beatles dress incorporates a pale blue lace halter-style bodice over a light gray-brown graphic T-shirt that's been cut up and finished with a flouncy skirt of pale metallic blue and yellow layers, over tulleS for volume.
Instructor Joy Nagaue said, "When she told me she would use all those fabrics, I said, 'Oh my,' but it works, it really works."
Dragomanovich attributes her daring approach to her dance mentor, 24/7 director Marcelo Pacleb.
"He taught me a lot about how to look at and how to cut materials, and to not be afraid to be edgy. He says, 'Just go.' That's where I get all my freedom from."