Urban Fusion is success

Model at the Urban Fashion Show (Nate Vamvas/Lariat)

Evelyn Caicedo

Element, RVCA, three fashion shows, and DJ John Henry were just a few of many participants at the Saddleback College’s fashion department’s Urban Fusion.

“The main focus for events like this is so the artistic students have a place to exhibit their work and show what they can do,” said Robert Stuppy, the Urban Fusion host who is a standup comedian at the Pechanga Casino. “Anytime a community college can pull big-time vendors like Element and RVCA is a fantastic event.”

Urban Fusion took place last Thursday afternoon in the Quad. Since it was during class hours, the event didn’t get as much hype as the directors hoped for but many students still attended and had time to pass by all the vendors on their way to class.

“I think it turned out really well,” said Talia Samuels, 18, communications, the event’s director. “I expected to have a lot of other stress come out of it, but everything has fallen into place and it has all worked out. I am happy.”

All types of retailers were a part of Urban Fusion this year from long-time store owners to first time student vendors.

Michaela Ammirato, 18, child development, has never sold any of her accessories before and she decided to make her first appearance and had much success. She said she spent the previous two months crafting knitted scarves, hair accessories and flower-tipped pens for the event.

“It was really exciting being at my first event and getting to show all of my hand-made accessories,” said Ammirato.

Other vendors were there to support various social issue causes.

Krochet Kids International’s representative Katrina Bookhout was there supporting Uganda’s rise above poverty selling crocheted hats, scarves, and laptop cases.

“All of the proceeds go back into the program to give them a fair salary,” Bookhout said, “so they can send their kids to school and get the medical attention if needed.”

Todd Larson, director of the Elemental Awareness Foundation, had discounted rates for all the merchandise they were selling to raise money for the non-profit organization.

“Our mission is to work with inner city kids that love to skateboard and just try to give them an opportunity to spend a weekend in the mountains and to have a nice connection with nature that they wouldn’t have in an urban environment,” said Larson. “It really is life changing. I love it.”

RVCA, a clothing company based in Costa Mesa, had 10 percent of all of their merchandise sales go to support the fashion department at Saddleback.

“We love it. We are just trying to give back to the community where college kids are our core audience, so we just want to give them a little treat every once in awhile with the big sales,” said representative Anthony Piukehi. “Plus anytime we can support the fashion department, that is great.”

Along with all the clothing and art vendors, the culinary arts department had a chili cook-off where students acted as judges.

All the contestants had a great attitude coming into the competition, but all had teasingly competitive frames of mind believing that their team would triumph over their peers.

“It is great to be at Urban Fusion,” said Phong Ha, 32, culinary arts. “Everyone is coming by and having a good time which is always great.”

Throughout the event there were three fashion shows with student models showcasing some of the vendors’ pieces.

“It felt great walking down the runway,” said Kelsie Kozoil, 19, dance. “I want to be a model, so it definitely was a great experience to be out in front of a bunch of people and trying to work the runway.”

The models were hand picked by the Urban Fusion directors in the beginning of the semester according to their model-like character. Many hours of practice walking the runway were logged prior to the event prior to their debut.

“It felt great knowing that we accomplished it and that our hard work practicing our walk a billion times pulled off,” Koziol said.

Urban Fusion has never had so many added features compared to previous years, making it an eventful one.

“I hope all the vendors had success and I hope they had fun and enjoyed,” said Stella Amirkhanian, the director of the fashion merchandise program. “We will hope to do it again next year.”