Fashion program guides students to certificates

In the Lingerie Design and Construction class, students learn Instructor Wendy Miller (center, left) demonstrates the proper way to attach elastic and stitch around under-wire. EILEEN ROCHE / GUARDSMAN

By Graham Henderson
Staff Writer

To quote Project Runway host Heidi Klum,, “In fashion, you’re either in or you’re out.” City College’s fashion program aims to keep students in.

Located at the Evans campus, the fashion department’s design studio could be straight out of Bravo’s hit show. The studio is equipped with sewing machines, mannequins, lots of light, and large work tables.

Posters on the walls highlight current fashion trends, complete with catchy names like “Posh Grunge,” “Tribe Vibe,” and “Velvet Crush.”

When students first come into the program, they often don’t have the ability to execute what they design. As students develop their technical skills, they move away from patterns and start to design themselves.

“Nobody takes fashion who isn’t interested in design,” said Wendy Miller, director of San Francisco Center for applied competitive technology. Miller, who also teaches fashion classes, was dressed in a sweater she had made during a demonstration in her tailoring class. The final project that Miller gives the students in her lingerie class assignment that is basically free. “It has to be in the spirit of lingerie,” Miller said. “I’ve had people make fetish wear.”

One semester, two students designed burlesque dance outfits, and did a performance for the class with skin colored bodysuits, complete with music and lights.

Many of the classes are taught in a half lecture, half lab format, according to Fashion Department Chair Diane Green. During the first half of the class, the instructor will lecture or do a demonstration. In the second half, the students are able to do hands-on work, with the instructor available for assistance. Nearly all of the teachers are either working in the fashion industry now or have done so before becoming instructors, Miller said.

“I think it’s a good program,” said City College student Linda Lingren, who has taken two semesters of fashion classes. “The teachers have all been great.”

While students can make clothes to fit anyone, many chose to make clothes for themselves.

“I would like to make clothes that women are comfortable in,” said City College student Victoria Galea. Galea has been in the program for five and a half years, and says it has improved. “When Diane [Green] came in, she picked up the ball and ran with it. She’s added a lot of things we asked for.”

The fashion department offers certificate programs in fashion merchandising, image consulting, fashion technology and fashion design and textile certification, which is still pending state approval according the their website.