Cañada College Fashion Department Educating students and others about the ever-changing world of fashion design and merchandising. Thu, 11 Oct 2018 20:59:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 135513584 Pants Problems? Pshaw! Thu, 11 Oct 2018 20:30:17 +0000 Pattern-designer Peggy Sagers may put her pants on one leg at a time, like the rest of us, but hers are likely to fit better. Founder of Silhouette Patterns, Peggy traveled all the way from Texas to give a pants-fitting presentation to dozens of eager Artistry in Fashion attendees … twice!

As usual for our department, class participation was not hard to draw out of the workshop attendees.

Peggy’s magic formula is “LCD”: Length, Circumference and Depth. She took us through each of these dimensions as she transformed each pant from wonky to wonderful!

Peggy demonstrates her “LCD” principles with help from two of our models.

Here you can see how she fit both a more tailored woven pant and a knit yoga pant during the workshop:

Peggy demonstrates how to add “hip darts” to help a pant drape more smoothly on the body. Of course you do this only on the muslin, then update the pattern before creating the final pant.
Peggy showed how you can apply the same technique to a fuller figure.

If you missed Peggy’s presentation, you can still see her pant-fitting tips in this video. Or, if you were there and want to learn more from Peggy, subscribe to her Youtube channel here.

Thank you to department assistant Holly Matsuo for making the pant muslins for the workshop!

Woven pant pattern here.

Yoga pant pattern here.


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Alumna Returns after Distinguished Career Abroad Thu, 04 Oct 2018 14:30:50 +0000

Alison “Ali” Rasch started in the Cañada College fashion department in 1999—nearly 20 years ago. At the time she was a senior at Menlo-Atherton High School “ready to go to college.” She was interested in fashion design and managed to take courses at Cañada part-time while completing her high school diploma.

Ali remembers taking Beginning Clothing Construction with Ronda Chaney, which was “fantastic” and helped her hone her sewing skills. Ronda’s Introduction to the Fashion Industry also made a big impression. The field trips helped her “see how the whole process went” and also that fashion businesses could take many forms, not just “massive, global companies.” She also enrolled in Fashion Illustration with Kathleen McCarney, where she learned to sketch quickly and build her portfolio for school applications. She also studied fashion history with Judy Jackson.

All of this helped Ali get into Parsons in New York City a short time later. There she says “there were a lot of talented people and lots of homework, but it was all exciting.” She found that her experiences at Cañada helped a great deal. Specifically, “the construction and pattern making was a great basis to dive right in at Parsons and get to work.” After two years there, Ali transferred to Central St. Martins in London, where she earned a bachelor’s in Fashion Design, Women’s Wear. She also completed a minor in Industrial Studies through an internship.

Ali worked for a time with Raf Simons, now Chief Creative Officer at Calvin Klein. As she describes this rare opportunity:

“I worked … at his studio in Antwerp, Belgium from October 2003 through July 2004, two seasons of his men’s wear line. He was already getting a lot of interest. He showed his collection at men’s fashion week in Paris. It was a superb introduction to men’s wear and working in the fashion industry. I learned so much!”

Ali then moved back to New York, where she served for one year as an assistant designer at Karl Lagerfeld. Unfortunately Lagerfeld closed the New York studio, and Ali moved on to Vienna, Austria where she worked with designer Ute Ploier.

She moved back to California for a while, hoping to start a clothing business based in San Francisco. Ali and a few talented friends planned to make clothing for medical professionals out of sustainable fabrics; however, these types of textiles were hard to come by in 2008. An even bigger challenge turned out to be the Great Recession that broadsided us all that year. During this uncertain time Ali returned to Cañada and studied tailoring with Ronda. She recalls, “The familiar faces were nice, and the mix of students was exciting. Everyone is there for different reasons.”

In 2010 Ali went back to London to earn her master’s in fashion, specializing in men’s wear this time.

Today Ali has her own custom design business for men and women. Among her recent clients: a musician looking for specific pieces for his music videos and a filmmaker who needed wardrobe help. Now living in the larger Sacramento area, Ali is also hoping to teach fashion, something she is prepared to do having earned her teaching certificate while she was in London.

Does Ali have any advice for students in the fashion department now? “I recommend getting industry experience,” Ali encourages. Luckily for our students, Cañada offers an internship program! Learn more here.


Artistry in Fashion—Designer Spotlight Fri, 21 Sep 2018 16:05:47 +0000 You will find dozens of incredible designers exhibiting at our Artistry in Fashion event on Saturday, September 29th. (That’s just over a week away!). Here we spotlight just a few who have something in common. Can you figure out what it is?

Lenore Collection

Lenore Collection makes eco-friendly, hand-woven and hand-crocheted products. Known best for their handbags, Lenore Collection uses old newspapers, magazines, telephone directories and plastic shopping bags to create their striking clutches and purses. Lenore Collection supports underprivileged people in the Philippines, training weavers and artists in handicraft skills.


Michelle Paganini develops upcycled clothing designs, patterns and sewing instructions. Michelle has been a featured artist in Discarded to Divine, twice having her upcycled garments displayed at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. She authored an article on upcycling in Threads magazine. See her work on It’s Sew Easy TV. Michelle loves to share her passion for upcycling.

Grau Design, Inc.

Claudia Grau has been a creative force in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. Claudia’s eye for textiles and her creative mind have combined to dress fashionable women in statement pieces for decades. All are one-of-a-kind and handmade in Hollywood. Many feature her trademark “watercolor” fabrics made with natural dyes.

Have you figured out what all of these designers have in common? (Leave your answer in the Comments.)

There’s More to Pink than You Think! Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:03:23 +0000 A new exhibit called Pink just opened at the Museum at FIT in New York City, and Cañada fashion department team member Shana McCracken was there. Here is some of what she saw and learned:

This floral gown by an unknown designer is in a shade of pink typical of the 1950s.
Elsa Schiaparelli launched her signature Shocking Pink in 1936. The color continues to be a hallmark of the brand today. (Silk chiffon gown, fall 2015-16)
These days we take it as a given that blue is for boys, while pink is for girls. But it wasn’t always that way. In the first third of the 20th century, the cultural norm was the reverse. (Girl’s linen dress, 1930-35)
The thought-provoking exhibit explores the “pinkification” of little girls in the modern era.
Men wear pink too!
Both men and women of the aristocratic class wore pink during the 18th century.
Spaniards are used to seeing male bullfighters in pink capes.
Not always the demure hue it seems to be, many have proven over the centuries that pink can actually be punk.

And speaking of pink … pink banners and bows will lead you to Artistry in Fashion, coming up Saturday, September 29th! Mark your calendar now!

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Covering Modest Fashion Thu, 06 Sep 2018 14:30:01 +0000 It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what’s happening at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Practically in our backyard, the world-class museum frequently features top-notch fashion exhibits. Later this month, the de Young will mount a show entitled Contemporary Muslim Fashions.

The museum describes the much-anticipated show this way: “The exhibition examines how Muslim women … have become arbiters of style within and beyond their communities …” Check out this video for a sneak peek.

Interpreted in multiple ways by different women, modest dress may or may not include covering the head. And some choose to cover more skin, while others may be more interested in less body-conforming silhouettes.

It’s understandable that some of us might assume that modest means frumpy. The truth is women who dress modestly can still look very attractive and fashionable—even hip.

Photo: DeYoung Museum

“Modesty isn’t about covering up our bodies because they’re bad. Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves. It’s about revealing our dignity.”—Jessica Rey, American actress and designer.

Rey is best known for her modest swimwear.

The greater inclusivity seen on runways around the world isn’t simply a matter of high-minded principle; it’s also good business. According to Who What Wear’s Anna Laplaka, “… modest fashion is not simply a niche within the broader market. Already valued at $243 billion, the global modest fashion market‘s incredible worth is set to only increase over the next few years.“ And according to the Guardian, “Global Muslim expenditure on fashion is set to rise to $484 billion by 2019 …”

Nike has been producing its Pro Hijab headscarves for Muslim athletes for over a year. Another sign of how widespread and popular the trend has become is the fact that there is now a Modest Fashion Week held in London every year.

The Nike Pro Hijab worn by Zahra Lari, Emirati figure skater. Photo: Vivienne Balla/AP

And modest fashion isn’t just for Muslim women. Many designers over the past several seasons have shown more conservative looks, featuring longer hemlines, higher necklines, long sleeves and so on.

Higher necklines are just one trend we’ll be seeing a lot of this fall and winter.

Purchase tickets to the de Young show here.

For more on this topic, see:

Glamour Magazine, UK (May 2018): “6 Modest Fashion Trends We’ll All Be Wearing this Season …”

What Modest Fashion Really Means to 4 Muslim Women

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Artistry in Fashion Is A Full Day of Fun! Fri, 31 Aug 2018 17:32:02 +0000 With Artistry in Fashion—Cañada College fashion department’s premier event—now in its 29th year, many thousands have attended, shopped and enjoyed. If you haven’t yet been so lucky, now is your chance! Mark your calendar for Saturday, September 29th and prepare to have a fantastic time!

Here’s a taste of what you can expect:

Do you remember when Dorothy followed the yellow brick road? Well, we’ve got a trail of pink bows to guide you instead.
Lots and lots of bows.
The independent designers featured at Artistry in Fashion make very special pieces you won’t find at the mall. Here, an ensemble by the one and only Giselle Shepatin.
A striking design by Chic Treads, maker of fashion-forward jewelry. Why “treads”? Because these incredible pieces are made from recycled tires!
Be prepared for a riot of color and items big and small. It’s not too early to shop for the holidays!
Kids clothes will be available too! Here, the adorable designs of Eden & Zoe.
Head to the quad amphitheater at 11:00 a.m. (or a little before to get a great seat!) and catch the Designer Showcase. Students model the designers’ wears so you know what booths you want to stop by next!
Fit expert Peggy Sagers will be our special guest this year. Peggy is the owner of Silhouette Pattern Co. and really knows her stuff! Come see her do a pant-fitting demonstration upstairs in Building 3 from noon to 3:00.
The open house is not to be missed! Check it out between 12:00 and 3:00 p.m. in Bldg. 3, Rooms 255 and 253.
Learn about the classes offered in the department and view students’ work.
See you there!

Get $1.00 off the admission price here.

Italian Guide Visits Cañada Tue, 21 Aug 2018 14:30:40 +0000 It was all smiles and laughter last week when Costanza Menchi and Cañada students got together for a reunion celebration. Costanza, a fashion historian specializing in Italian fashion, has been our guide for the Study Abroad in Italy course the past three years. Costanza’s warm and engaging personality make her informative lectures and tours a true pleasure. And being a Florence native, Costanza has many long-standing relationships with local craftspeople and fashion experts of all sorts.

Costanza was also able to visit the Cañada campus—including the fashion department—during her stay. “I was very impressed with the classrooms, the facilities,” she reports.

Cañada faculty members Kathleen Lorist and Ronda Chaney, together with Costanza, listen to happy memories and funny stories from the students.
Costanza apologized for her tendency to be long-winded. Costanza: We loved hearing you talk, especially with that charming Italian accent of yours!

Costanza explains that the big fashion brands in Italy (think Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo and the like) are having difficulty finding young people who have the kinds of skills necessary for higher end, expertly made clothing, footwear and accessories. The remaining artisans are nearing retirement age, and their skills are in danger of being lost. Meanwhile a sluggish Italian economy makes it difficult for young Italians to land the kinds of design or managerial jobs they envisioned while in fashion school. Costanza is working to create a nexus between the companies’ need for younger, skilled craftspeople and Millenials who need jobs.

Luckily there is hope. “There is a rebirth—a renaissance—of the little atelier and studio right now,” Costanza observes. “There is a new generation of artistans who are combining the old traditions with new technologies.” She also reflects, “Ten to 15 years ago, students couldn’t relate when I talked about craftsmanship. It wasn’t cool or interesting to them. Now it’s cool.”

Thank you to Sally-Ann Rudd and her family for hosting the party at their lovely home!

Sally-Ann accepts a handcrafted gift, made by an Italian artisan, from Costanza.

And thank you, Costanza, for serving as our guide in Italy for the past three years. We would be lost without you … literally!

Real-world Education Is Our Stock-in-Trade Wed, 01 Aug 2018 22:41:38 +0000 Department faculty Ronda Chaney, Peggy Perruccio and Kathleen Lorist attended the June show of the Fashion Market Northern California. This highly respected trade show happens right in our backyard—at the San Mateo Event Center—making it very convenient for Cañada faculty and students to check out. There you can get an insider’s view into the business of fashion—specifically how apparel and accessories make the transition from brand-to-boutique.

Kathleen checks out the fun socks on display at this colorful booth. Kathleen is dressed pretty colorfully herself!

This kind of understanding is a priority for the Cañada fashion program, which aims to teach students about the range of careers available to them after they graduate. The Introduction to the Fashion Industry course is specifically designed to go into depth on this subject by touring local design studios, manufacturers, contractors (so called “cut and sew shops”) and boutiques.

Even leather goods can be found at the FMNC show.

The FMNC trade show takes place five times per year and primarily serves buyers for retailers in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Exhibitors are typically fashion reps who show multiple brands, hoping to take wholesale orders on behalf of their clients from buyers attending the show. Typically the lines they are showing are for the upcoming season or even the one after that.

A quintessentially fall collection on display.

Ronda, Peggy and Kathleen got a sneak preview of what we’ll be seeing in local boutiques this fall. They also made new contacts with brand representatives who might be able to offer internships to our students or speak to our classes.

This exhibitor showed only scarves. It is not unusual for reps to focus exclusively on accessories or even on just one type.

Find information about future FMNC shows here.


Sarah Velichko: Calm, Cool & Reflective Thu, 12 Jul 2018 14:12:09 +0000 Cañada alum is having a blast on the crew of Hamilton

“Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation.” That well-known quote has been attributed to everyone from ancient Roman philosopher Seneca to professional auto racer Bobby Unser. While its origin is uncertain, it’s clear the saying applies to Sarah Velichko, a graduate of the Cañada College fashion department. Sarah is traveling with one of two U.S. tours of the Broadway musical mega-hit Hamilton and having the time of her life.

We talked with Sarah recently. She had just arrived in Des Moines after finishing a run of the show in Las Vegas.

CFD:  So, first of all, tell me what you do on Hamilton.

SV:   As the Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor, my job is to teach the local wardrobe crew their backstage ‘choreography’ and educate them on how the costumes work so we can give the audience the same show every single night aesthetically. I’m also in charge of the sewing, costume repairs and alterations of new costumes sent to us from New York.

CFD:  That’s one of those jobs that’s invisible to the audience but is extremely important, isn’t it?

SV:     Yes, I have to know the show backwards and forwards. I know where all my dressers should be for any change at any given point. We are dressing 20 actors for each show and have a total of 33 we need to maintain costumes for. I have to be extremely organized.

CFD:  I can imagine! Isn’t that stressful?

SV:     The most important part of the job is to remain calm, because crazy stuff happens. We have several extremely fast costume changes [in the show].

CFD:  What sort of help do you have to pull that off?

SV:   The local wardrobe crew is made up of about 13 people—eight dressers, one laundry person, three pressers and one stitcher. That does not include the traveling crew, which is the Wardrobe Supervisor (my boss) and me (Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor). So we’re looking at a team of 15 wardrobe crew members total in each city.

CFD:     Wow, that’s a lot of people! And that doesn’t include the costume design team, does it?

SV:     No, that’s a whole separate group. The design team is based in New York City.

CFD:  Going back for a minute, how did you end up doing this job?

SV:   I was working on [the show] Wicked as an Assistant Wardrobe Supervisor Cover. When Hamilton started in San Francisco, I was hired as a dresser and stitcher. After working on it for six months, I knew the show and the costumes inside and out. That set me up to transition easily into a supervisor role when the second national tour opened in Seattle.

CFD:  It sounds like you moved up the ranks pretty fast!

SV:    I had the sewing and wardrobe supervisor skills. One of my favorite parts of this experience so far was when I was sent to New York to train for and set up the new tour. I got to meet Paul Tazewell, the costume designer, and spent countless hours with his design team so I would know how the costumes are supposed to look and work. I attended fittings for everything from ball gowns to boots.

CFD:  What a fantastic experience! Is there a downside to this dream job?

SV:     My home is on the road right now. I’ve gotten really good at cooking in a hotel room with just a microwave and a fridge. You need to have a certain temperament to live on the road. I’m super flexible and adaptable, so it works for me.

Oh, and we usually work in the basement, where there are no windows. But I really can’t complain. I’m playing dress-up for a living! I mean, come on!

CFD:  Take us back even further. When were you at Cañada and what did you study?

SV:     I was there between 2010-2012, but I didn’t start out in the fashion department. I started in occupational therapy. That changed very quickly. I realized, ‘I need to follow my heart.’ Luckily, my parents were very supportive.

CFD:  That is lucky! Did you earn a certificate?

SV:     I earned an Associates Degree in Theater Costuming and whatever other classes I could fit in. I loved the [fashion] department. I tell everybody about it.

CFD:  What classes turned out to be most valuable to you?

SV:     Pattern-making for sure! The costumes [in Hamilton] are made to look like 1700-1800s clothes but are built to stand up to intense dance movement. I know why they’re built like they are [because of the Flat Pattern class]. Also Tailoring. The coats in the show are beautifully tailored. I have the skills to be able to take them apart and put them back together again if needed.

CFD:  So all those hours in the lab were worth it?

SV:     Definitely. The foundations they teach [at Cañada] are amazing. And they allow you to be creative and make mistakes, try new things. I loved that. The creative thinking that inspired is invaluable now. I go in to work every day, and it never goes the way I think it’s going to go.

CFD:  You continued with your studies after you finished your certificate at Cañada, didn’t you?

SV:     Yes, I studied costume design at SF State for two more years.

CFD:  That’s terrific. What an accomplishment! And now you’re adding even more experience to your resume.

SV:     I’m extremely grateful for the skills I learned [in the Cañada fashion department]. I put them to use every day. Sometimes I think, ‘Ronda would be proud of me!’

CFD:  No doubt about that, Sarah! We all are!

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5 Stars for 4R Fashion Fri, 06 Jul 2018 14:30:48 +0000 On Saturday June 30, nearly 40 people gathered in the fashion department classroom to take part in the 4R Fashion workshop. In attendance were textile artists, professionals from the fashion industry and sustainability specialists. Several students interested in sustainable fashion also participated.

The morning’s activities were broken into three parts: a presentation by our own Shana McCracken, a hands-on activity and a group discussion. Shana’s presentation covered the waste reduction principles known as the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost), as they relate to textiles.

Shana talked about the reasons our society needs to stop throwing away clothing—among them, even natural fibers don’t biodegrade in a modern landfill. Better to donate or repair a garment rather than toss it in the trash.
Participants worked with salvaged materials to create new designs or repaired garments they brought with them.
Thrifted t-shirts were available for making reusable shopping totes—a fun project even for non-sewists.
Animated conversations ensued when participants broke out into groups to work on their projects.
Featured speaker Angela Chou, founder of kids’ fashion brand Utterly, talked about how she uses screen printing to customize discarded fabrics from local clothing manufacturers.
Tracey Harper, Integrated Waste Management Specialist for CalRecycle, provided a statewide perspective on the challenges of reducing textile waste. Among other alarming facts, Tracey shared that textiles from residential sources climbed 45% between 2008 and 2014.
Though they only had an hour, these participants each completed a 4R Fashion project during the workshop: two reusable bags and a skirt made from a salvaged table cloth.

After the workshop we asked participants to respond to an anonymous online survey. The responses were very positive, including 100% rating the workshop “Excellent” or “Very Good.” More than one respondent said the most valuable part of the workshop for them was meeting and networking with other like-minded people. One person commented ” I hope you continue to do more of these workshop[s] … ,” and several said they would like another opportunity to continue the conversation.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments.

Learn more about Utterly here.
Check out CalRecycle’s brand new textiles web page here.