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Delta College does design
By Melissa Hutsell

Stockton’s San Joaquin Delta College gives students much more than a chance to study fashion, but the opportunity to create it.

Each year, the college’s advanced Fashion and Design students watch their dreams become a reality on the runway. The students craft their own original designs to showcase at the annual event each May. The show, titled “Story of Fashion,” is completely orchestrated based on the inspiration of students in the college’s Fashion Event Production and Collection Design classes.

This year’s fashion show featured 14 different spring and fall collections on two runways, from nine emerging designers. The show takes its name after the story the students take over the period of 12 weeks, in which they dedicate hundreds of hours of hard work.

Stone Creek Village, located on Pacific Avenue in Stockton, set the stage for an array of outfits, models and hair and make-up artists. Trends on the runway included a paper dress made from Winco bags, glistening gowns and menswear. Styles from a span of decades featured whimsical dresses, enhanced fabrics, and bohemian-inspired pieces. Talent and hard work come together to produce original designs that individually reflect their own elegance and innovation that take audiences out of the Central Valley to the world’s top fashion scenes.

“All students put their classroom knowledge into play,” said Leslie Asfour, professor and program director of the Fashion Program. “They draft their patterns, source their fabrics and construct their garments to fit the model who will be wearing them. They seek out venue options, source materials needed, find sponsors and partners, create media kits and engage the media, create the invitations, develop the swag bags, conduct model casting calls and workshops, and attend to every detail of the event.”

Asfour has been in the fashion industry since she was 16. After a career in the Bay Area where she spent most of her time in visual merchandising and retail management for a total of 25 years, she came to Delta College in 1992.

“I view teaching as training a new generation of fashion designers, merchandisers, marketers and retailers,” she said.

Many department graduates have gone on to work in San Francisco, New York and Milan.

Asfour describes the fashion show as the chance for students to learn what it is really like to create a collection and put it in front of an audience, building confidence and dedication.
“They also get a real-world understanding of time management and working with other partners like models and stylists,” she said. “The experiences are absolutely invaluable.”