Spirits ran high as Apparel Design and Merchandising students at SF State prepare to showcase their designs at this year’s runway show, Diverge.
The annual fashion show, which happens every spring semester, highlights the many pieces designed by SF State’s fashion design students.Kameron Santos, a junior at SF State, prepared by putting finishing details on his design and making sure his model was comfortable in his clothing.
“I’m excited to see how this will all unfold,” Santos said in an animated tone as he observed his model in the final installment of his design.
Santos, 22, is one of many designers bringing style and courage to the runway. In this year’s show, the project focuses on students with disabilities and the Disability Programs and Resource Center on campus.
Santos created two professionally and carefully-made pieces for the show. A denim collared shirt with elaborate gold buttons running down the middle and the staple piece: a two-toned longline coat.
Despite being a former kinesiology major, his passion has always been fashion designing.
“I was totally brand new to the whole design aspect,” Santos said. “ When I got into the program l had no knowledge of sewing at all so it was kind of just all brand new to me. But I stuck it out and I’m still learning to this day.”
His sudden interest in fashion began during his involvement in different sports. During sports banquets, he found himself focusing on his outfits and how he could stand out amongst his peers. He also studied how athletes dressed when off the court or field. This led to the drastic change in his career path, for which he has no regrets.
“I’ve been in the program for a year now. Last semester I had introduction to sewing and then this past semester I’m in pattern making. So essentially I’m getting my feet in the water and still learning the basics of everything.”
But, the journey through designing hasn’t always been easy. While feeling like the odd one out in the department due to his lack of experience, he also ran into many obstacles while creating the pieces.
“So, this kind of stems back to my own personal experience in fashion. I’ve never sewed with anything but muslin, which is basically like the sample fabric that we use for assignments in class. So, with pleather it’s really hard to run it through your standard home sewing machine and sometimes it would get stuck.”
Santos made his longline coat piece specially for Gabriel Carlon, an SF State student with the DPRC.
The DPRC helps students who have physical or mental disabilities that affect their schoolwork.
Carlon, who suffers from depression and anxiety attacks, has been with the DPRC for a few years now. His disabilities specialist considered him to walk in the show, where he was able to escape his comfort zone on the stage while showing off an amazing piece.
“When I’m walking around somewhere, because of my PTSD, I don’t want people to think they can mess with me. So I kind of put on this front but it’s not really who I am,” Carlon said. “I was really frightened at first because this whole project is based on my disability, and for it to be showcased was a lot for me.”
The coat depicts a scorpion with a tough shell, but softer interior. Santos designed the coat by using a harsh pleather fabric on the outside and a soft faux suede on the inside to portray Carlon’s personality.
Allanté Morris, a third-year apparel design and merchandising major has also been working closely with Santos for the runway show.
“Kameron was a big help. We work well together, we switched off on the piece. He took one part home and I took another part home. We just vibe off of each other very well, ” Morris said.
The dynamic duo had several classes together and brainstormed closely for the designs in this year’s fashion show.
Morris and Santos had to work with whatever material they had left and make sure they were satisfied with their overall design. “One of the biggest things in our project is emphasizing contrast,” he said. “So you see a lot of contrast in the clothing.”
As the fashion show came to an end, Santos went out on the runway to accompany his model for the final walk with all the other designers and models.
“It was pretty cool, considering it was my first time doing it. I’m just so happy to have everything finished, have everything with the models done with. It made me speechless, it was a really cool experience,” he said after the show as he packed up all his materials and belongings.