May 9, 2022

Mesa Fashion Students and Alumni Bloom in Spring

By Beverly Fruto

trashin fashion contest

Spring 2022 has been a busy season for students and alumni of the San Diego Mesa Fashion Program. From being named as finalists in the Aquarium of the Pacific’s annual Trashin’ Fashion Contest, to being selected to present a garment at the Costume Society of America’s Design Symposium, and landing a job with an international premium fashion company, Mesa Fashion students are making their mark. 

Several Mesa Fashion students participated in the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Trashin’ Fashion Contest first plduring its annual Earth Day Celebration on April 23-24, 2022. Each year designers and hobbyists are invited to participate in the contest by submitting original garments made from recycled materials. Mesa students took three out of the four top spots in the contest, with Grace Zheng’s hand-sewn white dress made of packing materials taking first place. Jasleen Guzman’s green dress adorned with plastic bows and Eman Hashmi’s tan and cream overalls made of cardboard, muslin, and duct tape placed in third and fourth place respectively. The fashion show and contest is hosted by the Aquarium of the Pacific and Macy’s to raise awareness about pollution and sustainability. 

Graduates of the Mesa Fashion Program are also getting noticed. Fashion Alum Jenneva Maciasjenneva (2021) has been invited to exhibit one of her garments at the Costume Society of America (CSA) 48th Annual Design Symposium, which will be held in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota on May 24-29, 2022. The dress, which was Macias’s final project for the course, Fashion 145: Draping, will be one of only 20 garments on display during the symposium. This honor is a significant accomplishment, especially considering that the majority of presenters are doctoral candidates and fashion industry professionals. In addition to including her dress in the exhibition, CSA has invited Macias to present her garment and give a talk, titled “The Power of Cultural Movements Transcending Through History,” in which she will discuss body inclusivity in the fashion industry and how cultural movements have had an impact on fashion today.

Upon reflecting on her time at Mesa, Macias stated, “The Fashion Program here at Mesa has opened so many doors for me and has given me the opportunity to follow my dreams. I am immensely thankful for the department, and all of my professors, especially Prof. Jordyn Smiley, who has been one of my biggest supporters and has believed in me every step of the way.” 

The sentiment appears to be mutual, because Professor Smiley described Macias an “anjenneva dress extremely talented designer.” Professor Smiley went on to say, “As a student, [Macias] was a joy to have in class with her positive attitude and open-minded approach to every new project. She consistently went above and beyond in her work and was always willing to help her peers.”  

In addition to preparing for the CSA Symposium, Macias is currently working on commissions for private clients and building her first collection. She affirmed her desire to continue the work she started at Mesa. “Fashion is my passion and what I enjoy doing the most. Everyday I get to do what I love the most, and I consider myself the luckiest person because of that.” 

Another Mesa Fashion alum, Keith Bonar, has established a flourishing career in the fashion industry. Bonar recently landed a position as a Technical Developer for Tommy Hilfiger in Amsterdam and will start working in his new role next week. After having a successful career as a City Planner for many years, Bonar decided to completely switch gears and pursue a career in fashion. That decision led him to Mesa, where he completed a certificate program in Fashion/Apparel Design. He went on to earn a Master of Arts in Fashion Design Technology in London, where he has been working as a Menswear Product Developer/Designer. For his new position at Tommy Hilfiger, he went through an intensive interview process, which consisted of four interviews on Zoom. At the third interview, he was given an assignment for which he was sent photos of four garments in fit sessions. He then had to critique and recommend amendments to the garments. During the final two-hour interview, the interview panel told him “they were really impressed by the assignment [he] did and that [he] set the standard of what they will expect from future applicants.” Bonar added that he believes the technical computer courses he took in the Mesa Fashion Program gave him an edge for the work he has been doing and will continue to do moving forward in his fashion career. 

Tags: Grace Zheng, Jasleen Guzman, Fashion Program, Mesa Fashion Students, Jenneva Macias, Keith Bonar, Eman Hashmi, Alumni