DANA AMAKU

DANA AMAKU

shopthesilvertint.com
Instagram: @haniday | @shopthesilvertint

I was born and raised in San Diego and moved to the Bay Area to attend San Jose State University where I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising. I always had an interest in working in the fashion industry, so a few years after graduating, I decided to enroll at CCSF. This ended up being one of the best decisions I've ever made. I used the skills learned at City College to land my first fashion job working for an independent luxury handbag brand while enrolled. I've been fortunate enough to have worked in the corporate retail space for 10 years. I'm currently an eCommerce Manager with Pottery Barn Kids and have had previous eCommerce roles with Macy's and ShopRunner.

Models on grassy hill in front of tree

During the start of the pandemic, I started my own jewelry business, The Silver Tint Accessories, specializing in curated statement accessories. I've always loved accessories, so I knew I wanted to start my own business around that. With The Silver Tint, I hope to inspire women to be confident and express themselves through that special piece of jewelry.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself growing my business and continuing to excel in my career in ecommerce and delving deeper into content creation.

Six models standing on grass in front building

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care?
I try to make time for things that make me happy, as my form of self-care. I'm very involved with my sorority and our work within our community. I really believe in work-life balance. I try to have a creative outlet, whether that be creating content for my business, cooking, crafting, or decorating my home.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I'm most proud of the photoshoot I did in my Advanced Styling class. It was titled "Queens On Campus" and focused on promoting Black Excellence for students who faced adversity in higher learning. I was able to express my style and my culture and convey a message through fashion for the first time. The project feels even more relevant today with the issues prevalent in the Black community and with Black women leading the nation in obtaining advanced degrees.

Earrings

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
I carry a lot of the fundamentals that I learned at CCSF with me. I really enjoyed my time there, especially having the opportunity to learn from Black women instructors who were successful in the industry such as Kelly Armstrong, Natalie Smith, and Arcadia Maximo. They really inspired me to fully explore a career in fashion and let me know that anything was possible.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?
Network with people and make real connections. Immerse yourself in the local fashion community and keep up with industry trends. I still have many relationships that were nurtured during my time at CCSF that have served me in my career. I'd also say to really push yourself and take pride in your assignments; these become your experience when looking for jobs. These projects can be added to your portfolio! It's all real world experience.

Six models on stairs

Model posing

JUSTINE PENZEL

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I hope to be doing what makes me happy, whether that is styling, modeling, photoshoots, or working towards my goal of styling for movies and tv shows. I have always had such a fascination for films and shows based in the '50s to '70s. Growing up, I was always drawn to the clothes and set more than the story itself. I hope that once the pandemic calms down and we all return to our normal lives, I will have the chance to travel to my dream destinations - France and Italy. I am greatly inspired by Audrey Hepburn and would love to sightsee in Rome like in Roman Holiday and visit the fashion capitals of Milan and Paris. Until then, my goal is to gain more experience styling people of all shapes and sizes, life experiences, and personal goals.

Store mannequins

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care?
I'm a morning person and find that I have the most energy then. I like to get up early and use that time to work on myself. I am currently self-employed. I don't work a 9-5, so I have a lot of time to send out emails, work on my website, act, model - all of which I consider a job. After I get that done, I do some form of exercise whether that is walking my dog or riding my bike. Having that time to focus on my goals while getting in a workout, clears my head for the rest of the day to be creative.

Photos of model

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF? There were several projects that I enjoyed doing and are proud of as they helped me take my first steps into the styling world. One project was my final from my Personal Styling class. I chose my mom as my client and had to and image makeover for her. This was a project near and dear to me as she and I both talked about me styling her one day (even before I knew I wanted to go into the fashion industry). Being my first "client," I learned a lot from her and what future clients would be like. I have always styled myself, so it was interesting to style someone older than me with a stable career and much more life experience.

Photo of model

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
There are many skills that I took away from CCSF, specifically in Fashion. Know yourself and understand your "brand." If you are able to understand how to market yourself and use social media to your advantage, you will be successful. I enjoyed the tools and advice I was able to receive throughout my time at City College.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?
An important tip, anywhere you go, is to always ask questions. Growing up, I was a very shy student and never spoke up when I was confused. This led me to guessing, not putting in my all, and disappearing in a way. During college, I made sure to always check in with my professors and always ask questions in the classroom and via email. This ultimately helped me to gain success and learn a lot more.


CHARLESTON PIERCE

CHARLESTON PIERCE

charlestonpierce.com
Instagram: @sanfranciscomodelingcoach | @charlestonpiercepresents
Facebook: @CharlestonPierceSF | @CharlestonPiercePresents
LinkedIn: Charleston Pierce

As a native of San Francisco, whose earliest aspirations were set on sports, Charleston began his performing arts career at the San Francisco School of the Arts. He quickly pivoted his sports plans when he was asked to model for his high school crush's fashion show. Too afraid to venture this unchartered territory alone, Pierce asked his brother, one of 14 siblings, to join him on the runway. He was oblivious to fashion and was nervous beyond belief, but when he stepped onto the catwalk, the thunderous roar from the crowd was both surprising and invigorating! It was just the jolt of energy and confidence he needed to set the world ablaze.

Photos of dancing actors

Primed and ready, Charleston was discovered by Larry Hashbarger, former producer and director of Macy's Passport fashion show. Shortly after, Charleston was signed by Bay Area's leading modeling agency, Grimme. He has maintained a consistent presence in the Bay Area and Los Angeles entertainment industry for over 30 years; as a model, actor, fashion show producer/choreographer, author, and public figure. He has appeared in international circuits by way of billboards, movies, print ads, fashion shows, commercials, and was the first "Pepsi Man" superhero for the Japanese commercial TV market. Throughout his career, Charleston has worked with Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Versace, Calvin Klein, Nike, Reebok, Cadillac, T-Mobile, and many more.

In 2007, he launched Charleston Pierce Presents, a vehicle for the production of fashion shows, video, film, music, dance, and entertainment; promoting non-profits, designers, and local talent. Through this endeavor, he later co-hosted the Bay Area Vista TV show, produced Hat Walk fashion show, Macy's Passport (model, runway coach, and producer), runway coach and model trainer for the Junior League of San Francisco, Curtsey Coach for the Cotillion Club of San Francisco, and has worked with countless other non-profits around the greater Bay Area. Charleston has further received recognition for his mentorship with Bay Area youth in the SFUSD and his direction and coaching of (M-A) yearly high school PTS fashion show in Menlo Park.

People dancing

Since 2009, at the suggestion of his mentors, Hashbarger and Natalie Smith, Charleston expanded his natural proclivity to teaching and coaching by creating weekly model workshops to build one's self-confidence and poise on a universal platform. Giving his students the same opportunity to hear that thunderous roar of applause as he did some decades ago. Whether on the job, in your home, walking down the street, or on a runway, "Everyone is a model!"

In 2012, Charleston authored his first book, Star Walk. A Runway Walking Motivational Book. These experiences have opened the door for many opportunities for Charleston to showcase his skills and talents, and most importantly, give back to the community.

As the world faces pandemics of many kinds, Charleston continues to evolve and equip his students with the tools to adapt and create in every climate. His latest venture of Models Unite for Black Lives has been recognized by notable local and national publications.

Photo of models

Charleston created a classroom and then went back to the classroom, currently pursuing a degree in Fashion Merchandising at CCSF. He has also offered the course, "The Business of Modeling" at CCSF, for those students seeking a career. He has since modulated from the runway to the behind-the-scenes roles of fashion show producer, creative director, and industry coach. He is a model-spokesman and advocate for the Bay Area fashion community.

2008 - "Man of the Year," San Francisco's Lymphoma & Cancer Society (nominee)
2010 - "Best Fashion Show Producer & Creative Director," Bay Area Fashion Awards
2010 - "Making it Happen" award, FYMO
2011 - "Creative Director of the Year," San Francisco Fashion Awards
2012 - "Touch of Class" award for service and inspiration to the community
2016 - "Certificate of Honor," Board of Supervisors City and County of San Francisco
2017 - "Certificate of Honor," Board of Supervisors City and County of Oakland
2018 - "Best Visual Arts Display," CCSF (1st Place)
2019 - "Angel Awards," Take Wings Foundation

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
Resilience is essential. I have found that the best way to adapt to the current pandemic is to sustain, educate myself on all of the latest COVID-19 protocols, execute safety measures and restrictions accordingly, and exacerbate all of the possibilities to offer a sage and creative space for the talent I work with. From a literal perspective, talent is encouraged to "stay home" if they feel sick, masks are mandatory, temperatures are taken, sanitizing stations available, class sized have been reduced for social distancing, online workshops and 1:1 training are now being offered along with virtual fashion shows.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself continuing to create, coach, and develop talent by producing national and international shows. My goal is to continue growing professionally as an expert and key contributor in the fashion industry as a choreographer and model coach - ultimately leveraging my knowledge and expanding my brand with increased visibility online.

Photo of men walking on bridge

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
Work-life balance is a part of everything I do. It's a consistent flow of gratitude, breathing, and relaxation. I achieve balance by being mindful and present. I constantly acknowledge mentors, teachers, etc. that paved the way and encouraged me to do what I do. I listen to my body. Whatever it says to do, I do. When I need to recharge, I recharge.

Dancers

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I was proud to be a part of the CCSF Unity Fashion Show, which was produced and taught by Natalie Smith. I was able to share my experience with CCSF students from a 180 degree perspective with a calm demeanor. I knew it had to be a team effort because I had been a part of every aspect of the show from the program, modeling, production, to later teaching. I have real roots at City College. CCSF deserves a lot of love. They have a plethora of amazing industry leaders as speakers and so much more. Special thanks to Natalie, for sharing her unwavering support, encouragement, and knowledge during my entire career as well as at CCSF. Her excellence and mentorship are awe-inspiring. Also, thank you to CCSF fashion instructors Arcadia Maximo, Priscilla Fong, Tony Bravo, Sylvia Rubin, Kelly Armstrong, and Diane Green for inspiring me to always be my best and for being there to guide me through the complex milieu of the fashion industry with ease and grace. You have been incredible instructors with life lessons both inside and outside of the classroom. Your passion for teaching and your dedication to your students is obvious in everything you do. I feel so blessed to have been placed into your classes. I hope you know the priceless impact you are making on so many lives.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
The biggest lessons I carried into my daily life are to always be prepared, check and fine-tune your work, proofread, be thorough, be professional, and be sufficient. Lastly, surround yourself with like-minded people; remember that we can't do this alone. We are a team!

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
The greatest tip I can give to students is if you're not passionate about it, then why are you doing it? If you love it, they you'll want to do it for the rest of your life. Research and ignite your desire to learn. Make your learning your lifestyle. From the aspect of success in business, an internship is key. Always be willing to help someone in the industry. In the beginning, try not to be concerned with money as much as learning and savoring professional knowledge. Volunteering is free and the results are priceless!

Models in front of building

DREA CELESTE

DREA CELESTE

Drea by Design
Lilac and Cognac
Instagram: @drea.bydesign | @lilacandcognac

As a little girl, I've always been fascinated with textiles and all things colorful and found myself intrigued with crafting. Entranced and hypnotized every time I made a collage, handmade jewelry, or restoring furniture. I struggled to find my medium in my 20's; learned a little about photography, took up watercolor for a couple months, gave scrapbooking a really big chance and eventually always came back to all things fashion. I decided to enroll into fashion design classes and founded my lingerie line, Lilac and Cognac, in 2019 to keep my mind busy after a dark time in my life. I truly believe that fashion and my love for it gave me a new reason to believe in my own power and value. Surrounding yourself with peers that contribute to your growth is what I love so much about styling and the creative community. Since enrolling in styling classes at CCSF, my art has been published in several magazines including an international cover for Maxim Mexico. I continue to grow my client list by networking with local brands through social media.

Cover of Maxim magazine

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
I believe that this time, though very difficult, can be seen as a gift to maximize your craft and business. If you've been wanting to take up crochet or maybe teach yourself the ins and outs of photoshop, this is the time! A lot of entrepreneurs are beginning to launch their business and looking to network, which is the perfect opportunity to inspire others through our medium.

Where you do you see yourself in the next five years?
In five years, I see myself having a workspace where I host photoshoots for clients or style editorials and commercial campaigns for various local brands and the occasional big name brand. Other gigs would include designing bespoke wardrobe for celebrity music videos, assisting the wardrobe designer to a network streaming original movie or series, and hosting events such as fashion shows.

Model

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
It's really important to have a routine and stick to what feels right to you. Lists are HUGE for me. I have three different journals I carry around everywhere: my planner, my journal, and a notebook which all serve a different task and idea, yet are cross-functional. (Confused? Me too.) But it works for me! I meditate, read, and plan out my day in the morning for at least 30 minutes and try not to pay attention to socials until at least noon, after taking my pup for a walk and have eaten breakfast.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?

Cover of Genzo magazine

My fashion film short from Ms. Nat's class is one of my most favorite sets to date. The visuals from that project are so powerful - the casting was on point and the vibe on set was so pure and full of laughter. The premise to this visual tantalizing showcase unveils the truth of women and their muted sexuality in the media.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
I actually keep a wallet-sized picture of Ms. Nat in my pocket at all times. She is a true queen bee! The 'Clothes Off My Back' challenge was one of those projects that I really struggled with, but after leaving the program, I realized that if mastered and utilized properly, it can actually be what distinguishes your own personal touch in a diluted world of images.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
Treat your professor as an employer and every assignment with detail-oriented commitment. Network with creatives on Facebook groups, especially small business owners. You'll be surprised with how many positive responses you get!


FATIMA BIAYE

FATIMA BIAYE

I am a fashion stylist based in San Francisco. I've freelanced for various brands (Levi's, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Ulta, Maxim Magazine, GQ, and more) for many years and recently transitioned into a full time styling position for Gap Inc.

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
With a career in a fashion, I've been taught that change is inevitable and being able to pivot and adjust from the norm is crucial. This pandemic did exactly that for me, I was able to take much needed time out for myself to both create and reflect. I started an online shop where I sell curated thrifted items and I've been collaborating with fellow creatives on some fun projects.

Models in the field

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself styling for a major TV show. I've always admired the development of a character on a show and how much fashion plays a part in really telling a story.

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
In a creative field, balance is important. For self-care, I spend time with family and friends to keep me grounded. I also spend my time doing elaborate skincare routines, reading, and going thrifting as much as I can.

Three models

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
A project that I worked on at CCSF that I am proud of was the annual fashion show. Just working on the show, from the preproduction stage to the final curtain, was both hard and rewarding. Getting to work behind the scenes and seeing all your hard work come to life is exciting.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
Being organized, networking, and paying attention to the world around you because all those things heavily influence the styling work I do today. Those skills will continue to stay with me throughout my career and personal life.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
Take every opportunity that comes your way. Work on all of the fashion shows and store presentations. Utilize the talents of your fellow students - work together to create something great.

Three models

NICOLE LIPPMAN

NICOLE LIPPMAN

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
I've been using this time to better anchor myself. Since the last few years have been a non-stop hustle, I hadn't had much time to create a true business plan or goals for my personal and wardrobe/fashion styling. I've also been furthering my studies in Enclothed Cognition, the systematic influence of clothing on its wearer. In fact, I now offer my personal styling clients a service that does a bit deeper to get at the roots of the issues that are holding them back from being the best versions of themselves.

San Francisco Magazine cover

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I have always touted "Community over Competition," so I would love to create an inclusive community of stylists and clients who support one another for my personal styling, as good support is CRUCIAL for success. My dream would be for the community to host networking and educational events from various professionals we admire. I'd also like to publish an e-book or something, but my first step is starting back up my newsletter. My goal is to have a national commercial under my belt and maybe another IMDB credit or two for my wardrobe styling. I love the idea of creating a character's identity through clothing.

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
Until 2020, I didn't really practice self-care as much as I should have, and my body let me know I wasn't happy about this. I now make the time to exercise, even if it's for 5 minutes, every day. I also started eating better in 2020, learning there is no such thing as bad food. Changing my perspective has changed my attitude for the better. I'm also reading before I go to bed, which inspires me so much. Funnily, it's all non-fiction, but it helps me see how everything is connected. My favorite example of this is the belief that our capitalistic society is a meritocracy, which is why designer labels and logos have become adored.

Model

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I'm proud of almost all my work in all of my classes, as each class has taught me so much. I proved to myself that I could do anything, even writing, if the passion is there. That said, a photo from my final project for Advanced Styling won an international photography award. It was even published in PDN Magazine, so that project definitely has a special place with me.

Bob Cut magazine cover

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
Honestly, I am constantly using the skills I was taught in class. I use my fashion writing skills for my newsletter. I use my image consulting, styling, and visual merchandising for my personal and wardrobe styling. I also use my visual merchandising skills to resell my clothes. I ran a pop-up out of my old studio and now I do some light reselling online.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
My biggest tip for students is to take advantage of your opportunity! Use the classes to produce content that you'd want in your portfolio or resume. Network as much as you can! Not only have I used other students to assist me, but I have had former classmates recommend me for jobs they couldn't take. Make the time! Having a full-time job, or two, and being a student teaches you how to use your time more efficiently. I used to think I never had time to make any content, but the truth was that I was wasting a bunch of my time on reality tv shows. Last, but not least, push yourself. You won't see what you're truly capable of by playing it safe.

Model with sparklers

FAVI VEGA

FAVI VEGA

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
This pandemic has had a lot of tough times, yet my creative side has been enjoying it. In the beginning, I was free for three full months. It was difficult to find a routine, but once I did, my creative juices started flowing. I made sure to create moodboards and act on those moodboards by styling laydowns in my apartment. This daily project kept me looking for inspiration and practice laydown styling. I also reached out to other stylists and art directors to guide me in my small projects which was a small form of collaborating again. And it felt so good! Now that I am back at work, I have less free time, but I know that it is important for me to create/style weekly. It's an interesting time and everyone is experiencing it. I believe that keeping inspired and collaborating virtually is so important for us artists. Also, supporting one another and keeping each other going makes a difference.

Model

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In the next five years, I see myself styling for e-commerce and having my own personal styling brand. I would also like to have a strong personal brand with an apparel line.

Model

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
I keep my calendar organized and try to balance it out with work, personal projects, friends, and outdoor time. I look at my calendar for reference, but I'm usually good about taking a break when I need to or reaching out to my network if I'm in need of work. For self-care, I love a relaxing bath while reading fashion magazines. I enjoy collaging and creating mood boards for fun and to keep me inspired. I also love to be outdoors whether it's hiking or just sitting on a bench.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?

Gap clothing

I loved my time with the Fashion Department at CCSF. I have two that I am proud of. One was the final moodboard for Fashion Forecasting and the other was my Fashion Retail final presentation.

Model

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
I carried various skills that I learned from CCSF. From the Beginning Styling class, I learned how to build my styling kit, which is an active piece of all my jobs. Also, building moodboards and the resources I learned to use are things I still do for fun and for work. CCSF also taught me how to effectively work in a team environment - a key skill I use in my everyday life.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
CCSF has so many resources within the San Francisco community. Make sure you know what they are and try every opportunity you can. You'll quickly learn which opportunities excite you and this will be beneficial for your career in the long run.

Two models

Photo of Takumi Sudo

TAKUMI SUDO

I'm from Japan and lived in San Francisco from 2006 to 2009 to start my career in the fashion industry. I graduated from CCSF with a Fashion Merchandising degree in 2007 and then worked as a sales associate at Emporio Armani in San Francisco for a year.

Photo of Takumi Sudo and friend.

After going back to Japan, I joined the Sazaby League in Tokyo and started working as a sales associate in the Ron Herman (specialty store originally from Los Angeles) flagship store in 2009. After two years as a sales associate and one year as an assistant store manager, I was transferred to the buying office and was assigned as a men's assistant buyer in 2012. I started traveling to Paris, Milan, and New York twice a year on buying trips. In 2016, I was promoted to a men's buyer of a specialty store in another division of the Sazaby League, La Kagu. I engaged in private label production and store merchandising. In 2019, I transferred back to the Ron Herman division in their Los Angeles office as a visual merchandiser and communicator between Japan and LA.

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
I am most careful not to get infected with COVID. I believe that one of the reasons for the outbreak of the Coronavirus is related to environmental issues. Global warming is one of the issues we should be most concerned about right now. The negative impact on the global environment in the fashion industry is huge. As a creative retailer, I believe that it is very important to achieve both carrying out manufacturing and business that attract customers with new and exciting ideas. As an individual, I have started to use less plastic in my daily life and take plant-based foods/drinks more than ever.

Photo of fashion workspace

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
It is said that Japan has less effort to address environmental issues than other developed countries. But in recent years, the number of companies that are conscious of global warming has increased and the company I work for is one of them. The company is trying to focus on activities that consider global warming and environmental issues, so I would like to increase new experiences through working along with the company's direction. In five years, I want to be an entity that can play an active role including earth-friendly initiatives.

Photo of Takumi Sudo and child.

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
I used to go to work every day, even on holidays, but life has changed since I was born. I have a two-year-old son. Playing with him and going out with my family refreshes me and that also leads to my self-care. The only good thing under this COVID situation is that I have more time to spend with my family. Family first.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
Creating a fashion show with my classmates. Fashion Show Production was the biggest project I participated in. Not only did I learn how to produce a fashion show, but I also learned how important teamwork is. Forecasting trends by watching videos of runway shows from Paris and Milan collections in Fashion Forecasting inspired me to become a buyer. The internship at Emporio Armani gave me an opportunity to have a full-time job after graduation. There are many types of classes and assignments, such as styling classmates, visual merchandising as a team, and individually designing accessory projects. It was impressive that all of them were practical and interesting.

Photo of Takumi Sudo and friend.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
I learned so many things about the fashion industry at CCSF, but English was the most important learned skill for me. Learning fashion in English was very hard for me and I had never worked in the fashion industry before. Taking fashion classes and working in a retail store after graduation, trained my language skill a lot and was constantly utilized even after returning to Japan. That experience led me to my current job. CCSF was the place where my passion for fashion grew. I always felt inspiration from Durand's outfits and they were one of the reasons I love clothing and working in the fashion industry.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
I spent a lot of time exploring clothing stores, thrift stores, luxury brand stores, checked out runway shows, and read articles from fashion magazines between classes and assignments. Project Runway inspired me a lot. Seeing something great and beautiful definitely trains your eyes. Knowing what's happening in the industry helps you maximize your learning experience at CCSF.

Photo of Ron Herman store display windows.

Photo of Konrad Janus

KONRAD JANUS

I was born and raised in Poland. After graduating with a B.A. in Marketing and Management, I moved to San Francisco to pursue education in fashion, which led me to the CCSF Fashion Merchandising program. Upon my graduation in 2007, I landed an entry-level role in the marketing department at Saks Fifth Avenue, where I currently work as Regional Marketing Director. In my role, I oversee all events, customer initiatives, and marketing programs for the entire West Coast. During my career, I have also worked as a part-time instructor in the B.A. and M.A. Fashion Styling programs at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.

Photo of model on runway.

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
The pandemic and its implications on the retail and fashion industry made me even more convinced of the value of continuous education and self-development. Learning new skills and reinventing yourself professionally to stay relevant with the changing times is now more important than ever.

Photo of Konrad Janus and friends.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
Still working in the fashion and retail industry. I am passionate about my job and hope to continue growing in my role at Saks Fifth Avenue or potentially shifting to another department or role within the company in order to broaden my experience.

Photo of model in red dress.

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
I value my personal time and pursue a lot of hobbies, one of which is travel. I'm very fortunate that my company offers great benefits including time away from work hence, most of my free time is spent traveling. I love exploring and learning about different cultures. Having family all over the world gives me another reason to explore different countries and continents. Most recently, I also picked up hiking as a hobby and learned how much there is to discover close to home, even within the borders of your own city.

Photo of models on runway.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I'm so proud of so many assignments from CCSF. The 3 years I spent at the college was a constant challenge and joy of learning. I have learned so much from the wonderful teachers in the Fashion Department including Natalie Smith, Diane Green, and Durand Gurion, just to name a few. But one of the assignments that left a lasting impression and led me to my current career was the fashion show production.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?

Plenty. The education at CCSF was focused on real-life, hands-on experience. As I mentioned previously, the Fashion Show Production class provided me with knowledge still relevant to this day. Over the years, I have produced close to 100 fashion shows at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
Take as many courses as possible and maximize the time you spend at CCSF. It is a great way to discover your interests and to prepare yourself for what the future professional life has for you. Try to take courses outside of the main area of your students to enrich your future work skills.

Photo of models on runway.

Photo of Inna Sky

INNA SKY

Inna Sky Fashion Stylist
Etsy Shop
Instagram: @visualista_

I was born and raised in Saint-Petersburg, Russia, and worked as a lawyer for nine years before I moved to San Francisco four years ago to pursue my dream of working in a creative field. I studied cinematography, arts, and graphic design, along with working towards an AS in Fashion Merchandising. I graduated in May 2020. For the past two years, I've been working as a personal stylist and assisted stylist for their clients like Walmart, Allbirds, North Face, Fitbit, and LARQ. I opened an Etsy shop during the quarantine to sell my greeting cards, oil paintings, and stickers. I'm also a member of the Art Guild of Pacifica.

 

Photo of model in white dress.

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
I think a pandemic is an excellent opportunity to take your career to the point where you could work remotely even after the lockdown is over. It will give us so many options for life and work balance in the future.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In five years, I see myself as an art director, working in a team to create pioneering visual products.

How do you balance your personal and business life, and what do you do for self-care?
I try to make a schedule where I have an hour in the morning and a couple of hours in the evening for myself. I take a short walk, when I can, while it's still sunny in the middle of the day. I video call my friends and spend one evening a week experimenting with a beauty routine.

Photos of model in green dress.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I was very proud of the fashion forecast I did while taking the Fashion Forecasting class. It's amazing how accurate you can predict the trends when you pay attention to the news, trends, and people on the streets.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
Absolutely everything I learned from the Fashion Styling class. Overall, the education at CCSF was very life-related. You keep using it and build new skills with a personal touch upon it.

Any tips or advice to students to maximize their learning experience at CCSF?
It might sound extra, but every time you get an assignment, like creating a fashion report, forecast, photoshoot, make it more than once after you submit it. Use the provided templates and keep practicing. You will get better. You will have cases for your portfolio and feel more confident. Just imagine you did a fashion report for a classmate once and then you've got a client. I was there. Fake it until you make it works. But believe me, at that time, I wished I had more experience.

Photo of model in black dress.

Photo of Tiffany La

TIFFANY LA

Born and raised in San Francisco, I am a creative designer with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Economics from UC Davis, a User Experience Design Immersive certificate from General Assembly and an Associate of Science in Fashion Design from City College of San Francisco. I have worked in finance, IT, and user experience before I found my way back to my first true passion, fashion. Currently, I am learning more about the fashion industry and brushing up on my technical skills to prepare for work. I hope to one day launch my own line of sustainability chic apparel. When I am not designing and we are not going through a pandemic, you can find me hanging out with my family and friends, working out, and traveling.

Photo of model in brown dress.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In 5 years, I would love to be designing daily streetwear for women in their 30s - 60s for a small, midsize, or mainstream brand. If I could also incorporate sustainability into it, that would be amazing.

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care?

I set up a daily schedule for work that I try as best I can to adhere to. After work, I close my laptop and force myself to relax!

Weeknights and weekends are times to catch up with family and friends (currently virtually) and books and shows that I want to indulge in. At times when I want more inner peace, I meditate, walk, and do yoga.

Photo of model.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?

I am extremely proud of creating a custom sheath dress, fit for my body, in the Garment Fitting class. Up until then, I was either creating garments out of muslin or assignment pieces out of fashion fabrics that did not fit me.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?

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I still use many of the skills I learned in FASH 138 Fashion Workplace and Career Essentials, including how to build a fashion portfolio and how to style oneself for a fashion interview. These skills helped me build out my portfolio and dress appropriately for virtual meetups with industry professionals. Other skills I still use include designing from inspiration, fashion illustration, and sewing.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?

Create and/or learn things that you are passionate about. Even if it is challenging or difficult, it is better to learn how to do something than just doing a simple project to get a good grade. It is in challenges, struggles, and hardships that we see how far we can go and we learn the most. Every step we take consciously and with intention is another step towards a future we want.

 


Photo of PAIGE MUGHANNAM

PAIGE MUGHANNAM

Witchcraft by Paige
Instagram: @calamity_caller

I am currently working at Old Navy as an Associate Technical Designer. Old Navy believes in the democracy of style, creating fashionable and affordable styles for the whole family to enjoy. They believe in inclusivity, opportunity, sustainability, and accessibility for all.

Photo of model in red dress.

I am a Bay Area native who has been sewing since 2014. Initially self-taught, I started taking classes on a whim and now have various fashion related degrees including Theatre Costuming and Fashion Design. I have worked with designers to help their visions come to life, have taught beginners how to sew, and am currently working as a technical designer at Old Navy. My favorite types of projects have intricate details and are challenging in either design or construction.

Photo of model on hill

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

In 5 years, I see myself excelling at my job as a technical designer. I am currently working at the associate level, so I am hoping I will be promoted and feeling confident in my roll making fantastic products.

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care?

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I balance my personal and work lives by setting boundaries as best as I can. I set firm rules with my manager so she understood my needs at the beginning of our relationship. The boundaries I've set aren't always able to be met, but setting the expectation early was important so my manager knows that when I do have to work late or answer an email on the weekend, it's an exception, not the standard. For self-care, I try to just ask myself at the end of the day, "What do you feel like doing?" and then do it. It sounds a little silly, but it's been working for me. If I feel like exercising, I will. If I feel like sewing, I will. If I feel like blobbing out in front of the TV, I will. Nothing is certain these days so I feel the best self-care I can do is just allowing myself to do whatever makes me happy in the moment.

Photo of model in red dress.

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?

It's hard not to be proud of my senior collection. I worked so hard for months to create a beautiful, well-tailored collection. It was an amazing chance to show off all the skills I've acquired over my years at CCSF and left me with some of my best work that I can put into my portfolio. While the fashion showcase ended up being very different than we initially intended (yay COVID), everyone pulled together to create a fun and amazing experience for the viewers.

Photo of model in blue coat

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?

Aside from my hard skills like patterning and apparel constructions, one major skill I've carried from CCSF is being open to learning from everyone. You may be the in the same classes together, but everyone brings their own experiences and perspective. When you're first entering the industry, you'll probably need a fair amount of guidance. Learning from multiple people helps make you a well-rounded employee and that much more valuable to the company. This is particularly true in FASH 138 Fashion Workforce and Career Essentials because it's possible your classmates are out applying for jobs while taking this class. It's really insightful to hear how others are applying and interviewing for positions.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?

Everyone has something to offer, including your classmates. You never know where you or your classmates will end up and this industry is smaller than it seems. Don't write anyone off and try to learn as much as you can from one another. One day, you may want a job at a place one of your old classmates works at or need someone with strong skills at your own job. Maintaining good relationships with others will only help you in the long run.

Photo of model in fairy costume

Photograph of Liz Scotta

LIZ SCOTTA

Liz Scotta
Instagram: @lizscotta
Pinterest: Liz Scotta

I grew up in Connecticut in the 1950s and 60s. My fashion career started when I was 13, spending my summer learning how to sew on a foot peddle Singer. My teacher had made everything in her wardrobe except her fur coat and bathing suit.  After high school, I applied but was rejected to the top New York fashion schools, including Parsons, Pratt, and FIT. I never lost my passion for fashion. I got side tracked. Twenty years in business as a secretary and another twenty years as an educator.  I’m now retired (4 years) and I go to school 3 or 4 days a week at CCSF. I’ve told people it’s my Country Club.  I’ve taken so many wonderful classes including Flat Pattern Making, Tailoring, Moulage, Copying Ready to Wear, History of Textiles, Fashion Illustration, Textile Design, and Styling.  My transcript of CCSF includes classes as varied as floral arrangement, Spanish, Italian, French, Printmaking and Quilt Making.

Photo of artwork hanging on wall

What are your thoughts and plans for adapting to the current climate during this pandemic?
The Pandemic has been both the toughest, but also the most creative time in my life.  For several months, I led a Monday Zoom Art Meetup for people to get up and be productive. I created a virtual vacation sketchbook collaging, watercoloring and/or drawing for every day for 3 months. I sewed 42 masks for friends and I made a Pandemic quilt. I subscribed to Zoom and organized weekly reunions and parties. I entered many art competitions and a sequined mask I created out of $.25 worth of fabric was accepted into the Craft Museum of Design. One of five self-portraits was accepted into the Pandemic Portrait Project and I have five images published in the de Young’s monthly Newsletter.  My biggest achievement was having my Zoom Meeting Collage accepted for the On the Edge show, which will be on view once the museum reopens, Fall, 2020. I will never forget the morning I received the notice that of 6000 pieces of art submitted I was one of 800 accepted.

Photo of Shakespeare Festival collage

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
In 5 years I will still be a student in CCSF but traveling to Europe, most specifically Paris, each summer. My third book on France and Paris will have been published. Perhaps I’ll have a fashion blog, a clothing line and/or a mentor/investor for a successful CCSF fashion student.

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care?
My life is balanced with an organized calendar and schedule. I make lists. At least one week a month friends are invited over for dinner as I love to cook and entertain. As a former secretary I can quickly send texts and emails, but I dislike talking on the phone. I try to limit the amount of news I hear, watch and/or read.

Photo of hanging quilt

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
I’m proud of my accomplishments at CCSF which include copying a skirt I purchased in Paris, tailoring a jacket, sewing over 30 quilts after studying with Sonia Barrington, Mary Mashuta and Roberta Horton at Ft. Mason Campus in the 1980s.

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?
The skills that enable me to do what I do include breaking down any assignment into its smaller parts. Plan and don’t wait until the last minute.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?
Tips? Share your thoughts and get to know your professors and classmates first hand.  CCSF has a wide variety of student with amazing backgrounds and experiences. Put the cellphone down. Give it a rest.

Photo of living room art collage

Photo of JJ CORTEZ

JJ CORTEZ

Instagram: @cortezstyling | @mrjjcortez

I am native Bay Area resident. I have a masters degree in School Counseling along with my Image Consulting and Fashion Styling degree. I started out my fashion journey as a fashion

Photo of model

designer and then transitioned into image consulting/fashion styling. I had lost my passion for sewing, but I still wanted to continue to be in the fashion world. I quickly realized that I could use my counseling skills along with my image consulting skills and merge both worlds. I have provided my eye for fashion and styling skills for Arcona Los Angeles (a skincare line) as well as for Elixir Design. I have styled for GQ Magazine and currently GQ Insider. My work has been published for Vogue Italia.

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self-care? 
It is a very fine line between balancing my personal and business life, but it's all on how organized you are. Organization is the key to success in your business and personal life. What I do for self-care is traveling, family, and daily meditation.

Photo of JJ CORTEZ working with model

Is there a project or assignment that you are proud of from CCSF?
All of my CCSF Fashion classes. I learned so much that I owe everything to all of my professors, especially Kelly Armstrong, Diane Green, and Natalie Smith. There are several projects that I am very proud of and learned so much. All of the projects I used in my portfolio to get my foot inside the fashion world. One of them is the Goodwill Image Consulting project with Kelly Armstrong. The first fashion production class with Diane Green in producing a full fledged fashion show showcasing Karen Millen and several fashion projects with Natalie Smith such as the music project and comic book hero just to name a few. 

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today? 
Definitely! Always be prepared, organized, and professional. All of my tools in my styling kit I learned from my fashion classes at CCSF and I always send a handwritten note or thank you to all of my clients and creatives I work with. All of my projects, about the

Photo of model in Raiders jacket

zeitgeist and trickle down and trickle up in fashion, I carry with me at all times. They are my go-to resources.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself styling for fashion magazines as well as a celebrity styling and image consulting here in the Bay Area, LA, and around the world. As well as continue my working relationship with one of the top skin care lines Arcona.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?
Always approach each project as if it was a paid job and always do your very best to produce a project that you can be proud of and most importantly include in your portfolio!

Photo of model with white horse

Photo of ALEX SZOENYI

ALEX SZOENYI

V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi has worked in several realms of fashion. As a writer, she has interviewed celebs such as Olivia Palermo, Giuliana Rancic, and Margherita Missoni, while also covering fashion trends and must-buys for several publications. As a fashion editor, creative director, and stylist, her work has been published in magazines such as Fashion Xchange Magazine and Embrace Magazine. Alex has also styled at Nordstrom, Stitch Fix, and Tailor. Finally she has sold handmade and vintage curated items online, as well as at mixed art events she has thrown in San Francisco.

Photo of model with furry boots

How do you balance your personal and business life and what do you do for self care?

Photo of four models

I feel that when you're an artist, your work life is woven into your everyday life. It's part of who you are and what you do, even on your off days, but it's imperative to take time to relax, practice self-care, and even to do absolutely nothing. Listen to great music, take a restorative nap, pamper yourself with a refreshing sheet mask, drink some tea, and just do things that restore what you've lost through stress.

Is there a project or assignment that you are most proud of from CCSF?

I loved creative directing, styling photoshoots, and putting together our group fashion show. I learned about all the details of a fab show - the theme, the right soundtrack, great models, location, even visuals that further deliver the message.

Photo of model in yellow dress

Were there any skills you carried with you when you left CCSF that you still use today?

Absolutely! Both the Fashion Styling and Image Consulting programs stress attention to detail, a dedication to flawlessness, and always being a professional, even if it's your first day on the job. Fashion is often given the sequin treatment, where a certain attitude and haughtiness is encouraged and even celebrated. But it's really all about talent and hard work. CCSF gave us the skills and the reality check one needs to succeed in this field.

Man on cover of Longbranch Saloon magazine

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I see myself continuing to write on fashion and style, selling vintage, and creating reworked vintage and new accessories. Within that realm, I would also like to continue to creative direct and style fashion photoshoots. Ultimately, I would also like to write books on fashion and pop culture history, particularly those focusing on Latinx, WOC, and San Francisco.

Any tips or advice to maximize your learning experience taking place at CCSF?

Read the materials, do the work. Don't be afraid to ask questions and reach out to your teachers. They're there to help and are proven success stories in fashion. Take in fashion from as many different sources as possible, and be willing to expand your understanding and experience of it. Learn from your fellow students and if you're in a group, do your part!

Losing Heart magazine article screenshot