With fashion week wrapping up in style capitals such as Los Angeles, Milan and New York City, Orange County was finally able to get a taste of this season’s up and coming trends.
In a four-night fashion weekend extravaganza, which lasted Thursday through Saturday, the Orange County Fashion Showcase was the talk of the town, spreading each event across the county.
Hair extensions went flying, 6-foot tall mannequin-like bodies raced across the hall and photographers bundled near the end of the catwalk flashed their cameras. The typical madness you’d expect to find at a fashion show.
Behind the scenes and glamour was founder of the OC Fashion Showcase, as well as designer of her own line, Deanna Hodges.
The reigning designer from Los Angeles, a Florida-native, wanted to expose fashion week in Orange County.
“I started fashion week in Orange County and it’s getting pretty big,” said Hodges.
Adding that she’s not trying to take away from the Los Angeles fashion scene, but add to it.
Not only does the showcase bring fashion to the county, it also helps raise money for charities. One in particular is the Orange County Fashion Trade Association, which was founded by Hodges.
Profits from the events go to the scholarship fund aiding students involved in the creative arts.
“We really want to support the arts. The world would be really dull without the creative arts,” Hodges said.
Circling the studio, radiating exuberance and setting the energy at Friday night’s Beach and Action Sports themed event in Costa Mesa’s Chuck Jones Center for Creativity, was producer of the event (and designer of his own swimsuit line) Parris Harris.
Harris has worked to produce exclusive fashion shows across the United States, casting models, photographers, DJs, designers and everything involved in putting on a showcase.
Watching Harris work his magic Friday night, from instructing the models on the catwalk to meeting with the planning committee, to taking photos with the events’ guests, demonstrated the epitome of a fashion guru.
“The world of fashion is in me,” Harris snapped, before jolting off backstage moments before the show was about to start.
First to hit the runway was surf-lifestyle clothing brand URT, named after the sound a sea lion makes.
“It’s a brand based on our love for the ocean and our pure love for everything that goes along with it,” said Spencer Row, a URT street team member.
URT’s models pranced the catwalk barefoot and in flip flops, showcasing URT’s laid-back attitude with classic, simple T-shirts and tanks with the brand’s sea lion logo. URT ended its segment with a bold look, which featured an all-over-print palm tree/flower button-up shirt and a unique straw-like bowtie.
Next was Brit Boy Fashions that proved every season is swimwear appropriate in Orange County.
Brit Boy showcased bikinis layered with utilitarian jackets, as well as day-to-night transitional beachwear attire.
Following the swimsuit line was Miss Jumpin, which exhibited various types of one-piece garments such as jumpsuits, overalls and rompers.
The jumpsuits gave a whole new definition for one-piece outfits.
Instead of a casual summery-breezy floral romper, Miss Jumpin has elegant and vibrant-colored garments that tout designer Marissa Lewis’ classy and sophisticated style.
Before the next designs hit the stage, host of night two of the OC Fashion Showcase, Sam Sarpong (actor and model for brands such as Mandela and Polo), called a break and encouraged attendees to check out the vendors.
Satisfying the crowd’s sweet tooth was Bubba Sweets cupcakes of Huntington Beach.
Informally known as “Bubba McGee,” the co-founder of the cupcakery passed out her infamous cupcakes on a decadent vintage display. A few flavors included a strawberry-filled cupcake called “Katy Perry” and a maple caramelized bacon cupcake called “Obamanation.”
Syrup Swimwear broke out all the stops in swimwear. Syrup designer Aaron Fust showed off his European flare through his feminine, sexy swimsuit pieces.
A part of the show that was a more familiar brand that closed off the fashion segment was Quiksilver. The brand is famously known for the surfboard-riding lifestyle apparel and producing other brands such as Que, Pirate Surf, Raisins and Roxy.
Quiksilver displayed their authentic signature beachwear looks suitable for any season in Orange County. Models in board shorts, that could be mistaken for a chambray material, strutted down the catwalk giving the illusion of a more formal attire. Quiksilver’s statement piece was a breezy chiffon red dress with a triangular back cutout.
This is only the fourth year Orange County has held fashion week but it’s only the beginning.
Guest appearances from season 10’s Project Runway contestant Alicia Hardestry and Sports Illustrated supermodel Sabrina Barnett has helped with the showcase’s success.
“We have a lot of really great people that are supporting fashion week that just want to be a part of it and it’s been growing a lot,” Hodges said. “Somebody just had to get it started.”