Photos By: Hayley Hart/City Magazine
The fashion design program at LBCC teaches students how to use their creative talents behind the sewing machine and behind the computer screen. Program director and instructor Pamela Knights has been teaching at LBCC for 16 years. Prior to instructing at LBCC, Knights worked with fashion design company Ocean Pacific for swimwear and active apparel. Knights teaches the hands-on sketching, pattern making and sewing classes, while instructor Chantel Bryant teaches computer applications in the fashion program. Students learn both necessary skills in the modern fashion world to achieve the main goal of the program, which Knights said, is for students to get a job.
“We try to expose them to a couple really good university programs that we think very highly of,” Knights said. “A couple weeks ago I took them on a bus to Cal Poly Pomona to learn about the fashion merchandising program there. We try to help them to get a degree or to get a vocational certificate and then go get a job.”
Much of the materials used for students’ assignments come from donations from alumni and members of the LBCC community.
“We get fabrics from different sources. Often it’s from manufacturers in the fashion industry and they have ends left or they cleaned out a sample room and they have some amounts of fabric they don’t need or don’t have room for and they donate it to us,” Knights said.
One man in particular continually donates to the fashion design program. “One donation was from a man who had a tailoring business at one point. He doesn’t have his business anymore, so he is slowly parting with his beautiful wools and his silks and will bring us a stack every so often.”
Knights and her staff do their best to assist students without the financial means to pay for costly fabrics. “We put (the donated materials) in the fabric room, and if the student doesn’t have money for a project, they can go down there and get fabric. And in trade, they give us an hour a week to help organize the room,” Knights said.
The students appreciate this openness to assisting students throughout their education. “Our instructors are very helpful and have so many connections to industry professionals,” said Tavauna Clark, 23, a fashion design major, about her experience thus far in the Fashion Design program. “[It’s] one of my favorite parts about the program, and the alumni come back and tell us about their experiences.”