Spellbound at FIDM Debut 2016

On Thursday evening, April 7th, I made my final journey, for the week, into Palm Desert, California to attend the FIDM Debut 2016 during Fashion Week El Paseo, and again, the ten selected designers for the Advanced Fashion Design program did not disappoint. After receiving an Associate of Arts degree, students are chosen each year to participate in this 3rd year program. Participants are chosen based on overall grade point average, references, portfolio review, talent, skill level and formal interviews with Department Chairs from FIDM. The designers-to-be worked for over nine months to create the 10-12 piece collections, ranging in styles from sportswear to dramatic gowns.

This year, I had a difficult time writing my first thoughts as each collection was presented. The energy and anticipation under the tent was so contagious, I found myself listening in on others conversations about what they were about to experience - "I've been waiting for this show all week," says one patron. "I drove in from Hollywood to see this show. I've heard so much about it," says another.  I thought to myself, 'You're in for a great runway experience.' Just like I predicted, when the show began, I sat transfixed in my seat, unable to concentrate on writing, rather, I was left spellbound by the work of these talented, young designers. This year's student designers are: 
Francisco Flores, Jr., 
Danny Godoy,
Hannah Rock,
Sisi (Rychie) Zheng
 Shae Lani,
Alexandra Parel,
Duston Jasso, 
Francesca Lake,Yongjian (Tomy) Huang, and
Eniola Hundeyin (whom I had the pleasure of meeting at An Evening of Textiles at FIDM)

Designer: Francisco Flores, Jr. 
Collection Name: Encore (the response he hopes to evoke from the audience)
Admires: Alexander Wang, Christopher Kane and Miuccia Prada

Francisco Flores, Jr.

Designer: Danny Godoy
Collection Inspiration: A blend of classic looks from the 40s and 50s and showgirl pizazz.
Admires: Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel and Christian Dior

Danny Godoy

Designer: Hannah Rock
Collection Inspiration: Contemporary, special occasion womenswear combines sheer fabrics and baroque, metallic embroidery to create an ornate, yet delicate aesthetic.

Hannah Rock

Designer: Sisi (Rychie) Zheng
Collection Inspiration: From China, her works reflects that country's profound history of paper craft and the contrast between curved lines and rigid shapes.
Admires: Jean Paul Gaultier and Comme des Garçons

Sisi (Rychie) Zheng

Designer: Shae Lani
Collection Inspiration: Self-exploration and the search for balance in life.

Shae Lani

Designer: Alexandra Parel
Collection Inspiration: She designers wearable art. Her creative instincts also are stoked with more animated stimuli. Her collection juxtaposes crisp and clean with ornate and intricate.

Alexandra Parel

Designer: Duston Jasso
Collection Inspiration: Aquatic Flux - and tells the story of liquid transforming into solid, representing personal growth.

Duston Jasso

Designer: Francesca Lake
Collection Inspiration: Follows the evolution of a woman in bloom. It relies on colors of winter white, salmon, butterscotch and sky blue.
Admires: Elie Saab, Stephane Rolland

Francesca Lake

*My Personal Favorite*
Designer: Yongjian (Tomy) Huang
Collection Inspiration: Ancient Chinese architecture and the influence of Japanese origami.
Admires: Alexander McQueen and John Galliano

Yongjian (Tomy) Huang

Designer: Eniola Hundeyin
Collection Inspiration: The distinct style and matrilineal culture of the Tuareg people of Mali and Niger. That semi-nomadic lifestyle makes comfort a key feature of its apparel with characteristically loosely draped and protective from the elements.
I adored this two-piece by Eniola

Eniola Hundeyin

As many of you know, I am a proud graduate of the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. It gives me complete joy to be called upon by my former college to use my writing gift to support the efforts of the talented students who emerge from the fashionable corridors of FIDM. They are, after all, the future of fashion - an industry I've been involved with for over 30 years. FIDM is a private college for specialized professional careers in Fashion, Graphics, Interior Design and Entertainment. The college is headquartered in downtown Los Angeles, with other campus location in Orange Country, San Diego and San Francisco. FIDM is also home of Project Runway Junior (the competition series for teenage fashion designers of Lifetime Television), as well previous show airing like Project Runway, and Project Runway: Under the Gunn. FIDM was also featured on MTV's The Hills, starring FIDM student, Lauren Conrad. Some notable FIDM graduates include: Monique Lhuillier (own label), Pamela Skaist-Levy (Co-Designer/Founder of Juicy Couture), Kevan Hall (own label), and Trish Summerville (costume designer for Gone Girl, The Hunger Games).

For more information on FIDM Debut or FIDM, please visit the provided links. And hey, tell them Glenda sent ya {wink}
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Photographs taken by Phillipe Harrison and are the property of So What to Twenty!


  1. WOW!!!!!! They are so talented. THAT BLUE FRINGE DRESS!!!! i want it... Thank you for sharing this with us baby doll!!!

    1. Yes, that dress was very cool. I agree!

  2. Very dramatic styles! What fun! My favorite was thr yellow/orange sheath. To me that is a very wearable look!

    1. It was such a nice mixture of avant-garde and wearable.

  3. Oh my gosh! I can see why you were spellbound...the clothes are amazing!

    1. Yes indeed, Darlene, and I've only showed a taste.

  4. I LOVE that dress from Sisi (Rychie) Zheng - so gorgeous. What a fun display of style.

  5. So cool! I had no idea that FIDM did this - now pinned on my board of things to do so I can go next time! Also pinned a few looks to my "I Like Your Style" Board.

    1. Yes Sarah, it's such an optimistic show. You'll love it!

  6. Wow, Glenda all of these designers are gifted! How amazing it must have felt to be there. I can imagine the response was thunderous! Thanks so much for sharing!
    xx, Elle

    1. Yes Elle, amazing responses for all the designers.

  7. PS, the title of this is so apt. Spellbound! Yes!
    xx, Elle


Thank you for taking the time to comment, it really means a great deal for me to connect with my So What to Twenty friends. I hope you subscribed via email or by social media - I wouldn't want you to miss anything on our True Style journey. Stay True, Glenda