SMC’s annual fashion show was held outside for the first time this year. The interdepartmental showcased the work of 10 student designers.

On a quintessentially perfect, balmy Santa Monica evening, the Santa Monica College (SMC) Fashion Program’s annual showcase of student work—LA Mode 2023—made a return to an IRL catwalk, for the first time since 2019. Held outdoors at the Core Performance Center courtyard on SMC’s main campus, the fashion show featured the work of 10 student designers whose work encompassed an eclectic mix of casual, cocktail, club, and avant-garde styles reflecting each designer’s tastes and inspirations. The theme this year was “Style & Substance IRL.”

The event, also the first outdoor LA Mode, was the result of an inter-departmental collaboration. The Fashion Show Production students carried out the event led by SMC fashion professors La Tanya Louis (LA Mode Show Producer and Collections Director), Lorrie Ivas (SMC Fashion Advisory Board-Industry Judge Director) and Wynn Armstrong, Technology Consultant. In addition, SMC photography students shot the show (including the photos shown here) and the designers’ look book photos, under the direction of SMC Photography Professors Josh Withers and Ed Mangus. Designer interview videos were produced and edited by media and communication students under the direction of Professors Gail Fetzer and Redelia Shaw. SMC’s photography, media, and communication students covered behind-the-scenes content up to show time. And, under the direction of Cosmetology instructor Brandon Ceballos, SMC cosmetology students created hair and make-up looks.

At the end of the fashion show, awards that had been pre-judged by a panel of judges from the fashion industry were announced: The Outstanding Collection Award went to Channel Guice Thomas for her collection “Channel Guice Collective”, which also won the Technical Achievement Award. Anna Miller and Jason Lee Dennis both received Honorable Mention in all categories for “Strawberry Afternoon” and “CO. LAB” respectively. Jung Huang won the Marketability Award and Sustainability Award for their collection “ACON.” Francis Tejas won the Creativity Award for “Earthly Crystallization.”

The event and creations on display were distinctly global, showcasing the talents of students who came to SMC from the Los Angeles area, from across the United States, and around the world to pursue two-year fashion studies at the college.

The seventh annual Style and Substance Award was also announced, honoring SMC Fashion alum Cimmi Cumes, Senior Design Manager at Mattel, Inc. and Fashion Advisory Board member for spearheading the intern partnership to provide training and opportunities for SMC students at Mattel. Last year’s honoree Brenda Cooper was also recognized in person.

The SMC Fashion Program offers Associate degrees and certificate programs in both Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising. The show was sponsored by the Magna Carta Foundation. Prizes were donated by Netflix, Tukatech, Aims360, Blick, and members of the Santa Monica Community, and other LA fashion industry supporters.

For more information about LA Mode, see and for SMC’s Fashion program: Fashion.