Houston Community College creating future red carpet designers with evening wear course

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Monday, March 4, 2024
HCC creating future red carpet designers with evening wear course
Some HCC students have their sights set on Hollywood, hoping to see a celebrity in one of their designs on the red carpet some day! Given their fashion expertise, these are the trends they expect to see on Oscars Sunday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Houston Community College students are setting their sights on Hollywood and mastering the skills it takes to make a perfectly-tailored evening gown.

In HCC's fashion design and fashion merchandising program evening wear class, students learn all about designing a gown fit for a red carpet.

"A lot of our students join our program having little-to-no knowledge whatsoever in terms of sewing, draping, drafting a pattern," fashion designer professor Vi Hua said. "Once they've got their footing on the core basics, they decide which area of the fashion sector they want to go to."

One of those sectors is evening wear, which is all about creating a once-in-a-lifetime look.

SEE ALSO: Oscars fashion through the years: Every dress worn by every best actress winner

"Evening wear is where they are going to learn the core foundations that are going to create anything from bridal looks to a red carpet look to cocktail wear," Hua said. "They pretty much learn how to design it from paper and bring it all the way to life."

Hua said it's considered an advanced-level course as students learn to create completely custom designs that are perfectly-tailored for whoever is wearing them.

Take an inside look at HCC's evening wear course and see the students' designs in the video player above.

"Evening wear takes that extra special care to creating that look that's just right for the person wearing it," Hua said. "Everything from creating a beautiful fit that's custom made and tailored to them, rather than just kind of being mass produced."

"The fabulous thing about evening wear is that you can dream of the craziest dream dress that you want," student Estefania Espindola said. "You value those dresses because if you don't know how to make them, you would say, 'Why are these dresses so expensive?' It's not just the fabric. It's the hours of labor."

Another student shared her patterns pinned to a mannequin, showing just how technical evening wear designs can be.

"There's a science. Having an outside that looks pretty simple might mean there's lots of layers and corsetry inside," student Maria Hammond said. "It's very much like engineering."

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Hua said one thing that makes HCC's fashion design program stand out is their collection of nearly 13,000 archival pieces -- dating from the 1700s to modern day.

"The students utilize those to create their researching process for their design aspects," Hua said. "We see things on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, nowadays of like 'How to do this?' and 'How to do that?' But then there's still that small little secret that you can only figure it out by looking at historical pieces."

Hua's students have taken the skills they've learned to create award-winning dresses and designs. Some students even have Hollywood dreams, hoping to see their gowns on the red carpet some day.

"It's my biggest dream. These dresses, I can see it on the red carpet," student Happiness Akinola said. "I sew to the level where celebrities can put it on."

Ahead of the Oscars on Sunday, March 10 -- one of the biggest red carpet events of the year -- ABC13 asked Hua and her students what trends they expect to see when it comes to red carpet fashion.

"I think fashion is making a big movement into sustainability, and we're actually probably going to see a lot more archival pieces from designers," Hua said. "So they're pulling out their looks from like the 90s, the 80s."

"Watching the other awards seasons leading up, I think that black and white is going to be pretty important," Hammond said. "Just because of the current atmosphere going on in the world, people are using that color as a statement for sure. So I think black is going to be pretty prevalent in the Oscars this year," Hua echoed.

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