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Fashion Program Students Continue to Shimmer and Shine


Trenton, N.J. – It was a night for students to shine at Mercer County Community College's Trenton Campus. The Fashion Design and Fashion Merchandising programs, along with members of the Fashion Club, hosted “Art Night” on Dec. 5 at Trenton Hall to showcase their designs from the fall semester. The event combined a live window display, mini-fashion show, and mood board exhibit that captured the  artistic and creative visions of 50 students who are currently pursuing degrees in fashion at Mercer.

According to Allegra Ceci, coordinator for both fashion programs, the students organized the entire event themselves, right down to floral arrangements and refreshments.  “They are so excited.  It’s a chance for them to share their work," Ceci said, adding that some of the students are also interested in event planning.  "It’s all great background for the field."

Instructor Beth Dubrow, herself a graduate of the Art Institute of New York, shares Ceci's pride in the accomplishments of this group. "They started the semester threading a sewing machine. We are now working on draping and pattern-making." Dubrow notes that she and Ceci, both of whom have backgrounds in the industry, know what four-year schools require and are making sure that students have a foundation in these skills when they transfer.

Second-year student Tashanique Purnell has had a productive fall semester and was delighted with the opportunity to showcase her work. "I have made so many things and I am getting so much better," Purnell said, adding that she has even begun to design clothing for private clients after advertising her seamstress services on Craig’s List.  She is also designing an accessory line, which includes jewelry, purses and cell phone cases.

Ceci notes that more and more students are establishing themselves on Etsy.com, a website where artists, designers and crafters can display and sell their work.  “It started as an independent project with one student. The site is an excellent way to share work with a larger community," Ceci said.

All the students expressed excitement about their futures and the preparation they are receiving at Mercer. Second-year student Daniel Natalo-Lifton, who commutes to Trenton from Hunterdon County, started out at Raritan Valley Community College, but transferred to Mercer to study Fashion Merchandising.

“I have really come into my own here,” Natalo-Lifton said. “The skills I am learning will help me transfer with confidence. Community colleges are the wave of the future. They are an economical way to establish your footing and progress to the next school and a job.”

Natalo-Lifton notes that he has come to love the city and the space where MCCC students do their creative work.  Envisioning an expanding artists’ presence in Trenton, he said, “Where artists go, good things follow.”

Sophomore Alyssa Mooring, who has modeled in New York, is pursuing her passion for fashion with great purpose.  “It’s what I have always wanted to do,” she said.  Anticipating her May 2014 graduation, Mooring notes that she will be the first in her family to graduate from college.  She plans to transfer to a fashion school in New York, and eventually head to the West Coast.

Another sophomore, Corey Flounoy, who originally studied Criminal Justice at Mercer, is equally thrilled with the program. “This is my calling. I make high-end street wear. It’s for men and women. It’s kind of androgynous. It’s ever-changing.”  Flounoy has already declared his intent to participate in the Fashion Design Program’s Senior Collection Runway Show in April.

Ceci says bold designs by Flounoy and other students are just the kind of fearless, creative energy that she wants the program to inspire.  “We want students to get a solid foundation, while also finding ways to express themselves in their designs.  People can count on some great fashions on the runway in April.”

Students Alysa Mooring, who modeled
her clothes as part of the runway
show, and Daniel Natalo-Lifton.

Fashion/Apparel Design Program Brochure

Fashion Merchandising Program Brochure

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Learning and modeling, from left, students Brielle Bikowski, Audrey Zoschak, model Capri Wise, students Alysha Mooring and Nora Okoro, and model Andrea Hagins.
Second-year student Christine Guillame, left, with Fashion Program Coordinator Allegra Ceci. Guillame's mood boards are on display behind them.
Live models greet guests in Trenton Hall's storefront window display.
Second-year student Tashnique Purnell, center, with models Capri Wise, left, and Andrea Hagins.
Qaysean Williams with his custom-designed shoes.