Palomar’s Fashion Merchandising & Design Program hosts its end-of-year fashion show on YouTube, in keeping with fashion industry practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAN MARCOS — Every spring, culminating a year of painstaking work by a team of faculty and students, the MODA Fashion Show provides a dazzling showcase of the Palomar College Fashion Merchandising & Design program.

But this year, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, MODA went virtual. On Friday, May 7, the pre-recorded event premiered on YouTube.

“I think COVID has made us all re-evaluate everything we need to do, and how we do it. That’s not a negative thing,” said Rita Campo Griggs, who teaches Fashion Merchandising and coordinates the annual show.

“We saw that the industry was doing their fashion shows virtually and putting them out on YouTube or on their websites,” she explained. “We took our cue from the industry and came up with our own vision of the production.”

Like nearly all of Palomar’s classes this spring, Fashion Merchandising & Design courses were provided in a remote format—”everything from beginning sewing,” said Griggs. “And the classes are full. They’re watching videos, meeting with the instructors, producing clothing, and now they’ve been able to share it with us for the show.”

To produce the MODA film, the fashion show team used a classroom on campus and took precautions while filming—for instance, limiting the runway to one model at a time.

Two of this year’s MODA designers, sisters Alejandra and Elizabeth Cisneros, said in an email that they have already put their classroom and fashion-show experience to use in launching a family business making clothes and accessories.

“We were pleased with the experience—the outcome was better than we both expected, since this was our first time seeing our designs worn and walked down the runway,” they wrote. “What we learned about the fashion industry while participating in MODA was that it takes so much time and work to complete a whole outfit … but it’s worth it at the end.”

To help produce MODA, students take a special course, which this semester included 16 students. The designs were submitted from students throughout the program.

“I think it was a good show,” said Griggs. “We’re always learning, and I think I can see a lot of positive aspects of doing a fashion show on tape. A live show is wonderful, but when you do one on tape and it has a storyline to it, it kind of lasts forever. It’s been good to reimagine what a fashion show can be.”