“Fashion is the only thing I ever wanted to do,” says Cheryl Des Vignes, a senior at Los Angeles’ Otis College of Art and Design. “I would sew dresses for my dolls and stuffed animals with my grandmother when I was a little girl.” This spring, Des Vignes will graduate and pursue a job designing in womenswear in Los Angeles. Before graduation, however, Des Vignes will take part in a runway show where the students present their best designs under the mentorship of leading fashion designers.
I spoke with Meister and his student Des Vignes about the experience and the process of creating a garment, from sketch to runway.
This high profile gala event includes leaders of Los Angeles’ local design and fashion industry. This year, renowned costume designer Albert Wolsky, couture designer Chris Chang, and industry leaders in each category will mentor students through the design process of one-of-a-kind garments. David Meister, Zaid Affas, Claire Pettibone, Red Carter, as well as designers from Illia, Michi, and Jessica Simpson all have mentor projects that will hit the runway this May.
David Meister on the business of fashion
“Look, this is a business. It’s survival of the fittest. You’ve got to be passionate and ready for anything. You have to be creative and able to change with the ever-changing fashion world, but all the while remember that you’re looking to create a sale, which doesn’t happen until the cash register rings.”
David Meister on what he gets from students
David Meister on how to wear a cocktail dress or evening gown
“Try something on that you wouldn’t normally think you’d wear. Make sure you feel comfortable in the garment. And definitely make sure you have the right undergarments when you’re trying something on. An undergarment can go under anything.” Des Vignes adds how Meister underscored just how important fit is to evening wear. “You lose half your sales in the fitting room,” she says, echoing Meister’s imperatives.
Another one of Meister’s imperatives: “Laugh hysterically everyday.” And so, one designer passes the torch, (or the fabric shears) to another.
The Otis College of Art and Design Fashion Show and Gala will take place at the Beverly Hilton on May 6.