Glitter and glam. That’s what fashion is to a lot of aspiring fashionistas, but for Vanessa Ibarra, it’s a dream come true.
“I have always had an interest in fashion design, but I never thought I would one day become a designer,” says Vanessa Ibarra, 25. She emigrated from Mexico City when she was nine and quickly learned English and went on to graduate from Santa Ana High School.
She went straight to Santa Ana College (SAC) and began tackling general education courses for an associate degree. After completing those requirements, she wondered about her career choices and remembered her roots. In Mexico City, her family operated a clothing manufacturing company that produces clothing for Gloria Vanderbilt. How could she jump into the trade?
A friend told her about SAC’s fashion design program, and she knew that was her direction. The program offered majors in fashion design and custom clothing, apparel production or fashion merchandising. With a desire and an interest in the fashion industry, now, all she needed were the skills and guidance of a solid program to continue the family tradition.
The program was challenging, and she wasn’t sure if she would succeed. But she worked diligently and mastered every process, including patter design.
Vanessa worked full time and attended college part time, so the 37-unit program took her a little over two years to complete. She credits her success to the instructors at SAC. “They have in-depth fashion design experience and helped to instill a sense of confidence.”
Vanessa is finishing up an internship with Haley-K, a contemporary design company under Fang Fashion, which is sold at Bloomingdales. “My experience has been amazing,” continued Vanessa. “Everything I learned in the classroom, I’m now applying in the fashion industry. SAC prepared me to tackle the fashion industry and succeed!” She has won first place awards for her designs at the 2006 Santa Ana College Fashion Show, a competition among fashion design students, and at the 2006 California Fashion Symposium, a statewide competition for college and university fashion design students. In June 2007, Vanessa graduated with her associate degree in fashion design and custom clothing. Her ultimate goal is create her own designs under her exclusive label, Ibarra.