Fashion Backwards: Bias Cut Keeps Weston Ranch Off Runway

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Flier on MUSD site for Fashion Show at Manteca High School.

Erika Carlson, Opinion Writer

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Flier on MUSD site for Fashion Show at Manteca High School.

The fashion show will give most MUSD students a chance to model clothes.

By Erika Carlson

Manteca Unified School District’s (MUSD) 9th Annual Fashion Show will be held 7 pm March 4, at Manteca High School. Students at Manteca, Sierra, East Union, and Lathrop high schools all have had the privilege to participate in the district’s fashion event. Each year, announcements are made at each one of these schools seeking students to audition as models to walk the runway for a possible once in a lifetime experience.

All of MUSD’s high schools participate in this amazing event. All, except for one: Weston Ranch.

Weston Ranch High School has been isolated from the rest of the district and left off the guest list for nearly 10 years. This fashion show is a time for students to partake in a great event that draws crowds of around 1,000 people and a place to allow students to perform in such a nonchalant and fun way. It also is a way for students to gain “real world” experience that educators say is so important.

East Union Senior April Gomez will model during the 2017 fashion show. Gomez said the event will give her a first look at a possible career.

“This is my first time doing it. I did watch it before and I enjoyed seeing the new styles from the stores, and watching my friends as they modeled. I plan to learn more about modeling, as in the clothes,” Gomez said, “how to work with the cameras, the walk, and the style.”

Lathrop High Senior Bryan Corona said the fashion show gave him a chance to meet people with similar interests.

“I actually just experienced a lot of connection with people and being able to, I guess, meet others. That’s basically why I enjoy it so much,” Corona said. “I just hope I at least come out this second time, enjoying it like the last, and I suppose, get recognized,” Corona said.

Gomez and Corona gain something from the talent show that you can’t get in a class, that Weston Ranch has been and will denied again this year.

Originally, the district fashion show started with an ROP Fashion class, in which the students learn how to create and to design their own clothes that also are put onto the runway. Weston Ranch has never had this class up until this current year, which could be a reason that the school has never been invited for such an opportunity. According to fashion show organizers, all schools (except Weston Ranch) are given buses to attend the fashion class that is only available at Manteca High.

Angie Anaya, the fashion teacher at Manteca High, CTE Merchandising and Interior Designer, and the FIDM Fashion Club Advisor for the show, has been watching over this production since the inauguration. Anaya stated to The Prowl that the assembly for the show is solely based on the students in the clubs’ work.

The staging for the runway platforms was built when the production began by Manteca’s woodshop class. The design was made to be interchangeable, which gives the students the ability to alter the runway whichever way desired, and make the scenery new and fun each year. New props also are created by the students depending on the theme of show. This year’s theme is nature. “This is a chance for them to produce a show from beginning to end, and all the different components dealt with having to work with each other, and their community. The marketing techniques, runway backdrops, hands on skills, really, any kind of industry, specifically fashion, could help them with this experience,” Anaya said.

Since it’s a student-made project, the fashion classes are the only ones in charge of recruiting. Anaya said, “I keep telling my students to include Weston Ranch every year.” Nine years later, it hasn’t happened yet. The reason, Anaya said, may be that Weston Ranch seems to be “too far away.” Anaya’s students either “can’t make the time” to stop by, “forget,” or “the students don’t have a car.” Since the fashion students all spend “extra time afterschool” to hold the auditions, it simply takes “too long” of a trek for them.

Weston Ranch Family and Consumer Sciences teacher Jeannine Wayman started a new fashion class in January at the start of the current term. Mrs. Wayman said that she remembers being asked in passing by Anaya about joining in the fashion show and responding according to how the event was presented to her. According to the event’s online flier, the show features student work and clothing from T.J. Maxx, Rue 21 and Pistols and Pearls Boutique among other clothing stores.

“I told Mrs. Anaya, ‘No,’ that my students would not be sewing anything well enough by then to enter anything in the fashion show. I assumed that it was about the students modeling their own creations,” Wayman said. “I was not told anything different.”

Wayman said she’s sure that Weston Ranch has several students who would be interested in participating next year.

“The benefits for Weston Ranch students are that they would learn some of the things that go into putting a fashion show together and participating. The drawbacks or difficulties would be time and distance,” Wayman said. “Our students have difficulty getting transportation to Manteca.”

Are the same buses available to every other district school available to Weston Ranch?

When it comes to the fashion show, Anaya said, “Anyone can go. All my students are encouraged to post it on social media, and I send emails out to all the teachers and staff.”

Anaya said, “I don’t know why Weston Ranch hasn’t been notified. I really hope they can be included sometime soon. It’s sad.”

Yes. It is.  Yet, nine years later, nothing has changed.

If you’d like to get a glimpse of the fashion show, it is 7 p.m. March 4 at Manteca High School, 450 East Yosemite Ave. Tickets are $5 per person.

After all, anyone can go.

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