June 14, 2024

Fashion Design

Fashion Designs that Enlighten the Soul.

Into the Multiverse | Ka Leo

6 min read

Fashion Class

Professor Minako McCarthy (left) poses for a photo with senior fashion design major students Khat Bautista (center) and Quinn Curammeng (right) during their class on Friday morning.


Calling all fashion enthusiasts and connoisseurs: mark your calendars, because UHM’s fashion event of the year is just around the corner. The Fashion Design and Merchandising program is hosting its 58th Annual Fashion Exhibition on April 30 at the Campus Center Ballroom. 

Produced by the FDM 430 Fashion Show Production class, the showcase is titled “In the Multiverse,” capturing the diverse themes of the various collections being featured. The exhibition will showcase designs made by both senior and junior FDM students.

Fashion Sketch

Sketches, fabric, and tool kits filled the work area as students put the final touches on their pieces.


The junior collection titled “Celestial Grace and Lunar Abyss” is a swimsuit collection that will feature 13 designers contributing two designs each.

There will be three senior collections, each with five to six designs. Intended to showcase the culmination of skills honed through the FDM program. These collections consist of a variety of styles, encompassing both men’s and women’s wear. The senior designers also create one to two designs for the Hawaiian collection.

Unlike previous years, this showcase will not be in the typical runway fashion show format. As the name states, it will be an exhibition format, with the designs being displayed on both mannequins and live models. During the exhibition, the live models will be doing what is called a  “salon-style walk.”

“They will walk through the crowd and interact with people instead of just being visible from a seat and watching them walk on a runway,” UHM senior Quinn Curammeng said. “So it’ll be a little more interactive. It’ll be more visual.”

In addition, there will be booths based on each of the themes of the collections where the models will be live posing. There will be opportunities for photos with the models and interacting with the designers themselves. 

“This show is more, I would say unique,” FDM senior Khat Bautista said. “Because you kind of get more into the details of what the designers did and you get to talk more. Instead of just looking at the runways or you just see the garments, you get to look deeper.”

The designers already had a chance to showcase their designs at the Fashion Pre-Show held at Ala Moana Centerstage on April 6. This event acted as a semi-dress rehearsal for the designers, models and production crew, as well as a way to promote the actual exhibition to a large audience. 

“It was definitely pretty fun,” Bautista said. “Especially for the designers because it’s like a sneak peek of what they’ll do for the actual show.”

Fashion Drawing

UHM senior Hokumalie Serna carefully cuts patterns out of the vibrant purple cloth that will be implemented in her design pieces.


Typically, senior designers will begin working on their lines in the Fall semester, but FDM senior Hokumalie Serna had started planning hers in Summer 2023. She started coming up with ideas and illustrations to craft what she wanted her central theme to be. 

She eventually landed on creating a collection inspired by the artists that she listened to growing up, leaning into a nostalgic feeling. Titled “Listen to the Muse,” her collection contains six different looks inspired by music artists Queen, Prince, Selena, TLC, Destiny’s Child and Michael Jackson.

“I really wanted to honor the music artists that kind of inspired me and kind of made me who I am,” Serna said.

Looking back on her college career, Serna shared a remarkable shift from a beginner to a skilled designer. When she first started college, she admits she had never used a sewing machine. But through dedication and perseverance, she proudly crafted seven garments in just one year.

Serna says that despite what others think, she thinks of fashion as an art and a way to express your emotions and creativity. Serna hopes to one day open up a fashion business of her own. 

“I do want to own multiple businesses, hopefully nationally, and internationally,” she said. “I think I’ve always been intrigued with owning a clothing brand, and then one day I’d want to own a Hawaiian luxury brand.”

FDM senior Quinn Curammeng will also have her collection “Illusionistic Eidolons” featured in the show. She describes her own style as “K-pop aesthetic streetwear,” which is one of the main inspirations of her collection. 

As a long-time fan of the globally famous K-pop group BTS, Curammeng has used their music video aesthetics and themes as the focus of her collection. Some of the songs and concepts she used as inspiration include “Black Swan,” “Map of the Soul,” “Singularity” and “Wings.”

“It’s kind of meant to encompass like, fantasy inspirations,” Curammeng said. “Eidolons is also another word for an idol or someone who is very inspirational to you. And then illusionistic comes from the fact that I also really enjoy fantasy aesthetics and movie tropes.” 

It’s no coincidence that Curammeng’s designs are inspired by her favorite K-pop, as she also hopes to one day see her designs on a stage, music video or red carpet.

“So making couture performance outfits, stuff that really emphasizes different portions of the body,” Curammeng said. “As well as just maybe something for a music video. Like I think I also have a little bit of costume design under my belt currently, and I feel like I would like to see my garments maybe very far down the road, at least on the red carpet of some kind.”

The final senior collection that will be featured in this year’s exhibition is Bautista’s “Beyond the Veil.” As a lover of fun colors and bold patterns, Bautista wanted to explore a lot of different textiles in her collection. Making sustainability a priority, she bought most of her materials from second-hand stores and used repurposed materials as well. 

“Each of my outfits has kind of like a story behind it,” Bautista said. “And I wanted the woman’s look to be more of the central, the main focus. And then my male looks, kind of just in the background, like the supporting roles.”

Bautista started her fashion journey at a young age, inspired by watching her grandmother. She would sit beside her and make outfits for her Barbie dolls with the scraps of fabric from her grandmother’s costume making. 

Bautista hopes to one day become an independent fashion designer, particularly in slow fashion and with a focus on sustainability. She also wants to give back to her own community and work with aspiring fashion students. 

“I do hope to work with aspiring students who want to become [fashion designers], and I want to go back to hopefully my community in Kalihi,” Bautista said. “I know that there’s kind of a growing fashion program there, and I kind of want to work alongside with them.”

As the show draws near, everyone feels a mix of excitement and nerves, but the excitement wins out in the end.

“I’m looking forward to people seeing how much we’ve worked for this year,” Serna said “Like we literally spent a year working on this collection, each one of us, and it gives a chance for people and family to see how much we as seniors have been working on for the past four years of studying here.”


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