By Leydy Rangel Perez
The apparel merchandising and management students at Cal Poly Pomona are applying the “learn by doing” motto towards a donation of wedding gowns their department received.
In 2012, the Apparel Merchandising and Management Department at CPP received a donation of approximately 3,000 wedding gowns.
The gowns were styled by famous designer Monique Luo, who shared with the Apparel Merchandising and Management Department that she had traveled all over the world to market her collection of magnificent bridal gowns.
Luo wanted her designs to go to a school that had an apparel program of study in order for the students to benefit from her work.
Patty Mutz, administrative support coordinator for the Apparel Merchandising and Management Department, said she was excited for Luo’s gift.
“The students benefit by doing something new and different,” said Mutz.
According to Mutz, the donation gave students the opportunity to train in gown fittings and setting up the initial sale, all of which play important roles in the student’s education.
Rachel Varisco, a fourth-year apparel merchandising student, appreciates the first-hand experience that she receives from being able to work with the gowns.
“It’s one thing to learn something in a classroom, but it’s another thing to actually be doing it ” to actually be learning, having physical wedding gowns … just everything,” said Varisco.
Varisco also volunteers with the wedding gown sale and said she has gained experience by working with the brides and helping them with everything they need in order to ensure a great wedding.
“There’s a special feeling that I get when a bride comes in and she looks slightly discouraged because she’s been looking elsewhere for a gown, and so she finally finds one here … and sometimes they cry … they’re so excited,” said Varisco.
Varisco said that she has benefitted from the donation of the gowns because it has allowed her to learn to interact with customers, and she appreciates how lucky she is to have had her department be the recipient of the donation.
“It generous of the designer to do that ” to donate them to the students and the department,” said Varisco.
Varisco said she encourages all students interested to get involved and collaborate with the gowns because everyone can get something beneficial out of the experience.
The department received many styles, colors and designs for a bride to choose from. The styles range from traditional to ultra-modern gowns.
The colors range from white to ivory, creme or champagne. Some of the gowns have delicate pale flowers in pastel colors of blue, pink, ivory or white.
The gowns were hand-sewn with embellishments of either Austrian or Swarovski crystals, sequins or appliques on the dresses.
All of the items offered for sale are new, unworn garments, and they are sealed in plastic garment bags portraying the Monique Luo insignia and come in most sizes.
These gowns are sold to the general public on a first-come, first-serve basis on the second Saturday of each month or by appointment.
Lidia Mendoza, a second-year apparel merchandising student, volunteers for the bridal gown sales and said she has learned much more than just the sales side of the business.
“What I have learned about the wedding gowns is the business. It’s about volunteering, collaboration,” said Mendoza.
“Everyone has different skills sets, and we all learn from each other,” said Mendoza.
Mendoza says that the beauty of the wedding gowns is not only about their fashion but also about learning how to manage the business.
According to Mendoza, it is important for her to know how the entire fashion process is, and that is what her experience with the gowns has taught her.
“AMM is not only about the fashion, the shows, the excitement and the glamourous life. In fact, it is nothing like that. It’s about the business of fashion, it’s about learning how to manage the business, about the production and about the entire industry from beginning to end.”
The department sells the gowns for $99, and the couture gowns sell for $199.
Mutz said that the reason the gowns are affordable is because they want to give every bride the opportunity to have a beautiful wedding no matter what her budget is.
The proceeds from the gown sales go for educational supplies for the students, their online training and also for replenishing the scholarship accounts, according to Mutz.
“We were getting really, really low on our scholarship accounts, so we have a number of successful sales,” said Mutz. “All the money that comes in has helped the department tremendously.
Leydy Rangel Perez / The Poly Post
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