Jose Gonzalez was walking on Bruin Walk during winter quarter when he was flyered by a representative of the Fashion and Student Trends club, asking him to be a model in their annual show.
A third-year biology student, Gonzalez said he was always interested in the fashion and modeling industry, but he was insecure about his looks and didn’t have the confidence for modeling.
Yet Gonzalez accepted the flyer and was told that FAST was accepting of all body sizes, ethnicities and looks. Gonzalez said the members’ assurance left him comfortable joining a group of models, allowing him to collaborate with designers and practice poses. After rehearsing during winter and spring quarter, Gonzalez will model at the 2016 FAST show Friday.
Gonzalez doesn’t know everything he will be wearing until the day of the show, he said, but he designed two of the outfits: a dress with a feminine spin on women’s casual clothing and a genderless piece he will be wearing in the show. Modeling for FAST, Gonzalez said, gave him an opportunity to explore divisions of the fashion industry and appear on a runway in front of an audience of 300.
The Daily Bruin’s Connor Thompson spoke with Gonzalez about his modeling aspirations, FAST’s rehearsal process and what he has planned for his own designs.
Daily Bruin: What intrigues you about modeling?
Jose Gonzalez: Well, I had always been interested in fashion and modeling, but at the time I was very insecure with my appearance and didn’t have that level of confidence yet. But when I did receive a flyer, the FAST member assured me that it was an organization accepting of all people, body sizes, ethnicities and looks so I felt more comfortable joining the group of models. I expected it to be a very stuck-up group to be honest, that is just usually how “fashionistas” get stigmatized and that’s the bracket they are placed in, but they turned out to be really friendly and accepting. At the time I was one of maybe four guys modeling for FAST among 30-plus girls. So overall it was a great experience.
DB: But why FAST?
JG: FAST is actually the only fashion club on campus, we don’t really have many options when it comes to organizations that can help us get involved in the fashion industry. FAST does a very good job of introducing people to different parts of that industry. It’s not just about clothing designs and modeling. … It’s about having different committees that give us a feel for the business-part of putting on a fashion show. We have a committee for organizing events throughout the entire year, so people can intermingle among different committees. FAST doesn’t emphasize every ridiculous beauty standard and introduces modeling to anyone regardless of superficial physical appearance.
DB: What’s the rehearsal process like?
JG: We began meeting up every other week winter quarter, introducing people who haven’t modeled before to different poses and techniques. Now during spring quarter, when we are closer to the event, we meet up every Wednesday night and really make sure everybody knows what they are doing. All the different committees are meeting on their own schedules. … It would be impossible to get all 200-plus members to meet up at the same time to rehearse. They really work on their own schedules.
DB: What is the set going to be like for the show?
JG: This set is actually similar to last years’, but we’re having a raised stage. There’s better viewing access, more people can go to it. Last year I believe we could only hold 150 people, but this year we can hold up to 300. This is going to make it a very big event rather than have it be very private.
DB: Are you designing anything as well?
JG: Yeah … it’s borderline edgy but with touches of nature as well, two very different styles coming together. I’m designing two dresses, an innovative take on a woman’s day-to-day outfit, and something that lies on the genderless spectrum. So very feminine colors and something that can evoke confidence in the wearer.
DB: What can we expect from the show on Friday?
JG: I would say variety. That’s the one thing that always makes FAST’s fashion show interesting. You really get to experience many different types of fashion. Everyone has their own vision, whether it’s of ’90s fashion, chic, modern or nature. You get to experience everyone’s creativity. … And with those visions, you get to experience the model’s unique style as well.