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Woman in blue dress in the forest

Designing Student Success at OCSA

When it comes to student achievement, educator Kim Jones does not hold back.

Kim teaches costume design and serves as co-teacher for the fashion elective classes at Orange County School of the Arts (OCSA), located in Santa Ana, California. She also serves as the advisor for the FIDM Fashion Club on her campus. Kim began her teaching career twenty-seven years ago.

“My Intermediate Costume Design class is a second-year course covering the elements of design and the process of running a show. My Advanced Costume Design class is primarily project oriented,” explains Kim. “Students in this class learn advanced skills in millinery, corset making, and re-creating costumes.”

Woman in dress next to lake

One of the many fun projects the advanced students participate in is the creation of character heads. This year, they were inspired by The Muppets. The students sculpted them in foam and covered them in fabrics, utilizing felt pieces for the facial detailing and styrofoam balls for the eyes. Students showcased their character head projects, along with constructed costume pieces, at local theaters and other venues.

Muppets character head

Kim’s Fashion Elective class also has plenty of opportunities to shine. “Every year the Fashion Elective class participates in the Elective Showcase. We do a runway show that features the projects they've made in class. This class modeled their fantasy, recycled, and garment construction projects in the show,” says Kim.

One of her favorite projects for her Fashion Elective class is designing for the Met Gala. “Students must choose the theme and design a look for their favorite celebrity. They create a full scale rendering complete with descriptions of the look and must present it to their classmates, explaining the design concept, materials they would like to use, and how the garment is to be worn,” Kim explains.

Kim’s courses are outlined to teach students skills used in the costume and fashion design industries. They learn how to use sewing machines during their first year of instruction and continue to learn more advanced techniques as they progress through the programs. Kim also invites guest speakers into her classes who can guide the students, providing them food-for-thought as they consider life beyond high school.

“I always invite a FIDM Representative to come to the school to give a presentation to all of my classes, and this year we were treated to a pattern drafting class as well,” says Kim.

That pattern drafting class led a few of Kim’s students to FIDM’s 2 Days of Fashion event, held in June. “These students are serious about having a career in the fashion and costume industries,” reveals Kim. “I also take the students to the FIDM Museum, tell them about the DEBUT Fashion Show, and we tour the campus in LA. This allows them to see the many opportunities available as an affiliate of the school.”

During this most recent visit to the FIDM campus, Kim and her students took in the Art of Motion Picture Costume exhibition at the FIDM Museum, where they got to see their favorite movie costumes up close. They also enjoyed finding great treasures at the FIDM Scholarship Store.

We asked Kim to describe her school. “I always say that it's exactly like the movie, Fame!" she exclaims. “OCSA is a school like no other. There are very few schools where the students are dancing in the streets at lunch or where the entire school dresses up for Halloween and the students do the Thriller dance down 10th Street. There are so many accomplished graduates and well-known alumni. OCSA just celebrated its 35th anniversary and I can't wait to see what the next 35 years hold for the school. I am proud to be an instructor here. My greatest joy comes from applauding the accomplishments of my students and seeing where life takes them after they graduate.”

Learn more about the FIDM Museum.