O’Neill’s “Generation Next” Fashion Show Big Hit With Teens

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Kaba Modern Dance Crew from America’s Best Dance Crew getting things started.

All photos courtesy Sam Olson

Teen Vogue and O’Neill paired up for an incredible event last week at Club Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach. The event was a fashion show that implemented O’Neill’s “Generation Next” giving local teens the chance to showcase their talent for fashion and design.

The program was born out of a vision by the company to have interns be involved with the creative design process with teams from 5 different high schools (Diamond Bar, Dana Hills, Sage Hill of Newport, San Clemente High School, and El Modena High School) where invited to ‘shadow’ O’Neill designers and ultimately make their own designs and garments. After this process, which took several months, they took these finished fashion designs to this runway in front of their high school peers who in turn voted for the team they thought had the best design.

Moms, Dads, friends, and the students jammed into Seven Degrees to watch the five chosen contestants unveil their designs, each with a dress and a purse created with the help of a fashion mentor.

The five designers started out with sketches and worked on everything from design to runway production. They were also responsible for marketing their team, with several groups getting creative by making Myspace pages and holding school rallies.

“We wanted to see OC’s untapped designers,” said Shelley Sheppard, marketing director for O’Neill. “We took them from beginning to end of fashion design. It’s good to see it finally come together.”

The winning designer won $2,000 Scholarship and an O’Neill internship and her team also won an O’Neill wardrobe valued at $250 and a Pizza party at O’Neill, and exposure in Teen Vogue for their fashion and design talents. The vote was tallied in the way that American Idols are by texting your vote to determine the winner. What was even sweeter was that the $5 door fee was donated to the Surfrider Foundation and with the attendance of over five hundred on hand $2,500 was raised for a great cause of cleaning the oceans and protecting our beaches.

O’Neill and Teen Vogue went all out for the event with the red carpet, the paparazzi, fashion runway, the lighting, and the excitement was definitely in the air. Master of Ceremonies was surf sensations Tanner Gudauskas, Sage Erickson, and Malia Manuel. They rocked the house with their solid performance of wit and humor while under the pressure of 500 screaming highs school students. What might be very nerving for the MC’s to step up and entertain the crowd proved to be a place where Tanner Gudauskas really seem to enjoy his ‘Ryan Seacrest’ status. Also Sage Erickson and Malia Manuel did equally as well and looked like poised professionals.

The show kicked off with Kaba Modern Dance Crew from America’s Best Dance Crew, who turned up the volume to get the crowd going with their unbelievable hip-hop/break dances moves. They were visually amazing and technically incredible with the most inspiring dance moves. They captivated the crowd and really helped take the fashion show to the next level.

Once the lights dimmed, the runway lit up with the beautiful models who strutted their stuff with the freshest fashion trends from these talented High school designers.
Each team had models that showed off pieces from O’Neill’s 2009 collection, with the last model of the group wearing the teen designer’s creation.

The crowd ended up picking Rebekka Schuman’s (San Clemente) design, called “Nolita,” a white summery island dress accented with black leather gloves for a grungy twist.

Without question the “Generation Next” Fashion Contest was an amazing event and everyone’s ears are still ringing from all the screaming. A congratulation goes out to all the teams for their hard work and great designs for making the event a great success.