Meet Joanna Rubalcaba (BFA Fashion Design ‘17)

“Everything that I dreamed of has happened,” says Sacramento native Joanna Rubalcaba (BFA Fashion Design ‘17), who was named Designer of the Year by the Fashion Design department at Otis College. “I was so honored and excited to get it,” she says, “because it meant that my teachers had noticed how hard I worked throughout the year.”

Joanna now freelances for her former professor, bridal designer Lana Mollov, and works as an assistant designer for the L.A. label Burning Torch. “Fashion is something I have loved since I was probably eight years old,” she says. “I used to make paper dolls for myself. My mom showed me how to sew when I was really young. It’s truly my passion.”

Her designs are often evocative of nature. “I grew up hiking, and that’s influenced my design process,” she says, describing how the ocean inspired a particular dress in her senior collection. She urges new students to explore off campus. “Get out and see what’s happening in the city of Los Angeles,” she says. “That will really inspire your designs.”

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