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More than 90 fashion models, decked out in the latest designs, are strutting down the catwalk as cameras clicked and hundreds watched on. This isn’t a scene out of New York City, Paris, London or Milan.

It happened in Waikīkī at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s 47th annual Senior Fashion Show, a celebration that gives the seniors in the fashion design and merchandising program an opportunity to showcase their creations.

“It means a lot to me,” said UH Mānoa student Patricia Clariza, one of seven senior designers in the fashion show. “I have always wanted to do design, so by doing this and putting out a collection I’m on top of the world right now. It feels really good.”

The program is offered through the UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. The individual collections by the seniors represent a culmination of years of hard work and dedication.

“To see all of the work you have done over the course of a long period of time, and having your friends and family support you towards one moment, that means a lot” said senior designer Bejan Moers.

Juniors in the program also participated, showing a few examples of their work while getting a taste of what’s to come. This year, additional categories were added for the seniors, including one that was inspired by the fluorescence of light energy.

“It is a lot of hard work, but now, because I haven’t slept for a couple of days, but it is totally worth it,” said Clariza.

The effort certainly impressed the 500 people who attended the sold out show, including Governor Neil Abercrombie and some big names in the local fashion industry.

“The talent coming out of our schools in Hawaiʻi can compete at the national level, international level as well,” said Nong Ariyaphon Southiphong, a finalist on Project Runway, a fashion reality television show. “There is no reason why Hawaiʻi can’t make it’s mark on the world.”

Every aspect of the show is planned, organized and produced by the students in the program’s fashion production class, providing valuable real world experience, complete with a lot of pressure and stress.

“There are students who worked really hard to make this possible with the help of our advisors of course,” said Jam Nichole Cristobal, co-director of the Senior Fashion Show and a UH Mānoa student. “We are all very proud of this show.”

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