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High School Fashion Student Hopes to Make Her Way to New York Fashion Week

Laguna Niguel Teen is an Orange County Finalist in The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition.

Santa Ana, CA, January 09, 2009 --( Elizabeth Falacara of Laguna Niguel was recently named The Art Institute of California – Orange County first place winner in The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition in the Fashion Marketing & Merchandising and Retail Management category.

The Dana Hills High School senior earned a $3,000 scholarship to study Fashion Marketing & Management at The Art Institute of California – Orange County.

Contestants had to develop a concept for a retail establishment or create a fashion marketing or merchandising plan. Falacara developed a plan for a store that combined a fashion boutique with a center for social and charitable events.

"My concept was to add energy to the retail experience while increasing the connection between the store and the community," she said. "I wanted a place that allows people to shop by day and rock by night in a socially responsible way."

Mary Ann Gale, Fashion Design and Fashion Marketing & Management Academic Director, said that she and the rest of the judges selected Falacara’s concept because they felt the humanitarian side of the store was innovative and well presented.

"I hope to eventually open up a business where I can successfully sell retail goods and be able to give back by helping charitable causes and promoting social awareness," Falacara said.

In addition to her $3,000 tuition scholarship, Falacara now progresses to the national Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition. Her entry will be judged against other local winners from throughout North America for the competition's grand prize, a full tuition scholarship to an Art Institutes school, a VIP trip to New York City to attend runway shows during Fashion Week and meet staff at Seventeen Magazine.

The panel of judges for the national Passion for Fashion Competition include: Suede, contestant on Project Runway Season 5; Eva Snopek, fashion designer at Calvin Klein; Patty Hughes, of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week; Ashley Granata, Marketing Manager at; and Bruce E. Dempsey, Vice President, Academic Affairs Specialist, The Art Institutes.

The Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition was created to encourage and reward young fashion talent. For more information on this year's Art Institutes Passion for Fashion Competition, visit

Media Contacts
Tricia Cook, or 714.338.1303
Veronica Orozco, or 714.830.0221

About The Art Institute of California – Orange County
The Art Institute of California – Orange County is a design, media and culinary arts school providing bachelor’s and associate’s degree programs in Advertising, Baking & Pastry, Culinary Arts, Culinary Management, Digital Photography, Fashion Design, Fashion Marketing & Management, Game Art & Design, Graphic Design, Industrial Design, Interior Design, Media Arts & Animation, Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, Visual & Game Programming and Web Design & Interactive Media. Located in the heart of Orange County’s South Coast Metro region, The Art Institute is ideally situated in close proximity to Orange County’s thriving business community, cultural attractions, shopping, entertainment and its famous beaches. The school is one of The Art Institutes (, a system of over 40 education institutions located throughout North America, providing an important source of design, media arts, fashion and culinary arts professionals.

Contact Information
The Art Institute of California - Orange County
Veronica Orozco

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