There was no shortage of excitement and anticipation on Friday night in Laguna Beach, as O'Neill and Teen Vogue hosted Generation Next, a fashion design contest for teenage girls. Friends, family, and fans packed the Seven Degrees club to capacity to help cheer on the aspiring designers. The event also benefitted Boarding for Breast Cancer, a non-profit organization that stresses the importance of early detection of breast cancer and the advantages of incorporating action sports into a healthy lifestyle.
Generation Next, in its second year, maintained its high-energy reputation through an evening full of entertainment. The event saw two performances from dance group Fanny Pak, who recently appeared on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew. But the highlight of the night was the fashion show, which showcased O'Neill's Spring 2010 line as well as four dresses designed by four Southern California high school students. Lauren Alvarez, Angela Urmanita, Kari Filardo, and Lori Ke each spent 6 months working with O'Neill designing their runway looks, and learning about the inner workings of the apparel company. The contestants worked diligently on the dresses as well as the hair, makeup, music and theme of their individual presentations. All the contestants were introduced to the Marketing Director from Teen Vogue, who flew in from New York especially for this event, and assured them of bright futures ahead. Their designs then went head to head, with partygoers text messaging votes, as the designers and their masses of family and friends waited with baited breath.
Ultimately, Angela Urmanita of Rowland Heights won the competition, with many voters swayed by the Polynesian dancer she included in her presentation. Angela cites Marc Jacobs as her favorite fashion designer, and said that singer M.I.A. inspired her creation for the show, noting that "she has a really unique style and she likes using bright colors".
"Tonight I'm most excited about seeing everything come together and seeing my dress on the runway." Angela gushed before the show. She would go on to receive a check for a 4,000 dollar scholarship from O'Neill CEO Toby Bost himself.
"These girls have had the opportunity to jumpstart their careers . It's all about chasing your dreams, following your heart, and launching your career" Bost said about the Generation Next program. Angela graciously thanked her family, friends, and everyone who voted for her design and then celebrated her victory with an after party, telling revelers how she'd like to earn a degree in business so she can continue to work toward her goal of becoming a fashion designer.
"It was the best experience of my life. It helped me focus on…marketing and design," said last year's Generation Next winner Rebekka Schuman regarding what's in store for this years' scholarship recipient, who also gets the chance to intern at O'Neill. On top of the tremendous success for Angela , Boarding for Breast Cancer raised 3,000 dollars to keep their cancer-crushing crusade alive. All in all, it was a night of celebrating inspiring achievements.