On a slightly chilly night in December, 2019, a light rain began to fall on an outdoor stage at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, but that most certainly was not enough to stop the long-awaited student fashion show I was about to witness.
The music commenced and got progressively louder as models, two at a time, crisscrossed through the large audience which had gathered, in order to give spectators a first-hand view of the student-created designs in which they were attired. It was at this point that I caught sight of Anna Kile-Gupta, one of the graduating students featured in this fashion show and the friend I had come to cheer on, as it were.
The Game of Thrones was to be the theme of the show and designers were competing for Gold Thimble Awards in eight separate categories: Athleisure Wear, Day Dresses, Swim Wear, Children’s Wear, After Five (Avant-Garde), Men’s Wear, Evening-Wear, and Golden Thrones-inspired Theme designs. My friend Sue Wong, the famous international fashion designer, and I had just come in when Jazzika Dunn, a model for Sue and now Ms. Kile-Gupta, sauntered down the catwalk in an attention-catching white and black futuristic jump suit with perforated sleeves; a zipper ran up the front of this Kile-Gupta design and gave just a hint of decolletage. Jazzika was accompanied by a little girl, who was dressed in black and white as well.
Later in the show came another outstanding Kile-Gupta design, this one in the avant-garde category with a mermaid motif; it featured a colorful asymmetric skirt and an arch collar in teal with matching cape, the collar and cape hinting at malevolence (but most tastefully done I hasten to add). Two cups on the bosom formed the bodice, and dazzling iridescent sequins bedecked the skirt and sleeves, contributing heartily to the zest of the outfit.
However, the Kile-Gupta piece de resistance was her breath-taking bathing suit, held together with lycra bands and chains over the chest which were both supportive and decorative. A smashing copper and black paisley cover-up with elaborate bell sleeves completed this bathing suit ensemble, making it perfect for a stylish turn at the beach. The much sought-after model Jazzika Dunne, with her tremendous grace and elegance, was truly a striking presence in this design, which I considered a real show-stopper.
Apropos of her versatility, Anna Kile-Gupta also showcased on this night a dramatic creation for the male, reflective of her Russian roots: a black design reminiscent of a Cossack’s uniform, replete with a white sash for contrast and fetching leather adornments on the knees and breast.
After the fashion show came the awards ceremony and, needless to say, Anna’s efforts were not overlooked by the judges: she was the recipient of multiple awards, each of which she accepted with characteristic aplomb.
After the ceremony, I met with the charming and talented Ms. Kile-Gupta for some Q and A:
FVM Global: How many awards did you win tonight at The Gold Thimble Fashion Show?
AKG: I was fortunate enough to win four awards this evening: two first places in the Avant-garde and Athleisure categories and two second places for my Game of Thrones-inspired Costume and Menswear.
FVM Global: How long have you been attending LA Trade Tech?
AKG: I have been going to school there for two years and during that time I completed the Fashion Design program.
FVM Global: What were the high points of your student experience?
AKG: The opportunities to learn from professionals in the fashion industry and to meet and interact with passionate students in the field of fashion design constituted the most enjoyable and significant aspects of my student experience.
FVM Global: How long have you been modeling?
AKG: I began my modeling career in my hometown in Russia twelve years ago and subsequently worked with modeling agencies in Italy, Israel, and China. I have continued modeling since moving to the United States five years ago.
FVM Global: Did you move here to attend university?
AKG: I didn’t plan to study here, as I already had a degree in accounting from my home country.
FVM Global: Why did you then choose to study designing?
AKG: I think that deep inside me I had always had a dream to make a statement in the fashion industry. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some very influential people through modeling and they inspired me to become a fashion designer.
FVM Global: You have obviously had a very interesting life. Would you elaborate on your childhood and youth?
AKG: I grew up in a small Russian village in Eastern Siberia called Troitskoye and I lived there until I graduated from high school. Then I moved to Khabarovsk to study at The Academy of Economy and at the same time I went to modeling school. It was there that I discovered my passion for modeling and fashion.
FVM Global: How many collections have you designed?
AKG: As of now I have one completed collection; however, while I here at Trade Tech I also created custom-made designs for friends and myself outside of my school projects.
FVM Global: What is your allure to fashion?
AKG: For me Fashion is an Art! I’ve always been a shy person and the only way I could express myself was through art. I began painting and sketching while studying art in school, and even won some competitions. I knew then that drawing was a discipline I wanted to partake in all my life; unfortunately, my parents did not agree with my career choice so, to please them, I graduated from university in accounting. Still, I maintained my deep passion for art and I continued to dance, paint, and model in the ensuing years – and now I’m designing clothes! I never regret what I have done and I will always follow my passion because I believe that the only way to do great work is to truly love what you do!
Since this interview Ms. Kile-Gupta, herself a gorgeous model for Sue Wong, has gotten married and started her own design business! She is currently manufacturing elegant masks, as lyrical and alluring as her fashion designs for this evening.
For further inquiries concerning her face coverings, fashion accessories, and fashion designs, please contact: