Fashion Pays it Forward, Too: Sanford-Brown College Orlando Immerses Youth Through Workshops

by Mellissa Thomas


Sanford-Brown College Orlando logo

International Academy of Design and Technology (IADT), Orlando’s premier fashion design school, has joined the Sanford-Brown family of schools, expanding its degree program offerings to include cinema production, game design and production, post production, multimedia, photography, and film and video – and that’s just their Media Arts area of study. Their Design area of study includes fashion design, graphic design, and interior design. Since its integration with IADT on March 31, 2014, Sanford-Brown has been working diligently to inform students, parents, and prospective students of the broader spectrum of courses the college offers through school visits and workshops, including the upcoming DESIGN/TECH TAKE 1 event happening Tuesday, August 5 and Wednesday, August 6, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.



The two-day event offers immersive workshops on the Sanford-Brown College Orlando campus for high school seniors and graduates to experience the college’s programs firsthand. “The workshops are at no cost, and it’s hands-on training,” explained Maria Rexach, Sanford-Brown’s Community Relations Manager in an OFM interview last week. According to Rexach, students in the film and video workshop actually shoot a thirty-second commercial. “During the July 5th event, students made t-shirts in the graphics workshop, and learned to animate a bouncing ball using Wacom tablets in the animation workshop.” When the students arrive, they sign up, but don’t choose which program workshop they’ll sample – they experience them all. Additionally, they get to speak with Sanford-Brown College Orlando’s Career Services department to address any questions they have about the school and home in on what degree program interests them most.

In addition to the hands-on workshops, parents are also empowered with seminars on how to apply for financial aid, and students get a crash course on essay writing to facilitate their quest for successful scholarships. “We do it before the Bright Futures deadline, and always bring someone in from the Department of Education to discuss it with the parents,” Rexach added.

DESIGN/TECH TAKE 1 events take place twice during the summer and once every two months thereafter. Rexach noted that the event is meant to help high school students have a clearer idea of which career field they want to get into. When informed of the college’s degree programs, the students express a lack of knowledge. She in turn encourages them to be hungry and focus on bringing their drive instead. “You don’t need to know how to do it right now, we’ll teach you how to do it here.”


Maria Rexach’s Drive

Sanford-Brown College Orlando Community Relations Manager Maria Rexach

Sanford-Brown College Orlando Community Relations Manager Maria Rexach


The Puerto Rican native brings a journalism degree (including newspaper and radio station experience), marketing expertise, and years of high school outreach experience to the table. “I love helping high school students find their passion,” she said. It stands to reason, then, that she’s visited over twenty high schools since the March transition. In her marketing efforts, she has partnered with Florida Hospital, and helps the Crooms Academy of Information Technology in Sanford, Florida with its marketing.

She has been with IADT for four-and-a-half years, and has worked in its Fashion department for one-and-a-half; and loves the energy the students bring. “These kids are creative and have a style all their own.”

She proudly mentioned that eight to ten Sanford-Brown College Orlando students will debut their Spring 2015 designs at the upcoming prestigious Mall at Millenia Fashion Week on September 12, 2014 at 7 p.m.

There can be no better way to fulfill her passion for helping students find theirs than by watching their dreams come to fruition on the runway.


For more information about DESIGN/TECH TAKE 1 or to RSVP, click here.



Image sources:

Graphic arts workshop photo: Eugene Kim (Flickr)

Sanford-Brown College Orlando logo courtesy of Sanford-Brown College Orlando.

Maria Rexach photo by Maria Rexach. Used with permission.



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Mellissa Thomas headshotAbout the Author:
Orlando Fashion Magazine Chief Editor and Publisher Mellissa Thomas is a Jamaica-born writer. She’s a decorated U.S. Navy veteran with Entertainment Business Masters and Film Bachelors degrees from Full Sail University in Winter Park, FL.

She’s currently available for hire, writing content for websites, blogs, and marketing material, and as a book coach. She also writes poetry, screenplays, and ghostwrites books.

She has published four books, all available on Her most recent release, “Faded Diamonds”, is now available in paperback on all major online book retailers and digitally available on the Kindle, Nook, and iBooks.



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