For Norma Garcia, 23, fashion apparel and design major at CSUN, fashion defines her life.
“Fashion is my passion and is a big part of my everyday life, I dress to the way I feel, I don’t need to impress anyone, I am me, and that is it,” Garcia said. “Growing up, I remember playing with my dolls, and mixing and matching outfits was the best part of it all.”
Garcia’s mother, also named Norma, remembers buying a sewing machine for Norma’s 14th birthday.
“The look in her eyes said it all, I knew fashion sparked her interest when she was young, she always wanted to change, cut and rearrange outfits,” said Garcia’s mother.
Garcia is the oldest of three girls in her family, and the first to pursue a college career.
With the recent budget cuts, her college years seemed to slip away, including her dream of becoming a fashion designer, when her financial aid was cut off.
The harsh setback to her graduation date was the beginning of many more hardships along her way.
“Having only one income for a family of five was hard, I saw my father struggling with bills and my mother being disabled,” Garcia said. “I thought I was never coming back to CSUN.”
“Money has always been tight around the house,” Garcia said. “I did not have the luxury of new outfits all the time. To save money, I began making my very own dresses, shirts, and skirts. They were fitted to perfection.”
Giving up was not a choice. After not being able to pay tuition or receive financial aid, Garcia lost two semesters of her life.
She looked for a job to help her family with bills, and took lower level classes at Los Angeles Trade Tech Community College to transfer back as soon as possible.
“I refused to get depressed and sit and wait for things to get better,” Garcia said.
Garcia is now working for RPM, a loan company, and is also a staff member for LA’s Best after school program.
She learned to juggle two jobs and school to be able to help her family and herself succeed.
“I missed CSUN and everyone in it, I realized how much school really means to me, something that others take for granted,” Garcia said.
Garcia still enjoys designing and sewing her own clothes, and is not shy in letting someone else know how to dress.
“I’m a fashionista at heart, I feel like it’s my job to make others feel and look sexy,” Garcia said. “I must admit, my sisters and close friends are my models, I like dressing them up from top to bottom. I should live in the mall because that’s my second home.”
She’s not your average girl who likes walks on the beach and eating salads.
Garcia loves fast cars, shooting ranges, and fast food. She believes in working out for fun, not for necessity.
Fashion has become her motivation to explore life, one wardrobe at a time. She loves animal prints and mixing colors.
“Select your thoughts like you select your clothes everyday, now that’s a power you can cultivate,” Garcia said. “This year I’m back, ready to learn, become a better person, and reunite with my fellow Matadors!”