Our Grads

John Mendrea - Featured Fashion Design Graduate

John Mendrea

When the American Heart Association decided to put together a fashion show for their annual fundraiser, John Mendrea was there to pull it all together.

John, a VMCAD Fashion Design graduate, volunteered to put together 14 different pieces for the Go Red for Women fundraiser. He collaborated with current students, community colleagues and fellow alumni to make it all happen. John and his team did everything from conceptualizing the gowns to making the pieces and accessorizing them to figuring out the order of presentation during the fashion show itself.

“I enjoy making people happy through my artistic expression,” says John. “And I realized at VMCAD that people are watching. People in the school and people in the community are interested in what’s going on here.”

Click John’s photo to watch a video about his story.

“I cannot express how grateful I am for my education at VMCAD. I now have the confidence to take on clients and create real couture pieces thanks to the specific fashion design training I received at VMCAD.”

John currently designs custom garments for individual clients in Northeast Ohio. He is working towards starting up a small design label in the near future.

Rosi Zingalis

Rosi Zingalis made the jump from Midwest to Big City! After she graduated from Virginia Marti College, her first job was with the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival sewing costumes for the actors.

Rosi then decided to follow her passion and move to New York City! Today Rosi’s expertise is in sewing costumes and she’s created wardrobes for “Grease” on Broadway, for the TV show “You’re the One That I Want” and for the feature film “Evening” starring Meryl Streep.

“My first love was always clothing. I designed clothes for my dolls growing up,” Rosi says. But Costume design opened an entire world for her, the world of Opera, Dance, Film and Stage. “Ask yourself what road you want to go down,” she says. “If you love fashion and design, then Virginia Marti is for you!”

Josetta Belford, 2004
Sugar Foot

My experience at Virginia Marti College was wonderful. The instructors, the administrators, were really about business and teaching us how to become fashion designers and fashion merchandisers. You will get the best skills, in art, that you wouldn’t get from any other college in this state. I’ve seen the work that gets done and nothing can compare to this college.

Ali Rahimi 
Mon Atelier

I often tell people that my training at VMCAD, with its emphasis on learning basic skill and developing a wide scope of knowledge, not only provided a strong foundation for my work but is one of the main reasons that my business, Mon Atelier, thrives.

Elizabeth Cobb, 2004
Freelance designer

The critiques I think definitely helped me a lot. Everyone thinks there own designs are “the best” but it really made me open my eyes to the consumer & what is sellable as opposed to how crazy can I be with my designs. The teachers were definitely amazing. I definitely enjoy the tough love relationship that you get from them. They want you to show your true potential & when you don’t they let you know they expect more from you.

Laura Gunkelman, 2007
Purchasing Manager/Merchandiser

Virginia Marti College is more than just a design school, it’s a lifestyle. Learning in a hands on environment with one on one interaction allowed me to learn the skills I needed to succeed as well as remember them. I have two degrees from VMCAD and I’m currently using three that are available! Once you start…you won’t stop!

Stephanie Brown Mayfield, 2010
Head Seamstress
Hedi’s Alterations

My experience at VMCAD was amazing. I loved EVERY class and every instructor. I know that is hard to believe but it’s the truth. The instructors are the masters in their fields. The staff from the receptionist all the way up to Mrs. Veith are all outstanding people and always willing to listen and to help. You can’t attend a better school!

Michelle Dimitris, 2006
Doll Parts

The VMCAD Fashion Design program prepared me with the technical skills I needed in pattern making, sewing, draping and fashion illustration in order to obtain my first design internship and design assistant position. The intimate class settings and knowledgeable professors give each student necessary attention for such a hands-on curriculum. Also, the intense workload is a realistic preview of what being a fashion designer is all about.

Colleen McGuirk, 2009
Independent dressmaker 

The Fashion Design program is exciting. Easy to speak with and well informed, the instructors are thoroughly competent in their respective fields. The technical (Drafting, Sewing, CAD), the creative (design, illustration, photography), and even the core subjects stimulate all areas of the brain. By educating the whole person, you can see how Virginia Marti College is able to show us (their students) the way to becoming consummate and innovative professionals

Jazmine Nosseir, 2010
Assistant Designer
Marietta Contadino

My employer started everything from the ground up and currently designs and makes custom made clothing. Nothing is sent out, all the fittings, pattern work, and sewing is done by hand at either her shop in Greenwich, Connecticut or with her seamstresses and patternmakers in New York City, this makes me really happy that I learned all of those things during my tenure at Virginia Marti College, otherwise would not have gotten the job! As her assistant I sew, do patternwork, fit, work with customers, and go to trunk shows with her. I’ll be traveling back and forth from New York City to Greenwich, CT and working and meeting with different kinds of people so it’s definitely going to be a great experience. I feel really good about is the fact that I’ve been able to utilize the patternmaking and fitting both in and out of school. I really don’t know how other students from other schools that don’t teach those things function or even survive in an industry that seems to require at least some of that knowledge. Regardless, I’m really excited for the learning experience!