Paris, Milan, Palm Desert. At Fashion Week El Paseo, Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising’s graduating third-year couture students will reveal their debut collections — a culmination of hard work and talent required to produce the latest trends. The feat would not have been possible without the support of Jordan Schnitzer, art collector and arts enthusiast.
Schnitzer will attend the evening event on March 22 along with 75 local high school students whose tickets he funded. The attendance of so many young creatives was important to Schnitzer, who wanted to ensure that local talent continued the trend of pursuing arts education and experienced the magic that comes with the support of the Coachella Valley community.
“It’s exciting to see young fashion designers who may be some of the biggest names in fashion in years to come,” Schnitzer says. “Especially for young high school students [who get] to be among people they may not ordinarily have come into contact with — meeting the models, the designers — and getting a chance to have a life experience they may not have otherwise had.”
With Schnitzer’s generous support over the years, thousands of Coachella Valley students have attended the show and toured backstage to get a close-up of the fashion world behind the scenes. The experience is life-altering for many of them who decide to attend art or fashion school. According to Schnitzer, inspiring these students is not only important for them personally, but addresses a much bigger purpose.
“Many of us were lucky to grow up in families exposed to art, culture, and society, while many of us were not,” he continues. “But all of us had someone in our lives that reached out and inspired us — whether it was business or career advice, civic philanthropy, or how we dress ourselves.”
Many of these students are the path forward; without them, we would lose the creative community the Valley is known for.
“If young people aren’t inspired and lose hope in the future, then our democracy is doomed. The arts are the ultimate creation — the ultimate expression of the best of what we are,” Schnitzer says. “Every young person can experience visual art or dance, and no one can tell them that what they’re seeing and how they’re interpreting it is wrong. It’s important that everyone, especially young people, have a chance to make their dreams and hopes soar.”