Slaying design

FIDM student inspired by mortal kombat

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

As a child growing up in Glendale, Arizona, Fabian Renteria sketched T-shirts and dresses. It was prophetic, as recently he introduced his first fashion collection in Los Angeles as part of the annual FIDM Debut Show.

Presented by the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, the event spotlights the work of FIDM students graduating from the advanced fashion design program Renteria was one of nine students selected for the prestigious show in 2021.

“It was very exciting and even more nerve wracking,” says Renteria, who graduated from Deer Valley High School in Arizona in 2014. 

The heavy vinyl line was inspired by Mortal Kombat, with a “futuristic warrior” look to it. The red in his collection represents the bloodshed.

“I honestly felt it would have been silly if it was Mortal Kombat and that’s it,” he says. “I was going deeper into what it means. For the actual story, these characters’ stories are entangled about what they’re fighting for.

One story in particular stood out, that of Kitana, the princess of her native land who never knew her true identity. As a child, her mother, Sindel, allegedly died by suicide. Kitana joined Raiden to find the truth and to make peace with all the realms. The collection represents her and her revenge wardrobe.

“I wanted to pull color from the undead warriors—black, white, gray and gold,” he says. 

“I decided to use red and the print was shattered glass, with chunky zippers to add a hardware aspect to it.”

The Texas-born Renteria is somewhat following in the footsteps of his artist father. 

“He would always be drawing, too,” he says. “One day, we were at a restaurant, and they had paper on the table with crayons. I asked my dad, ‘How do I draw a body?’ He definitely knew how.

“He showed me with a crayon. I drew a dress on her and that’s what sparked it for me. Oddly enough, we had a really old sewing machine on a shelf in the laundry room. I asked my mom about it. One day, I pulled it down. I tried to thread it and I got it to work.”

While he was in Glendale, he lived close to Walmart at 59th Avenue and Bell Road. Before it was a Supercenter, it boasted a large fabric section. 

“My first project was a vinyl cape,” he says. “It wasn’t good at all. I kept with it, and I would sew on the weekends after coming home from school. I fell in love with it, honestly. It was fun.”

He moved to Alhambra in 2018 to attend FIDM. Next year, Renteria is headed to Rome for a study abroad program. He will focus on fit and pattern making. It ends with another fashion show. 

“I get to do another collection,” he says. “I definitely want to start developing my brand more. I want to start selling my work on a website. I want to delve into the DIY more and start my own business.”

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