Semiahmoo Secondary students discuss marketing ideas for the upcoming Grad Fashion Show.

Semiahmoo Secondary students discuss marketing ideas for the upcoming Grad Fashion Show.

Semiahmoo students test out their marketing skills

With the upcoming annual Grad Fashion Show, the organizing committee is looking for new ways to get the message out and sponsors in.

After 16 years, the Semiahmoo Secondary Grad Fashion Show has become more than a tradition – it’s an extravaganza that students, teachers and families look forward to all year long.

With each successive year setting the bar higher in terms of theme and show business razzle-dazzle, each grad class is on its mettle to outdo the previous effort.

The current show, Pop-arazzi – coming up Wednesday, March 7 at 7 p.m. – is no exception.

“We’re trying to get everyone involved – it’s a community event at the school and we run it like a business,” said Sean Chu, who co-chairs this year’s event with Kevin Hsieh.

Next week’s show draws a record high of 90 students to model clothing and accessories loaned by local businesses.

“We’ve established a sort of reputation,” Chu said. “Since students enter the school in Grade 8 they’re looking forward to being in the show.”

“”There’s a lot of pressure on us,” Hsieh admitted, noting he’s thankful there’s a

large team of organizers and volunteers involved, under the the arms-length purview of sponsor-teacher Judia Pelech.

Committee members agree they’re enjoying the process of event management so much they’d like to be involved in similar work after graduation.

“We’ve learned all about negotiation and contracts,” said Hsieh.

Chu explained the title of the show and the current marketing concept is a play on the word paparazzi and the concept of pop culture, as it has evolved over the past five or six decades.

“We wanted something different – flamboyant colours and pop colours from artists like Andy Warhol and a lot of the stars who were doing music from then to now,” Chu said.

“It’s about pop through the ages.”

Don’t be surprised if this year’s theme resonates through large poster cutouts of performers all the way from Marilyn Monroe to Lady Gaga, Chu said. And advertising-committee head Joanna Huang’s team has come up with a colourful poster that evokes the pop-art era.

“We wanted to have pop icons in there that everyone in the audience could relate to,” Hsieh said, noting live performance will be part of the show, with solo singers, duets and dancers from the graduating class.

Co-ordinating the complex show will be two MCs – Pradeep Verkatesh and Mitchel Bringelend – both of whom were chosen from a list of students who had submitted resumes.

Anca Dobre and Angel Deng have been in charge of the all-important aspect of securing sponsorships, which in addition to local retailers loaning casual, semi-formal and formal clothing, includes the Blanche McDonald Centre which once again is helping co-ordinating hair and make-up.

“The Motif Art Group, which is one of the largest art fund companies in the world, is also helping sponsor us generally,” said Dobre.

Securing sponsorships is no longer a breeze, she said, since there is now greater competition from grad fashion shows at the other south end schools.

“But some retailers are really loyal to us,” she said.

Tickets ($10) are available through the school office 604-536-2131.