QC High school students design, produce garments for March 9 fashion show

This generation’s next Stella McCartney or Michael Kors could be showcasing her or his clothing line when fashion design students at Queen Creek High School hold their annual spring fashion show.

It will start at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 9, in the school cafeteria at 22149 E. Ocotillo Road. The venue was changed from the small gym due to a scheduling conflict, fashion design instructor Megan Hartfield said during a phone interview.

Tickets are $3 and can be purchased at the door.

Ms. Hartfield encourages the public to attend and support her students’ creative efforts.

“We are trying to promote this show as much as possible and really involve the community so they are able to see what great work our students here in Queen Creek are putting out,” she said. “This show is meant to showcase the hard work all-year-long of both the first- and second-year students in our program. My second-year students have created all the clothing that will be displayed in the show, and we are really proud of their great work and progress. The first-year students have contributed two garments to the show and are also responsible for the set-up and running of the show.”

The CTE program

Fashion design is a two-year program that has been offered since 2007 through the school’s Career and Technical Education department, Ms. Hartfield said.

It is offered to students in ninth-12th grades. The majority of the participants are sophomores and juniors, she said.

First-year students learn fashion basics such as the elements of design, textiles, how to use a sewing machine and stitches.

During their second year, the work becomes more project-based as the students work on seven pieces of clothing to showcase at the spring fashion show, she said.

An internship, considered an independent study program, is available for third-year students. It enables them to work in the retail industry and have weekly contact with managers in order to prepare them for a fashion-related career.

Fashion design program students earn an elective credit toward graduation, Ms. Hartfield said.

The show

Twenty-six students will participate in the March 8 fashion show, which will last 45-60 minutes, she said.

Each of the 20 participating first-year students will display two garments. They also will have a multitude of other duties for the show, such as serving as emcees and models, playing music and a video produced for the show by CTE Film/TV students and assisting backstage.

Each of the six participating second-year students will display the seven garments they have designed. The line designed by Joseph Salas will showcase casual fashions for modern teenagers, he said during a phone interview.

What inspires them

Joseph, a high school senior, selected the program as an elective in his sophomore year because it was “out there,” something he had never done before. He said he has stayed with the “one-of-a-kind experience” because he liked it and he found he is good at it.

“I like being given an outlet to create whatever I want,” he said. “It gives you a way to express yourself in a new way. It’s so cool to create your own pieces and garment lines.”

The young designer said he is inspired by creative artists such as clothing designer Jerry Lorenzo and musician/fashion mogul Kanye West. His line for the fashion show represents what kids his age wear nowadays, he said. The fit is loose and casual. He likes to mesh colors to create cool designs, such as the black, white and grey fabrics he combined for one garment and the green velvet he used for a shirt.

Joseph’s other elective classes include art and film/TV, but he said he would like to make a career from fashion design.

Bella Tapelt is equally enthused about fashion design. A high school junior, Bella wants to blend fashion and interior design as her future career, she said during a phone interview.

She is excited to be part of the fashion show program because she loves clothes and dressing in long, flowing garments, she said.

The garment line she will present at the fashion show reflects the way she dresses.

“I made a flowing dress for summer, but it’s really good for anytime. I’m inspired by the clothes I wear personally, which is more of a Bohemian style,” Bella said.

Her garment line for the fashion show will include a flowing skirt with slits, a T-shirt dress and a kimono.

She said she looks to product lines such as American Eagle and online on Instagram for fashion inspiration. She shies away from bright neon colors, which she says are too crazy, and instead gravitates toward blues and greens and yellows and pinks, she said.

She prefers lightweight knits and rayon fabrics, but ventured outside her comfort zone for the show and created overalls in a sturdy fabric.

“I like how they turned out,” she said.

Bella enjoys the creativity she has as a second-year design student.

“You can do more than just the ‘to-do list’ and the basics,” she said. “I can make things on my own and make them my own. I really like that because then my garments are authentically me.”

The young designer said she might consider the third-year internship, but acknowledges her plate of activities is pretty full right now.

She takes advanced choir, is involved with her church, baby-sits at home and works part-time at Francesca’s, a women’s clothing boutique. Being a fashion stylist is her first real job and she enjoys it, she said.

“I help women find the right top for their bottom, shoes to match their outfit, pair the perfect necklace to their outfit,” she said.

And Bella recognizes she can’t take on much more and still be productive.

“If you can’t give 100 percent, you shouldn’t be giving anything because it won’t come out how you want it.

You won’t be successful,” she said.

Editor’s note: Photographers JP Silva and Sebastien Langlois are students in the Queen Creek High School’s Career & Technical Education (CTE) Department. 

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