arts editor emeritus
Art teacher Malinda Pierce and her fashion students presented a fashion show to a crowd upward of 100 people for the second night of the annual event Festival of the Arts on May 2. The viewers were comprised of parents, family members, faculty and students.
While 2019 is Pierce’s eighth year of teaching fashion, she started the fashion show only five years ago. Fashion has been a course option for students at the school since the beginning, however it has undertaken a variety of labels and course material (such as Home Ec).
The class teaches a variety of skills – from fashion designing to embroidery to sewing. The sewing machines were disposed of in the ‘90s, however, Principal Kim Boldon has since then assisted in supplying the studio with a full set of machines. Fashion is effective in instructing students on skills that apply to scenarios beyond the art world.
In order to produce a flawless show, extensive preparation is needed. Pierce’s students had three weeks to design and create their pieces for the show. Students first had to decide if they wanted to model in the show, and if they did not want to, then they were required to find someone else to model their work or use a mannequin. If a student decided to model their work themselves, then they practiced walking to music that they selected to be played during their walk on the actual night of the show. Along with music, each person catwalks to a short speech describing the presented pieces, which the designers write themselves. Right before the show, models must try on the outfits to ensure they fit and to handle any last-minute details. “This is when a lot of glue and duct tape come in handy,” Pierce said.
Each student utilizes contrasting materials and techniques when designing their pieces, making it more difficult for a fashion teacher to cater to each student’s needs. During the actual event, all materials must be kept track of and cleaned up.
This year’s theme was recycled materials, so students incorporated a variety of materials into their work such as toilet rolls, plastic bottles, newspapers, and plastic bags. “Fashions Unlimited in Baltimore donated a large selection of fabric scraps left from manufacturing swim and sportswear. Students had to design using just these materials,” Pierce said.
Each student achieved unique looks that impressed the audience. “Alyssa D’arpa created a funky Bohemian outfit by crocheting strips of jean material into a top, sewing other scraps together to make a pair of wrap-around pants, and used crocheted doilies to create a long, flowing vest. Khushi Bhansali designed a sculptural two-piece outfit from only burlap rice sacks, and Noelle Marie Dechalus Barnes wowed the crowd with her futuristic black and silver dress,” Pierce said.
Altogether, 10 students walked the stage, allowing 12 pieces to be modeled by students and the rest presented on mannequins offstage.